2020 Speaker Spotlights! It’s a series dedicated to the OG Black Igniters who spoke at our inaugural event in August. Amidst a pandemic, unemployment, racial upheaval and a critical election, 30 brilliant people shared stories of transitions and triumphs as Black designers in America. Hear what the event meant to them and what everybody is up to now.
Harold Abrams is an award winning multimedia producer of creative editorial and visual content for television, print and online distribution. Harold has produced TV programming for VH1, MTV and PBS, is editor of brandnewdaydesigns.com; a website on art and design and illustrator of greeting cards, t-shirts and promotional items featuring contemporary imagery of black people. Harold resides in New York, NY.
Harold is a self-proclaimed “bag man,” he likes that designer sh*t. He’s currently rewatching Succession on HBO Max and he nerds out to crossword puzzles (the easy ones).
We got Harold’s submission video for Black Designers Ignite early on, and as someone well into his career we loved how he shared the full picture, on what his purpose in creating was.
“Through my work, my mission is to highlight the impact design, art and media has on our daily lives and be a positive force in turning ideas into reality.”
I asked Harold, “Were there any moments from Black Designers Ignite talk you’ll carry with you?
“I’d never heard of the PechaKucha presentation format prior to Black Designers Ignite. I think all creators need a framework and I was up for the challenge of creating a narrative about myself, my brand and accomplishments within those slides and timeframe.
Moving forward I see myself using PechaKucha as a vehicle to pitch executives, talent or potential collaborators about projects I’m developing for their consideration. #TeamPechKucha #BoundariesAreAGoodThing“
I love that! Constraints sure are a great thing for us creatives. Sometimes, they transition us forward in bold new ways we never could have expected. Check out Harold’s ignite talk below. Hear how the transitions he faced throughout his career, both forced and chosen, have propelled him forward as a black creative.
Any transitions since August?
“Since Black Designers Ignite, I immediately had a response to the imagery spotlighted on my Instagram @harolddraws. I’ve had print jobs including wall art and personalized stationery using my designs. One customer ordered a customized postcard she was sending to “Get Out The Vote’ for the general election. She wanted something that wasn’t just information, but recipients could hold on to as a keepsake. Another customer ordered stationery because they wanted to connect personally with others and believes a handwritten note during these hectic times is important.
If you did a spin off event what would the theme be?
“Theme: Mentoring – I think no matter what stage you’re at, you need constant mentoring. I’d love to ‘see and hear’ a collaboration between a vet and a newbie. A mutual discovery and appreciation situation.
Examples: Design a digital book cover, album art, a virtual performance stage, an animation short, title graphics for a tv series, poster art for a non-profit. #GiveAndReceive“
What are you up to now?
“My primary focus has been finishing a TV pilot screenplay. I was also approached to co-develop a docu-series for a streaming platform. It’s been awhile since I wore a producer cap, but I took up the offer; I’m intrigued by the potential.
What would you love to work on?
“Like most artists I have many ideas I want to make tangible. I’d love to partner with another creator who’s skills, passion and purpose compliment mine. #TeamWorkMakesTheDreamWork. I’m looking forward to taking serious meetings with managers and broadcast executives about my screenplays and docu-series concepts.
As far as my original artwork, I love doing custom print orders for clients. It blows my mind that people who connect with my design style become customers. My IG feed has been a great resource for customers.“