Labiba Haque is a junior graphic designer from Newport, South Wales. She is particularly interested in diversity and Inclusion in the creative field. Labiba emphasises the need for inclusivity in design, stating that “some advertisements miss the mark due to a lack of audience awareness.”
Labiba states that she strives to be cautious in her design because as dynamic as design can be, it can also be produced incorrectly, whether this concerns cultural appropriation, bad connotation associated with specific races, or critical errors. She says that because of being a person of color herself and her own experiences, she considers people before designing.
At university Labiba’s education included mostly white men, whose work can be used to grasp the basics of design and the function of graphic design. However, Labiba says that she enjoys designs from all over the world and as part of one of Labiba’s projects she had the opportunity to write an article about design.
The article touched upon how the course was white-washed and advocated for more designers from across the globe. She even suggested books to read and sent her article to one of her tutors, saying she would prefer to see this sort of stuff being taught. “My tutor then asked me how we could improve the course.” and just like that Labiba’s concerns were dealt with as the course decided to introduce a topic in design thinking class for second year students, her assistance in changing one of the modules for that class led to the new module “Decolonising design’ to be put in place.
“I was like oh my God, it was surreal.” She was able to discuss this with the second-year students who expressed that the topic was one that they found to be interesting with someone even saying it was their favorite to learn. “I am glad I was able to inspire young designers to branch out and broaden their horizons, that’s something to be proud of, not only did I take part in something that helped promote diverse designers but then I also helped change bits of the module at my university which they still continue to teach till this day”
In accordance with diversity Labiba was able to promote her south Asian culture on a project called ‘Coconut Magazine.’ A coconut is used to describe British Asians who are perceived to be brown on the outside whilst white on the inside.
“This is for the people who live in the Uk and don’t feel as though they may be Asian enough, growing up in the Uk as a British Bengali person, you come across a lot of different people in your life, there are Asians who are in touch with their Asian side however you also have those people who don’t know much about their culture and classify themselves to be more British than Asian in some sense.”
Labiba describes herself as being in the ‘middle.’ “I know bits about my culture, I can defend it and I am all for it. I try as much to learn about its history, but I also branch out of my culture and take in stuff from diverse cultures around the world. I feel because of that, I do not completely submit to one side or the other, you can never be British enough or never be Bengali enough”
Labiba mentions that if she went back to Bangladesh right now, she would never fit in. “But living in the UK you also do not fit in, you see it through systematic racism and microaggressions, you are just not fully accepted. So, people may feel as if they are not welcomed by either side of their identity” thus the purpose for Coconut magazine was made to bring people together, “we can relate to this and learn about our cultures and we can be wonderful, we don’t have to fit in but rather thrive and be secure in our identities”
You can check out more of Labiba Haque’s work here :