Student with a vision impairment wins graphic design competition

718 words, 4 minutes estimated read time.
Danville high school student with a vision impairment wins graphic design competition

You know we’re accessibility nerds. We create accessible stuff and design inclusive experiences. However, today we’ll talk about designers with vision impairments who create their own experiences. And they’re quite good at doing it!

Zamarian Griffin is a young student from George Washington High School who suffers from vision impairment related to albinism. He loves to create drawings and design, and he’s 100% committed to it.

Now he became news because, despite his visual impairment, he won a graphic design contest.

DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) – Finding his passion early in life, George Washington High School freshman, Zamarian Griffin, loves to draw. “Art is one of my passions, I’ve been passionate about it every since i was a little kid.” said Griffin. Griffin fell in love with his passion, after a […]

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The graphic designer in his own words

Griffin entered his logo into the Virginia Chapter of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation for the Blind and Vision Impaired graphic design contest, which he won.

After winning the design award, Griffin spoke to the press and said the following:

“Art is one of my passions, I’ve been passionate about it every since i was a little kid.”

“I really got into it after my mom passed away.”

“It not only helps me but it helps people around me when they look at it, they feel what I put into it.”

“Everybody that looks at it they always have a very positive feedback on it, to know that I’m putting that positive energy into the world.”

“I wanted to have a meaning behind it, so that somebody could look at it and knows it looks good and has a good meaning behind it.”

“I’ve been told all throughout by life that I can go places with my art, as long as I try my best to pursue it.” said Griffin.

The take: vision impairment is not a impediment to creating

Now, if you paid attention, there was a “trick” you probably noticed: he won a design competition aimed to people who is visually impaired, just like him.

Does it make it less important? Of course not! As a matter of fact, this is the most important part: there are MANY designers with some kind of vision impairment. Pay attention to Angela, who holds a Masters in Design, something most “ableist”* couldn’t get-

(*I took this word from autistic people, it’s the way they call non-autistic persons)

Think this is just an exception? Then ask Keith Rosson, or the thousands of designers who portray some kind of disability. And we’re not talking just visual disabilities. What about designers without limbs, designers with Parkinson and other neurological disorders? These are not exceptions, it’s a huge world for everybody!

Why do we care so much about impaired designers and accessibility?

In this case, this is obviously related to our UX & Visual Accessibility: 9 golden principles to master (Infographic) article . However, this has an additional importance.

The mentioned article is about how we, as UX designers, are supposed to create accessible and inclusive experiences. And yes, this is something any UX agency should do by default, so this is not big news.

The thing here is that this time, we can see that designers can overcome their visual impairments as well.

In other words: we are not in charge of creating accessible experiences for people as if they were aliens. People with disabilities are people like us, and they can create enriching user experiences that will surprise us greatly. They can be in charge of their own experiences and take charge of them.

Bottom line: Accessibility is not just a “loving gift we give to mere mortals” as some designers seem to think.

Accessibility surrounds us, includes us and feeds us. It generates multidimensional experiences that we could not get to know in any other way. And designers and artists like Zamarian Griffin show us the possibilities of such experiences.

From Dorve UX we salute Zamarian and all those who overcome difficulties and create a better world. And we salute those who empathically create experiences of inclusion that make us more human.

After all, that’s what user experience is all about, isn’t it?

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