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Championing diversity

Our commitment to create a more diverse future for the next generation of creatives

At JDO, we believe that black creativity matters and have actively committed to creating a more diverse future for our agency as well as the creative industry. That’s why we recently teamed up with two black female creatives from Ravensbourne University for an exciting initiative. 

Fiona Quadri and Almasi Hazina Samuels, both Year 2 students studying Advertising and Brand Design, joined JDO for a workshop to creatively develop an innovative new product for The Curly Connect, a natural beauty brand that celebrates diversity in curly hair.

Whilst the budding designers were given a chance to apply their University-based knowledge to a real-world project, JDO reaped the benefits of working with young creatives that brought curiosity, energy and vibrant new perspectives to the table. Due to the pandemic, the workshop took place virtually, but that did not stop the collaboration from delivering phenomenal work, which will be shared once the new product launches. 

Boma Krijgman, Brand Ambassador at JDO comments: “This workshop was not only about championing black talent in the next generation of designers, but also about bringing different voices and points of view into the design process to create brand experiences that truly reflect and appeal to diverse audiences.”

We checked in with Quadri and Samuels to see what they thought about the experience and what drives them as they embark on careers in the industry:

What made you want to participate in the BCM workshop?

Quadri: JDO Account Executive and Ravensbourne alumni Maureen Vasquez contacted our tutor about the project and I was motivated straight away as doing work that aligns with my values is very important to me.

Samuels: I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone in order to grow, learn and develop my creative skills, and thought this workshop was the perfect opportunity to do just that. It gave me the chance to forge new connections and work on what I considered a meaningful project.

How did you find the creative process and what was it like collaborating with JDO?

Quadri: This was my first packaging design brief and I was intent on seizing every moment of the experience. It showed me how far I can push myself, and made me feel quite proud. Seeing the efficiency in how the designers on the team organise themselves and how that leads to a beautiful result was inspiring. I appreciated how they respected our level and skills, whilst also being open to our ideas.

Samuels: It was such an invaluable experience for me, and I’ve already seen my growth in producing work at a much quicker rate. It has definitely raised the expectations I have of myself and has also enabled me to develop in a professional sense.

What are your thoughts on diversity in the creative industry and how we move towards change?

Quadri: I believe change is needed within the system, tackled from the root rather than just the surface. As a black female creator, I am determined to be part of this change. I am happy that JDO has such a diverse working environment and that the lack of diversity within the industry is being addressed proactively. 

Samuels: Black creatives must be represented in the industry and the simple solution is that we should make it happen. This change doesn’t start with black creatives as we have been carving our paths regardless of the barriers. I believe creative agencies and the industry have a duty to cultivate genuine collaboration and connections with a diverse range of individuals. It should not be about good PR. It should be about bringing amazing creatives from different backgrounds together to create wonderful things.

Vasquez, who managed the project, commented: “Beyond supporting Curly Connect and championing black creativity, one of the most important aspects of this initiative was giving JDO a new perspective that they could apply to future work. It’s so crucial that creative agencies continue to work collectively with people from diverse ethnicities to ensure we keep the doors of opportunity open and create more relevant work.”

Watch this space to see how this initiative comes to life and please follow the creative journeys of these rising stars on Instagram:

Fiona Quadri: @Fiona.quadri

Almasi Hazina Samuels @sundryart

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