An ever-evolving experimental program at the intersection of design pedagogy, strategy, and community that provokes uplifting transformative possibilities. ︎︎︎

Disclaimer: This website is the scholarly and creative research of Dina Benbrahim and does not represent the views of any institution. 


January     TBA
BIPOC Design History Conversations

January     TBA
Support for Queer + BIPOC small businesses

02/05-03/01    2024
TL;DR exhibit


We practice engaged pedagogy, following bell hooks' teaching: “the classroom remains the most radical space of possibility in the academy.”

We are driven by the fact that we can all benefit in a fairer world. 

We make space to support excluded talent and stories. 
We believe that creating lasting, equitable impact is an ongoing process of continuous learning and adapting to the future.

We promote open-ended exploration as a form of empowerment, agency, and emancipation. 

We embrace the tension and vulnerability it takes to learn together and inspire the new.

We value authentic lived experiences to shape design collaborations. We envision ideas together to create positive impact.

Counter/Ex/Un/Edit Design Histories

Counter/Ex/Un/Edit Design Histories is an experimental retreat to rethink how we teach and learn design history and collectively map actionable pathways toward plural histories.

︎︎︎ Rewatch the creative conversation with Tasheka-Arceneaux Sutton, Ramon Tejada, Lisa Maione, Briar Levit, and Dina Benbrahim on Hello Departures’ YouTube channel.

︎︎︎ Check out the Figma Jam we made collectively with participants. Use it, transform it, share it!

More will come, slowly, as we develop it. 


Because we are against all systems of oppression, we oppose the apartheid, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and occupation of the Palestinians. We support the collective liberation of all humans, to live freely as equal citizens.

Systemic change needs action. And now is the time for action. Start by listening and immersing yourself in Palestinian culture. 


If you’re able to donate funds, here is a link to do so: Aid + Action resources

The Arabic Design Archive is hosting an auction for Palestine. All sales will be donated to the PRCS (Palestinian Red Crescent Society) or the ERC (Egyptian Red Crescent) for humanitarian aid going to Palestine.

Sheets of 70 stamps of Palestine designed by Mohieddine Ellabad, on sale at the Arabic Design Archive

Explore these readings compiled by Danah Abdulla. Watch these online screenings made available for free by the Arab Film and Media Institute (AFMI) throughout November.

More readings compiled by Triple Canopy:
Sarah Aziza, “Doomsday Diaries,” the Baffler, 2023.
Tareq Baconi, “Tareq Baconi: ‘There's no going back,’” Unsettled podcast, 2023.
Jacob Burns, “Take Me with You,” n+1, 2020.
Dweller, “Afro-Palestinian / Imperialism Literature,” 2023.
Institute for Middle East Understanding, This Is Palestine podcast.
Fady Joudah and Lena Tuffaha (compilers), “Poems from Palestine,” the Baffler, 2021.
David Klion, “Have We Learned Nothing?n+1, 2023.
Fred Moten and Robin D. G. Kelley, conversation at the University of Toronto, 2017.
Mahmoud Nasser, “For Now, We Just Survive,” Electronic Intifada, 2023.
Palestinian Youth Movement, “The First Week,” The New Inquiry, 2023.
Palestine Legal, “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the US,” 2015.
Radio AlHara
Jasbir Puar, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!The New Inquiry, 2017.
Sarah Schulman, “Explanations Are Not Excuses,” New York, 2023.
Adania Shibli, Minor Detail (New Directions), 2017.
Vera List Center, “In Solidarity with Victims of Violence: A Resource Guide and Archive,” 2023.
Gabriel Winant, “On Mourning and Statehood,” Dissent, 2023.
Mohammed Zraiy, Khalil, and Rania Hussein, “Dispatches from Gaza,” Jewish Currents, 2023.

Other things you can do: Go on strikes. Protest peacefully. Sign petitions. Call your representatives to advocate for a ceasefire. Talk to your community. Speak about Palestine.

Check out the Palestine Poster Project, the Free Palestine Project, and the Nakba Archive.

You can download, print, and share this protest poster.

Watch the movies Farha, Children of Shatila, and Born in Gaza.
Hello Departures invited Olivia Trimble, a 2nd generation sign painter and muralist living in Northwest Arkansas, to share her hand-lettering secrets and continue our "I Exist in the Future" project in the Fayetteville community. 

Olivia Trimble has spent the last decade working to improve the urban landscape through bright and intentional signs and murals. When she’s not painting, you can find her building neighborhood bonds and strengthening other parts of her community.

I Exist in the Future Continues with a Hand Lettering Workshop!

In this workshop, participants used hand-lettering skills to contribute to a collective mural installation at the Design Clinic of the University of Arkansas. 

︎︎︎ This free and open-to-the-public workshop took place on Sept 30, 2023.


Snap, Snap, Sizzle Library increases access to books on design and pedagogy that diversify the canon by including a constellation of perspectives. This project will expand the current design library at the University of Arkansas’ School of Art's graphic design program and is currently located at the Design Clinic of the same building.

Help us expand our library with your work! Submit your self-published zines, books, and posters that challenge the design canon and design pedagogy to All work must be finished and in high resolution (300 dpi). We will print them and archive them in our collection.
The project was named after Sara Ahmed's definitions of snap and sizzle in her book, the Feminist Killjoy Handbook. "When it snaps, it catches your attention. You might hear the snap as the start of something. A snap is only the start of something because of what you did not notice [...] A snap is a moment with history. [...] A sizzle, another kind of snap, the sound of electricity: snap, snap, sizzle."

This is a partnership with Más Libritos, a Latina-owned, intersectional feminist independent bookstore in Springdale, Arkansas centering the stories of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities.

Typeface: The Neue Black by Vocal Type


The Kind Project uses design and public spaces to normalize inclusive conversations on menstruation and increase access to period products in the NWA community and beyond in the most dignifying ways.

With Identity Systems II + Fabrication students, Aimsley McDaniel, Blaise Keasler, Erin Enmark, Haley Tucker, Jaret Sites, Lizzie Cleveland, Stacey Trucks, Melissa Loney, and Nick Hobbs, Director of Technology, Vincent Edwards, as well as the Fayetteville Public Library, we reimagined the cold coin-operated period products dispenser for a kinder, more resourceful, inclusive, and accessible dispenser for all menstruating folx.

Hello Departures additionally provided more than a year of period products, including sustainable menstrual cups, long-lasting period underwear in inclusive sizes as well as organic tampons, liners, and pads.

We created a Kind Kit with all the brand assets and guidelines to create your own Kind Project and tools wherever you are. Anyone can use the Kind Kit as is or as a starting point to generate new assets. Feel free to reach out to us at feelfreetobekind[at]gmail[dot]com to get your Kind Kit.

Click here to listen to a panel conversation on menstrual equity at the Fayetteville Public Library.

This work was selected to be part of the traveling international Fight for Kindness 2022 campaign by TypeCampus in Paris, Milan, Valencia, Veliko Tarnovo, and Fitchburg, MA.

It also won the AIGA 365 Year In Design Award, in the category Social Design. 


Imagine a liberated design practice and education outside systems of oppression. What do we need to unlearn, explore, do, transform and reprogram to rethink design?

The first Hello Departures Talk series invited all to pause and join designers whose critical perspectives and work are contributing to more equitable design futures.

All talks and conversations were open to the public and free to attend.

You can now watch the talks again and again on our YouTube channel.

Maya Moumne | Graphic Designer, Co-founder of Studio Safar, Journal Safar, and Al Hayya Magazine.

︎︎︎ Rewatch the talk here.


Tasheka Arceneaux-Sutton | Educator, Graphic Design, Image-maker, and Writer.

︎︎︎ Rewatch the talk here.

Faride Mereb | Art Director, Book Designer, and Director of Letra Muerta INC. 

︎︎︎ Rewatch the talk here. 


Ksenya Samarskaya | Strategist & Creative Practitioner.

︎︎︎ Rewatch the talk here.

Adam Yeo | Graphic Designer, Type Designer, and Researcher on the Bété Script.

︎︎︎ Rewatch the talk here.

“Sometimes the best solution is not to design anything at all.”

— Danah Abdulla


Historically, the dominant culture has intentionally and systemically censored marginalized communities and identities, whether through economic oppression violence, incarceration, or legislature. However, many designers have found innovative and striking ways to combat this censorship.

Tiane Doan Na Champassak: Censored

In the 1960s, publishing restrictions and cultural taboos surrounding nudity inspired creative graphic expressions of sexuality. At
this time, erotic magazines thrived despite social and legal pressure, through the inventive use of graphic elements to censor female breasts.
These included stars, musical notes, flowers, eyes, perfectly placed circles, and carefully crafted abstract shapes. The creative application of graphic symbols as a means of censorship visuall compliments the images rather than purely obstructing or erasing them.

“Censorship is a clear threat to the ideals of a pluralistic political culture, in which challenging ideas are welcomed and discussed.”

— The Editorial Board of the New York Times, Sept 10, 2022
In some cases, however, dominant cultures attempt to censor bodies as well as identities. For example, in Arkansas, SB-43 has just passed the Senate and the House This bill “redefines a ‘Drag performance’ as ‘a performance in which one or more performers exhibits a gender identity that is different from the performer's gende assigned at birth” and “performs before an audience of at least two persons fo entertainment.” This bill was proposed to erase not only drag performers, but also trans, nonbinary, or genderfluid individuals from public life. This blatant attack on LGBTQ rights has been met with resistance across the state.

“Drag Queen Serving You Brunch”,
School of Art, University of Arkansas

At the University of Arkansas graduate students hand-sewed large-scale banners with typographic descriptions of people that would be deemed “drag performers,” and thus criminals, under this bill. The use of descriptive language, patchwork typography, and immense scale highlight the reality of the issue: queer bodies will not stay hidden, even if they can’t be seen. In response to these prompt and insistent protests, the bill was reformatted to restrict “adult-oriented” businesses and nudity, rather than explicitly queer identities; further proving that smart, persistent design can enact real change.

Arkansas Senate Bill 43. 2023. SB43. (to add certain restrictions to an adult-oriented
performance; and to define an adult-oriented performance.)

Bourton, Lucy. 2017. 1960s Thai erotic magazines show creativity in their censorship.
It’s Nice That.

Carlson, Arden. 2023. Banners Against SB-43.

Kingsbury, Kathleen. 2022. Censorship Is the Refuge of the Weak. New York Times
Opinion. The New York Times Company.


Hello Departures is committed to contributing to more diverse and equitable futures of design. These awards are designed to support Indigenous, Black, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, neurodivergent, people with disabilities, low-income, migrant, diasporic, and age 60+ individuals, and especially those living at the intersection of these identities.

The call for submissions is now closed. Winners have been announced on our Instagram page.


Only 3% of professional designers identify as Black, according to the American Institute of Graphic Design (AIGA) 2019 Census report. In a career field dedicated to communicating information to a variety of audiences, diverse voices seem to be a necessity, yet, Black designers are drastically excluded.

In the book The Black Experience in Design, Kaleena Sales addresses this disparity, stating that “educators are so indoctrinated in Swiss design–a grid-based, typographic system originating in Switzerland in the 1940s/1950s heavily influencing modern design education and practice–that we don't properly cultivate the talent of Black designers” (Sales, 171). As an educator at an HBCU, Sales provides essential insight into design pedagogy in one of the oldest and most influential Black institutions in the United States. She acknowledges that HBCUs consistently produce or employ notorious artists and activists, such as David Driskell and Aaron Douglas, but designers from these schools are often overlooked and, rather, companies look to hire Black design students from predominantly white institutions. 
The design industry’s preoccupation with Swiss design principles and “standard” practices excludes entire communities with differing lived experiences and aesthetic interests. Rather than looking for diverse voices within the existing educational structure, design education must shift its frame of history and design to consider a pluralistic range of understanding. Sales’ commentary in The Black Experience in Design leads an important conversation about the design canon, its lack of diversity, and its effects on the lives and careers of future generations of Black designers. 

ReferencesAmerican Institute of Graphic Design (AIGA) in its 2019 Census report and has been widely referenced by members of the design community.

Sales, Kaleena. 2022. Beyond the Universal: Positionality and Promise in an HBCU Classroom. The Black Experience in Design. Simon and Schuster, Inc.

“Educators have a responsibility to expand and reshape the canon to include work that honors diverse experiences and audiences.”

— Kaleena Sales

Sleet City Arts & Supply

I Exist in the Future is a deep exploration and revival of historical found typography in Fayetteville and the Northwest Arkansas region. The project translates the past into the future visually.

Northwest Arkansas Times Newspaper, 1907

It was a semester-long collaboration between University of Arkansas’ Graphic Design Advanced Type Seniors, led by professors Ryan Slone and Dina Benbrahim, and the local artist Olivia Trimble. 
“If I am not imagined in your future, do I exist in it?” questions Hodari Davis. Erin Enmark, Graphic Design Senior commented that this play on words reinstates the importance of the individual, mirroring the identity of the typefaces created for this project. 

The University of Arkansas Agriculture  publication, led by Chester F. Williams, 1947 

Photograph of Fayetteville Farmers Market, 1974. The Campbell-Bell building dates back to the 1880s and is the town’s oldest department store building.

Rachel Peters, Graphic Design Senior, expressed that their exploration of type from the past allows their mural to reference Fayetteville’s history while creating an optimistic message for what’s to come.


Historic Lafayette St Bridge

As educators, we envision this project to continue preserving and celebrating the rich visual history and identity of Fayetteville and the region in the next few years to come, within and beyond Arkansas. 

Stickers are sold at Sleet City Arts & Supply and all proceeds will go to NWA Equality.

“Liberating education consists in acts of cognition, not transferals of information.”

― Paulo Freire


Is decolonizing design a performative act?

“I’m going to decolonize my breakfast, it’s a word you can use in front of anything.” — Danah Abdulla

Saki Mufandikwa asks, “What are they decolonizing to?” He responds, “Only someone who has experienced the sting of colonization themself can decide that question.”
Courtesy Toni Maraini Archive, Photo: Mohamed Melehi

Art Historian and Anthropologist Toni Maraini taught the First Art History course dedicated to Africa, at the School of Casablanca in 1965. After Morocco received its independence from the protectorate in 1956, a new civic awareness emerged and impacted creatives seeking to reconsider their role in society. Drawing on and interpreting the Bauhaus Manifesto, the school engaged models of rethinking the relationship between arts, crafts, design, and architecture within a local context. Decolonizing design goes hand in hand with decolonizing the land.
ReferencesAbdulla, Danah. 2018. “Design and Culture.” The Journal of the Design Studies Forum 10, Issue 1.

Samarskaya, Ksenya. 2020. “Saki Mafundikwa on 20 Years Running the Zimbabwe Institute of
Vigital Arts.” AIGA: Eye On Design.

School of Casablanca


Hello Departures sponsored undergraduate and graduate graphic design students, Sophia Milligan and Shalom Joro Yabilsu, to attend and participate in Type Directors Club’s conference Ezhishin — the first-ever conference dedicated to Native North American typography on November 11 and 12, 2022.

In a design canon that has historically been ignoring indigenous perspectives, this conference is an important step toward inspiring more creatives, especially students, to contribute to this typographic space.

“After all, it is this noticing that makes things real.”

— Sara Ahmed


Hello Departures internships are designed for graphic design students to start out their careers purposefully.

Will Watson is the 2023–2024 research intern.

Previous research interns: 
Erin Enmark, 2022
Kayla Spear, 2021


an expression or gesture of greeting

Plural. Deviations from an accepted, prescribed, or traditional course of action or thought.

“The wordmark is designed with Inge, a variable font that features slanted and back-slanted characters. The logo utilizes both of the slanted options in juxtaposition to create movement and tension alluding to Hello Departures’ ever-evolving presence in the design world.

The word ‘Departures’ leans forward to move the viewer's eye from left to right, capturing Hello Departures' forward-thinking and progressive approach to community building.” — Beatriz Lozano

Founded and directed by Endowed Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Dina Benbrahim.

Branding by Beatriz Lozano
Typefaces used: Inge + Sharp Grotesk.