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There are many ways organizations can captivate and support the LGBTQ+ community through design and advocacy, but what does designing with Pride really mean?

Designing for Pride means designing for the inclusion of all people regardless of race, nationality, age, ability or gender. There’s a reason more brands are embracing the community and, by extension, Pride Month campaigns: It is less risky to do so now than ever before. According to the Pew Research Center, Americans opposed same-sex marriage by a margin of 60 to 31%. Today, a majority of Americans (61%) support same-sex marriage versus 31% who oppose it. Now more than ever, organizations need to take pride in diversity, and featuring elements of LGBTQ+ inclusion within your brand or workplace is not only better for business, it’s better for everyone.

Pride in 2019: A Growing Need for Awareness

Pride month is not just an occasion for those who identify as LGBTQ+, it is an opportunity for everyone to celebrate diversity in all forms. It’s a time for people and brands to come together to support, encourage, and accept our fellow humans. According to a 2018 survey by Community Marketing and Insights, more than 75% of LGBT Americans will spend more at a company that supports equality. Many of their allies are also on board – one-third of U.S. consumers feel more positive about a brand that supports Pride, versus one-fifth who felt negative.

Organizations Showing their Pride

Pride efforts are abundant this year with many brands/companies wearing rainbows, donating to LGBT+ causes and hosting Pride-themed events around the nation. These are a few brands making waves this Pride month:

Television & Media

Popular children’s brands like Cartoon Network and My Little Pony are taking measures to support the LGBTQ+ community by introducing LGBTQ+ characters to children online and in their shows. While some may see this as controversial, many support the ultimate goal of these efforts which is to show what truly defines a family - love.

T-Mobile is making history as the presenting sponsor for the first-ever U.S. based WorldPride parade. The Un-carrier will be at over 60 Pride events across the country and will offer Pride supporters different ways to help donate to the LGBT+ community.

Beauty & Fashion

Pride is heavily promoted in the beauty and fashion industry with many brands offering a number of colorful collections to their consumers. ASOS Design, H&M and Express are a few of the many fashion brands making a positive change by donating a percentage of proceeds, net income and sales from their Pride collections to LGBTQ+ organizations such as GLAAD and the United Nations Free & Equal Campaign.

Software & Technology

The tech and software industries are celebrating Pride this month by exhibiting unique ways to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community. Apple, revealed their Pride this year by unveiling 3 new colorful Apple Watch faces that include rainbow strips that move around on the display. Google Doodle is showcasing 50 years of Pride History through an animation of a growing and evolving international Pride parade. Google is also commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising with the creation of a new digital interactive monument. Stonewall Forever brings users in front of the Stonewall Inn and features the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

Toys & Learning

The Pride movement has even inspired Barbie-maker Mattel to consider creating same-sex barbie couple dolls in an effort to spread the message that love is love.

Food & Beverage

This year, Budweiser champions all pride communities with their “Fly the Flag” campaign which aims to make sure that no community gets left out of the crowd. Their campaign features colorful cups that celebrate and educate around the different LGBTQ+ communities and their flags.

Amusement Parks

Disney made history this month by holding their first-ever Pride parade in Disneyland Paris. The Magical Pride parade celebrated love and diversity by featuring colorful marchers, floats and Minnie and Mickey wearing rainbow Pride outfits to show their support for the community.

Designing Pride into Our User Experience

To take users to the next level of Pride, consider incorporating these design ideas into your website and applications:

  • Application/Contact form design: Allow users to change or write in their own gender if this is something your application makes use of.
  • Be diverse with your marketing materials: Are you showing people of different genders, ages, races, sizes? Levels of ability? Many people stand at intersections — it’s not enough to assume that a small representation of a demographic is enough to attract that user base, let alone make them feel comfortable. You want more people to use your applications! Show it with how you present your idea to the world. A lot of people enjoy and remember the OKC DTF campaign because it includes a lot of different people in a refreshing way.
  • Design with Privacy in mind: Allow users the choice to hide or display identifying information from profiles. Some people might not be out to everyone, some simply might enjoy a degree of privacy on the internet.
  • Don’t assume your user’s pronouns: Recently, we are seeing a shift to the use of “they” in copy rather than the antiquated “s/he” or any variation thereof. It’s not only friendlier on the eyes but it just makes more sense. The usage of the singular they is increasingly prevalent within English-speaking communities and is more inclusive to all people.
  • Moving beyond stereotypes using visuals/imagery: Using non-conforming imagery of roles, occupations, relationships, and families shows embracing clear inclusivity, understanding, and acceptance that not only empowers LGBTQ+ users, but helps all users see the changing dynamics of our society.

Go Beyond the Rainbow, Authenticity Creates Connection

Today, more companies are looking to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community with designs that embrace love, equality, and diversity but is your brand doing enough to support the LGBTQ+ community? The struggle to appear genuine is an ongoing obstacle with many companies and brands not just during Pride month but year-round. Having the right intention with any type of branding or marketing is key.

Make Your Business LGBTQ+ Friendly

Although there have been many efforts made for LGBTQ people in the community, there continues to be LGBTQ+ discrimination in the workplace. According to GLAAD, more than 40% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people and almost 90% of transgender people have experienced employment discrimination due to their sexuality. Currently, there is no federal law protecting LGBTQ workers from employment discrimination. Not only is this bad for LGBTQ+ workers, but it’s even worse for businesses.

There are many benefits to creating a more inclusive workplace for the LGBTQ+ community:

For Individuals:

  • Improved health
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Decrease in anxiety
  • Improved relationships with co-workers and supervisors

For Businesses:

  • Lower legal costs related to discrimination lawsuits
  • Lower health insurance cost, through improved health/happiness of employees
  • A more diverse and open workplace that increases creativity, leading to innovation and new ideas
  • Stock price increase
  • Decrease in employee turnover

Brands Supporting LGBTQ+ in the Workplace:

Many brands have already begun to recognize diversity and LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace in order to empower employees, partners, and customers alike. Uber, Ikea and Coca Cola are just some of the leading businesses that have made efforts within their infrastructure to support a culture of equality by creating a fully inclusive work environment for the LGBTQ+ community.

Conclusion: Remember What Pride is Really About

While Pride month is the perfect time to celebrate the history of the movement, it’s also an opportunity for people, brands, and companies to take a step forward and develop endeavors to genuinely understand and support the LGBTQ+ community. Beyond the month, we must remember that Pride is about embracing and supporting a campaign of diversity, love, and equality. Showing inclusivity and support for the LGBTQ+ community through design and advocacy can go a long way in making a positive impact. After all, the world is a brighter, happier, and more colorful place when everyone is accepted and free to be their most authentic selves.


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