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banner image showing extra bold cover with title subtitle and authors listed

Order Extra Bold

The (design) career guide
for everyone!

Extra Bold is the inclusive, practical, and informative career handbook that we've all been waiting for.

Part textbook and part comic book, zine, manifesto, survival guide, and self-help manual, Extra Bold is filled with stories and ideas that don't show up in other career books or design overviews.

The book features interviews, essays, typefaces, biographical sketches, and projects from dozens of contributors with a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds, abilities, gender identities, and positions of economic and social privilege, adding new voices to the dominant design canon.

Jennifer Tobias's original, handcrafted illustrations bring warmth, happiness, humor, and narrative depth.

Keep reading to learn why Extra Bold is the (design) career guide for everyone!

poster with text "may this crisis dismantle all of our faulty assertions and force us into new terrain" by Dr Aisha Ahmad


Creating a more just world requires struggle and debate.
Over time, securing rights for some people has ended up excluding others. Inclusive design is created by people with varied identities, backgrounds, and abilities.
handdrawn illustration of a social construction zone showing the intersection of different identities including racism, poverty, sexism, ableism, and more

Selection of terms and topics covered

  • feminism
  • systemic racism
  • intersectionality
  • teaching Black designers
  • mythical norm
  • disability theory
  • embodied learning
  • cyborg storytelling
  • binary structures
  • sex and gender terms
  • typographic binaries


History is a selective set of narratives that have been recorded and passed on. Today’s historians are studying the achievements of overlooked people and practices in order to create decolonized histories, queer histories, gendered histories, local histories, disability histories, and histories of popular culture.
poster of the birth canal of graphic design showing the interconnections of writing systems, typography, modern design, and more

Selection of topics and people covered

  • Mapping history
  • How to be a historian
  • Feminism in India
  • International symbols of access
  • Timeline: queer history
  • Yolande Bonhomme
  • Sojourner Truth
  • William Wells Brown
  • Angel De Cora
  • Anni Albers
  • Ed Roberts
  • Neil Marcus
  • Ruth Ellis
  • Susan Sontag
  • Willi Smith


Our careers include more than just jobs. Designers and artists create work outside the parameters of traditional employment. Some of life’s most meaningful work isn’t paid, from caregiving to activism and self-publishing. This chapter looks at some of the different ways designers work, from paid positions to independent production.
handdrawn illustration of different types of design studios: two-person shop, small studio, famous studio, and branding agency, and the differences among them
a handdrawn graphic of the hiring journey: meet with HR, meet the union, stay informed, rinse and repeat, find affiinity groups, bump in the road

Spotlight: The Hiring Journey

So you’ve been hunting for the right job, applied to numerous openings, reached out to potential recruiters through LinkedIn, exchanged a few e-mails with design directors, and—finally—you’ve done it: you’ve scored an interview!

What are your next steps, and how do you know if the company you are interested in working for is the right one for you?

Check out the graphic to the right for some easy tips for the hiring journey.
handdrawn illustrations depicting regulations employees can legally and cannot legally enforce in the workplace

Selection of topics and themes covered

  • Starting out
  • Graphic hierarchy
  • Workplaces
  • Wage gaps
  • Hiring for diversity
  • Where are the Black designers?
  • Discrimination at work
  • Parents at work
  • Coming out at work
  • Salary transparency
  • How to quit
  • Diving into the gig economy
  • Confidence equity
  • Emotional housekeeping
  • Psychological safety
  • Misappropriation
  • Mentoring
  • Cover letters
  • Presentations
  • Social media


illustration of Kristy Tillman
Kristy Tillman

Conversation with Bobby Ghosal and Jared Erondu

"Designers are creating culture. We’re creating the interface by which people engage with their futures. We don’t have conversations that frame it like that, and I’m not sure as practitioners we are preparing ourselves to hold that level of power."
illustration of Shivani Parasnins
Shivani Parasnis

Conversation with 
Ash Highfill

"Just like binaries related
to gender, traditional type design showcases a certain set of either/or binaries, like roman/italic or serif/sans serif.... I worked on designing typefaces that provide an alternate point of view."
illustration of Tre Seals
Tré Seals

Conversation with 
Roger Peet

"So I tried to figure out a way to introduce a nonstereotypical piece of minority culture into the design vocabulary itself, starting with the basis of any good design—typography."
illustration of Elizabeth Guffey
Elizabeth Guffey

Conversation with 
Steven Heller

"I understand how able-bodied people may perceive these issues, but I also live as a disabled person today. And this has made me keenly aware of the symbol and its relation to reality.

Meet the Authors

Photo of Ellen Lupton
Ellen Lupton

Ellen Lupton is curator of contemporary design at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City and director of the Graphic Design MFA program at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. An author of numerous books and articles on design, she is a public-minded critic, frequent lecturer, and AIGA Gold Medalist.
Photo of Farah Kafei
Farah Kafei

Farah Kafei is a designer and art director who has led initiatives addressing gender disparity in design education and fostered communities pushing for a more inclusive industry. She's had the pleasure of working for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and studios such as Sagmeister & Walsh and Doubleday & Cartwright.
Photo of Jennifer Tobias
Jennifer Tobias

Jennifer Tobias is a scholar and illustrator. She holds a PhD in art history from the City University of New York, an MLS from Rutgers University, and a BFA from Cooper Union. She served as a librarian at the Museum of Modern Art and Parsons School of Design.
Photo of Valentina Vergara
Valentina Vergara

Valentina Vergara is a multidisciplinary designer and illustrator who uses design as a catalyst for change. Her projects and collaborations address gender disparity in graphic design education and explore ways of dismantling oppressive design thinking and advocating for and uplifting marginalized perspectives.
Photo of Josh A. Halstead
Josh A. Halstead

Josh A. Halstead is a design educator and disability studies scholar. A recognized contributor to disability design discourse, he seeks to unsettle power/knowledge in theory and praxis by centering marginalized perspectives.
Photo of Kaleena Sales
Kaleena Sales

Kaleena Sales is a design professor at Tennessee State University, an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) in Nashville. Her research centers on the intersection of Black culture and aesthetics and investigates the ways in which identities and experiences impact design solutions.
Photo of Leslie Xia
Leslie Xia

Leslie Xia is a queer Chinese American art director. They studied graphic design at the Maryland Institute College of Art and have worked for companies like the Foundry at Meredith, Men's Health, VICE News, and Fast Company. Their personal work focuses on race, gender identity, and social justice.