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Dr. Noel Mayo

Dr. Noel Mayo, IDSA was the first African American to receive a B.S. in industrial design from the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) and the first African American chair of an ID program – again, at PCA. He was also the first African American industrial design firm in the United States, whose clients include NASA, IBM, the Department of Commerce and Agriculture, Black and Decker, the Museum of American Jewish History, and the Philadelphia International Airport.  He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art. Dr. Mayo was named the Ohio Eminent Scholar in Art and Design Technology at Ohio State, where he teaches product, interior, and graphic design. Dr. Mayo is the owner and president of Noel Mayo Associates, Inc. 


Charles "Chuck" Harrison 

In 1950s America, few people at all were pursuing careers in industrial design. Charles "Chuck" Harrison was one of them. In 1958, while working at Robert Podall Associates, Harrison updated the design of the popular View-Master toy, creating the iconic form. He has designed Craftsman power tools, radios, hairdryers, sewing machines, kitchen appliances, steam irons, televisions and more, spanning objects that you'd find in every room of the American house, including the garage and the toolshed. 


Crystal Windham 

Windham is the first African-American female director of GM’s North American Passenger Car Design. She was responsible for the design decisions regarding the features of General Motors’  2008 Chevrolet Malibu and 2007 Saturn Aura. 


Ralph Gilles 

Ralph Gilles is currently president and CEO of the Street Racing & Technology Brand and Senior Vice President of Product Design for Chrysler. He was responsible for the popular 2005 Chrysler 300 sedan, and the resurgence of the American muscle car with his design for  Dodge Charger and Dodge Magnum.  

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Khipra Nichols

Khipra Nichols was a lead product designer at Hasbro, the toy company headquartered in Pawtucket, RI. Among the familiar toys he helped develop and refine in that time are Mr. Potato Head, My Little Pony, and many products in the Playskool line; the 16 patents Nichols has earned reflect his specialty in infant care items for feeding, health and safety, as well as parent aids and licensed soft toys.


David Rice

David Rice is president of DesignCom and has been a principal of his own firm for the past 26 years. He is also the founder and chair of the Organization of Black Designers. David has taught at Parsons School of Design and lectured at the likes of Illinois Institute of Technology, Art Center College of Design, Wharton School of Business, Pratt, North Carolina State, University of Cincinnati, Indiana University, University of the Arts and LSU, to name a few.


George L. Horton

George L. Horton was the owner of the Second Black industrial design firm in the United States. If you have used an American Standard porcelain bathroom fixture, a Corning Pyroceram dinnerware, or have used a diaper changing station for your infant, chances are that it was designed by George Horton. He graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 1961, and worked for Corning Glass Works soon after graduation. In 1969, he joined Samuel J. Mann Associates industrial design firm located in Englewood, New Jersey. In 1973, he purchased the firm and expanded its capabilities by developing a portfolio that included medical instrumentation, exhibit, and retail showroom design, and graphic communication services. George Horton won multiple designs and engineering awards over his 60 years of practice. 


Edward T. Welburn 

Ed Welburn was named VP of GM Design North America in 2003, becoming just the sixth design leader in GM history. He was responsible for the HUMMER H3, Cadillac Escalade and the latest generation of full-size trucks. In 2005, Welburn was named GM vice president, Global Design. Under Welburn’s leadership, GM designed and developed the revolutionary Chevrolet Volt, an electric vehicle.


Andre Hudson 

Andre Hudson has designed vehicles for Hyundai for four years and was the lead exterior designer for the award-winning 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The Sonata has become one of the 15 best-selling vehicles in America, a first for the Korean automaker. 


Michael Burton  

In 1999, Michael Burton became the first African-American designer at Chrysler as the company underwent a rebirth. Burton was responsible for the exteriors of the Cadillac SRX and STS. He and his team were also responsible for the interior design of the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook and Chevrolet Traverse


Earl Lucas 

is the lead designer for large car programs at Ford Motor Co. and was responsible for the expressive design of the 2010 and 2013 Ford Taurus. 



Please help us recognize influential "Black Industrial Designers" around the world by emailing me at with a name, a bio, and picture of a black industrial (product) designer you know. Thanks for your contribution.

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