Today, we’d like to introduce you to Terrence Moline.
Hi Terrence, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
At heart, I’m an African-American, or Black, cisgender male. I go by the pronouns: he. him. his. My privileges are having two parents who are still married, and I’m fortunate enough to come from a hard-working, middle-class family. I’m healthy, fully-abled and have not had a day where I was forced to go to bed hungry. I’m from New Orleans, so during my “hurricane vacation” via [Hurricane] Katrina in 2005, I came to Austin, Texas, to visit a college friend. Little did I know I would spend a quarter of my life here. Currently, I work relentlessly to build a safe-space for African-American visual communicators who produce commercial and social justice design solutions. African American Graphic Designers (AAGD) is an organization I was determined to create since my days of college in the 1990s. The goal was to create a community that I did not see in a White male-dominated industry. The evacuation to Austin ushered an opportunity to better understand technology, social media and search engine optimization. I also sharpened my oil painting skills during this time. Initially, the goal of the community was to connect Black and African American designers. After a few years of operation, opportunities for projects kept coming our way. Eventually, we started working on projects, collectively. As of today, we’ve worked with NAACP, Princeton, Death Penalty Information Center and National Academy of Arts and Sciences, along with a slew of Austin personalities and institutions.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall? If not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It was definitely a trial by fire when Katrina hit, and I lost everything. It’s always challenging when you’re forced to start over. Dedication is a challenge also. It seems as if I’m always working, and sometimes it comes at a cost. Weighing what’s in your heart and deciding what’s best for others and not just yourself is occasionally painful. It’s hard work designing and maintaining a distributed cyberculture, while building an agency. The 800-pound monster right now is my own leadership abilities. Working with creatives who have been overlooked takes a level of care and passion. Administering tough love is tricky, and helping people come out of their shell is delicate. Being in America and finding the space to express true feelings and perspectives to an audience and being embraced for being true to yourself is challenging enough. The other challenge is being a good husband and a great father to a creative and quirky eight-year-old girl.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We are a collective of African-American and Black visual communicators. As an agency, we create culturally relevant messages and support our designers as they become forces of change in our industry and community.
What sets us apart is we started as a community. And, I spent a lot of time waiting [tables] at one of the most traditional restaurants in New Orleans. Why is this a differentiating factor? Our foundation is community and service. This combination allows my ego to be satisfied through considerate connection, and I’m teaching designers to avoid the expected trappings of being a creative.
We listen. We paraphrase. We collaborate. We’re never adamant about our way. We want to work together with you in the most equitable manner for both parties.
At AAGD we mentor through work. Work is often the best way to understand how an individual operates. Many creatives talk a lot of smack, but when it’s time to suit up and get in the game, the story changes.
Through working with several designers in the community, we have an opportunity to understand first-hand the challenges we need to address. We build content that comes directly from our community.
So many companies claim to build business with their community in mind. We check in with our members every step of the way, and that’s how they keep us in check.
We have a soul for culture, and we love working with social justice concerns. We’ve also done a ton of work in Austin for non-profit organizations.
So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
Visit http://bit.ly/aagd_patreon, if you’re feeling generous, or www.aagd.co, if you want great work.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: aagd.co
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aagd_co/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/African.American.Graphic.Designers
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/aagd_co
Aundre Larrow — Terrence Moline Portrait Oshun and I come from the water.
Ricardo Velarde African American Woman — Sears catalogue 1970