Book review: Extra Bold – A Feminist, Inclusive, Anti-racist, Nonbinary Field Guide for Graphic Designers

Extra Bold describes itself as ‘the design manual for everyone’. It’s part textbook, comic book, zine, manifesto and survival guide – It really has a little bit of everything!

When I initially came across this book on @designbywomen_, I knew it was going to make its way into my basket. The title ticked a lot of boxes. Anything that combines feminism with design is sure to grab my attention.

Extra Bold was inspired by a panel discussion at an exhibition in Brooklyn dedicated to women designers. During a Q&A, designers in the audience voiced their hopes and concerns as women, BIPOC and transgender creatives starting out in the world of design. It became clear that there was a need to equip designers, employers and agencies with the tools to create inclusive and sustainable spaces for people to practice design.

The book is a collaborative project by a diverse team of authors aiming to help designers to be inclusive and connected to feminism, anti-racism, disability and non-binary thinking as they navigate their way through their design careers. The chapters explore topics including power structures, typographic binaries, wage gaps and queer art history (to name just a few!). It’s filled with thought provoking work alongside history and perspective pieces by designers. The way the book is structured and organised makes it the perfect read to dip in and out of when you need inspiration or guidance.

More and more we are seeing designers and other creatives using their ‘powers’ for good. An example of this is the rise of protest graphics and informative design on social media platforms. We’re seeing design make political, environmental and social issues more accessible before our eyes, grabbing a wider audience and engaging people in a different way. Graphic design can be such a valuable tool in making change and Extra Bold is a brilliant guide that shows how we can utilise our skills and why we should!

You can get yourself a copy at Counterprint Books (and have a browse of the tonnes of cool design books they have while you’re there!)