DEI Event Toolkit


Representation matters. Holding events where diverse attendees, speakers, and organizers are represented in the programming and in the makeup of the event itself at every level is what creates a connection and a reason to return. 


Prioritizing diversity and inclusion means finding ways to bring people from a multitude of different backgrounds, identities, and experiences to be involved in events. Considerations for diversity include, but are not limited to, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender and expression, age, career level, religion, ability, and sexual orientation. This toolkit was built to help you think about content that appeals to different audiences and invite speakers from groups that are underrepresented in industrial design to speak on topics that are underdiscussed.

Prove through your event programming—from diversity of speakers to diversity of content—that your events are for everyone.


THANK YOU: The content of this page was developed in partnership with and prepared by Georgia Tech design students Jill Niland, Nandita Gupta, and Nikki Mehrjerdian, who were part of an IDSA sponsored project with the Fall 2020 Georgia Tech Service Design Class, instructed by Florian Vollmer. Additional support was provided by leaders of IDSA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council (DEIC) and Design Foundation.



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Phase 1: Set Objectives

Making it clear that DEI is of utmost importance is a vital first step in planning for your next event. All parties involved with the planning process should understand and accept these expectations. Showcasing the vast and beautiful diversity of our design community is one of the most powerful things we can do towards changing institutional norms and reversing inequities in our profession.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Commitment

The entire Chapter Board and event programming team must commit to ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion across gender, race, ethnicity, age, ability, and geographic region (for digital events) for the event, including speaking roles, facilitators, sponsors, volunteers, and attendees, and must strictly adhere to it. 

Create an Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Statement

Create a clear DEI statement specifically for the event and publish it on your event page. This statement can be succinct but should be unique to your chapter, so you can be intentional about your DEI goals for your community.

The motto "bringing all people together for everyone" is a good place to start, followed by "[IDSA Chapter Name] is committed to ___." Refer to key statements in this Toolkit as well as the Code of Conduct on the COR page to include in your statement. It must be clear that IDSA has zero tolerance for harassment and discrimination (which also applies to social media around the event).

Set Goals and Objectives

Set specific goals and objectives that align with your DEI statement, establish clear intentions for your event, and ensure you are planning with efficiency. Helpful questions to ask during this part of the phase include:

  • What do you hope to achieve with this event?
  • Who is this event intended for?


Phase 2: Planning

Every time you make a decision about your event, consider the individual needs of people from a range of ages, races, ethnicities, genders, religions, abilities, etc. This goes to the heart of forming an effective diversity and inclusion policy.

Religious or Cultural Holidays

When determining a date for your event, don't forget to research religious or cultural holidays to ensure they don't overlap.

Pro-tip: If your event is virtual, international holidays may be an important consideration too. 

​Registration Costs

While IDSA encourages chapter events to have a nominal registration fee for attendees (with a preferential rate for IDSA members), consider the goals and objectives you initially set for the event. The decision to charge registration fees and how much will depend on the initial goals and objectives you set. It may be worth considering offering a certain number of no-cost registrations to ensure a wide range of participants can attend.

Event Marketing

Ensure promotion and invitations are distributed in an inclusive manner. Share information in a way that multiple audiences can view (such as on social media).

Event graphics should be clean and legible. Pro-tip: Avoid italics on event graphics. For individuals with certain impairments or disabilities, italics can be difficult to read.

Make sure your online images promoting the event and on social media give equal visibility to people of different genders, ages, races, abilities, career levels, etc.


Accessibility Accommodations

Ask participants and presenters if they need accommodations in advance. Not only does IDSA have a legal obligation to provide reasonable accomodations to those that need them, it's simply the right thing to do.

Pro-tip: Use closed captioning software for virtual events hosted on a meeting platform. Contact Korie Twiggs for more information on the software IDSA uses.


Phase 3: Event Day

Take steps to ensure the event day goes smoothly and you provide a meaningful experience for all attendees and participants. Every detail matters.


You may have already thought of this during the Planning phase, but be mindful of the start and end time for your events. Alternate between daytime, evening, and weekends to ensure that everyone can participate without sacrificing committments ouside of work. Schedule virtual events on a day or at a time that works for multiple timezones worldwide to ensure as many people as possible can participate.

Pro-tip: Virtual weekday events during business hours allow for professional development opportunities with limited impact to work-life balance considerations.

State Your Commitment Upfront

At the beginning of the event, start with a brief statement on your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Pro-tip: Sharing this commitment also helps establish a welcoming and safe environment for attendees.

Facilitation and Q&As

Select a moderator ahead of time to facilitate discussions. Make it their responsibility to ensure that no one monopolizes the discussion and that each person is given an equal opportunity to speak.

For Q&As, try starting with a woman, member of a minority group, or early-career professional. This helps ensure underrepresented voices are heard and may also provide the safety and confidence to those who might not otherwise share their thoughts.

Pro-tip: Assigning a time keeper can also help to ensure that all voices are heard and that the event stays on track.


Phase 4: Evaluation & Impact

Use feedback to establish best practices for future events and understand how you performed against your stated goals. 

  1. Send a feedback survey to all attendees post-event to evaluate successes and pain points.
  2. Measure the impact of your diversity actions and use the feedback to set goals for future events.


Looking for Collaborations?

Here are a few groups to contact:

Looking for Diverse Speakers?

We are working to build our own database, but in the meantime, here are some resources we’ve found:

Want to Support Underrepresented Youth?

Interested in working with a local program that supports underrepresented youth in design? Jacinda Walker, the founder of designExplorr, has generously provided a resource map of these organizations in the U.S. Read her article here and see the map here.

If you are already part of a group that is taking initiatives to improve the lack of diversity in design, please get in touch with Jacinda so that she can add your organization to the map.

Looking for More Resources?

Looking for more resources for self-education? Check The Inclusion & Diversity Compendium for Designers (compiled by Marissa Louie, UX Director at Expedia Group and IDEA 2021 juror, and recommended by dozens of diverse designers and design leaders from Expedia Group, Designers Guild, and other members of the design community)




What is Diversity and Inclusion?

Diversity: Variety of abilities, skills, experiences, and cultural backgrounds
Inclusion: To value and leverage differences to achieve superior results

Why focus on Diversity and Inclusion in events?

Not only is inclusivity crucial for diversity efforts to succeed, but creating an inclusive event will prove beneficial for attendee participation and engagement.

Who is this toolkit for?

This toolkit is designed for IDSA Chapter leaders, event content planning teams, and anyone in the organization interested in learning best practices for planning diverse and inclusive events.

How do I use this toolkit?

Use this toolkit as a step-by-step guide to planning your next IDSA event. Utilize the resources and content to find relevant supporting material to best engage your attendees.

Why does Diversity and Inclusion matter in industrial design?

According to the 2019 Design Census, only 3% of designers across disciplines are Black. 71% are white. And although 61% of working designers in the U.S. identify as women, the percentage of female creative directors and heads of design is just 29%.

Based on information shared at IDSA’s 2018 Women in Design event that prompted the creation of Women in Industrial Design Chicago, it is estimated that only about 19% of working industrial designers in the U.S. identify as female, despite an approximate 50/50 gender split in academia. (Within IDSA membership in 2020, the gender breakdown based on provided data amounted to 67% male, 31% female, and .5% non-binary members).

To date there is no widespread statistical data in the U.S. on women in the industrial design profession outside of research studies in academia conducted by DEIC leader Betsy Barnhart, IDSA, among others. According to the Design Economy 2018 report from the Design Council UK, 95% of working industrial designers in the UK identify as male.

One of the aims of IDSA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council (DEIC) is to be a catalyst in transforming industrial design—from within IDSA, in ID education, and in industry—so that the ID profession better reflects our diverse country and world. IDSA Chapters, through localized events and programming, play an important role in this change.