Part 2: Travel, Black Liberation, and Product Design

Last week in Part 1 of the design series, I shared how Jumanji and The Secret Garden inspired the packaging design of The EmancipatED Experience. Today I will share how my love of travel and Black liberatory iconography also inspired the packaging for this product. 


I wanted to be an archeologist when I was a little girl because I was fascinated by different cultures and geographies. My parents bought me a colorful children’s Atlas and I highlighted every country I wanted to travel to, which was pretty much all of them (I saw the Atlas at the old house just a few years ago, I hope it didn’t get tossed in the latest purge). 

As soon as I hit Spelman’s campus my first year I began plotting my first study abroad experience (My first trip was to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic…​​Sí, hablo español…más o menos..)

I began to collect postcards as travel mementos whenever I ventured somewhere new, so I envisioned the thank you cards with that in mind. I wanted customers to feel like they were receiving a postcard from these free, rebel societies. 

Each image on the thank you card is an illustration from the Hidden History Card deck. (Thank you cards beautifully designed by The SanctiFly Chick, and illustrations were beautifully created by Radfindr).

Some pics from my travels to Maroon communities: 

San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia

Accompong, Jamaica

Black Liberation

I saved this for last, but Black liberation as theory, practice, and tangible reality provides the foundation of everything from the core values within EmancipatED, packaging, the content that was created…literally everything. I will share just a little snippet here related to product packaging.

The gold embossed sticker is the word “EmancipatED” shaped like an abeng. An abeng is an animal horn used by the Maroons of Jamaica as a communication tool. The abeng was used to warn of impending danger, communicate strategy, and to make announcements. The abeng sticker is placed in the center of the package to announce the beginning of the journey that customers will experience in the curriculum kit.  

Inside the box there is a map that highlights the known Maroon communities that existed throughout the Americas. I wanted to remind us that –despite what most history books teach us–Black folks consistently resisted enslavement and oppression; we created communities, large and small, that weren’t just theoretical freedom spaces, but actual physical sites of liberation. 

There is also a quote from Octavia Butler that represents what we can learn from these stories of freedom. (I will share more about this in a separate blog post).

Now you have a bit of insight into how Jumanji, The Secret Garden, Travel, and Black Liberation blended together to create the packaging experience for the EmancipatED Experience :)  

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