The Diversity by Design Fund (dxdf) will advance and support educational and awareness initiatives in design that prioritize and promote diversity and inclusivity. Serving as a resource and liaison for students on issues of equity through design education, outreach, and advocacy, the dxdf will provide funding for initiatives and individuals in academic and community-based programs that are critical to expanding the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity.

By supporting early design education and community initiatives with active involvement, we can increase awareness, knowledge, and an understanding of the varied disciplines of design for students of color. The fund will support educational opportunities to learn, grow, and to find a creative path for their professional lives.

The Story

Founded by Jon Otis and Diane Barnes, the Diversity by Design Fund (dxdf) was created to empower young voices in design.

Jon Otis, IIDA is the founder and principal of OlA - Object Agency, a multidisciplinary design studio and design strategy agency, whose work ranges from interior architecture and design, exhibition design, branding and visual communications, product design, web/media design, and strategic consulting. OlA clients have included: Sundance Channel, Nike/ESI Design, General Motors, Mercedes NA, Corning Museum of Glass, Vitra Design Museum, Bentley Mills, and various residences for private clients. Otis is also a tenured professor at the Pratt Institute where he has taught for 20 years.

Diane Barnes has extensive industry experience with decades of work in the interior design and premium furnishings industry, having held senior roles in sales at Vitra, Haworth, and Stone Source. Barnes holds a degree from the University of Richmond in Virginia with a double major in Marketing and Management. Extremely involved in the design industry, Barnes co-created and continues to host a well known career night with Pratt Institute for almost 20 years.


This funding is open to junior high, high school, undergraduate and graduate students, educators, that are Black, brown, and Indigenous people, as well as community-based programs that involve art and design that serve these communities.


Details and application information will be available soon.

For more information contact Jon Otis at jon@diversityxdesign.org or Diane Barnes at diane@diversityxdesign.org.