Happy International Women's Day! Let's get to know some of our top Elements authors prioritizing diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality in their content.
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2023, we’re showcasing five fabulous female Envato Elements authors committed to creating diverse and inclusive content. Their work includes graphic design, photography, and illustration that encompass and represent a broad range of perspectives and experiences, whether that’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, age, and other factors. Diversity in design is becoming increasingly imperative for creators, so let’s hear from the ladies leading the way.
International Women’s Day is a global holiday celebrated annually on March 8. IWD is a time to recognize women’s achievements, educate and raise awareness for equality, and influence positive change for women around the globe.
Over the past few years, whether driven by pressure from customers or company values, many brands and businesses have been striving to be more diverse and inclusive. However, there’s a long way to go regarding championing inclusive and diverse content and representation in the media and creative industries.
Designers and creatives play a big part in the visual content we see daily. They’re responsible for imagining, building, and creating our advertising, art, film and TV, social media content, books, magazines – the list goes on. The level of representation that we’re regularly exposed to directly impacts whether we feel seen, heard and valued by society and the brands, businesses, and companies we support – making diversity and inclusion a key pillar of design.
“Just like our Envato Author Community, our customers are a diverse group of people from all over the world. And they’re looking for diverse content that represents them and their communities,” says Envato’s Author Marketing Specialist Kristin Brodie. “When we have diverse and inclusive representation in our content, we see the full spectrum of humanity on display in a way that benefits everybody.”
There has also been a big push to increase diversity and inclusivity in the design industry. A survey of design industry demographics found that almost three-quarters of designers are white, and only 45 percent of designers are female – with even fewer in a position of leadership. Companies can effectively impact diversity on a larger scale by building diverse design teams, prioritizing underrepresented demographics, and being open to and encouraging alternative ideas and experiences. However, individual designers can all do their part to contribute to a more diverse industry.
Let’s get to know some of our top Elements authors prioritizing diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality in their content – from cultural diversity to body positivity.
Envato Author NassyArt – AKA Anastasia Smiyan – is a Ukrainian artist and illustrator who creates stunning female-centered illustrations featured on Envato Elements. While Nassy’s Elements portfolio includes a variety of textures, patterns, Photoshop and Procreate brushes, and graphics, she’s perhaps best known for her artistic illustrations of women and other female-identifying people.
“I love to show the beauty of diverse skin tones, religions, and cultures in my art,” says Anastasia. “Design is for the people, so diverse content will always be in demand. We are still dealing with problems of gender inequality and racism, and we can correct these problems by sharing information and increasing representation. That’s why people need inclusive content.”
Anastasia has been praised for the high level of diversity in her work, representing individuals of all cultures, body types, sexualities, and genders.
“My favorite item I’ve created features women from all around the world. I see beauty in every nation and am inspired by what makes us interesting and unique,” she explains. “As a designer, you should strive to be actively involved in current issues. Listen to what people say and consider how you can help through art. Design should represent all people and make them feel like they belong – plus, diversity is beautiful!”
Maria Starus, who publishes content under Masastarus, is an Elements Author who creates graphics and illustrations featuring cute, whimsical characters and quaint scenes. From woodland creatures snuggling in oak trees to elderly couples roller skating in activewear, her Elements Portfolio is colorful, fresh, and uplifting.
Maria has been praised by fellow Elements authors such as A_Slowik and Webvilla for her lively, direct characters and imaginative illustrations. But in addition to her enchanting illustrations, she’s also passionate about diversity, striving to represent people of all cultures, ages, genders, and backgrounds in her work.
“Diversity and inclusivity are crucial in art and design because it promotes representation and acceptance of different perspectives and experiences,” says Maria. “By creating inclusive content, artists and designers can contribute to breaking down stereotypes and promoting social change. As an illustrator, I believe it’s my responsibility to use my art to create positive messages and showcase the beauty and diversity of different cultures and backgrounds.”
Elements Author Frimages – also known as Franzi – creates charming illustrations inspired by travel, foreign cities, maps, and people around the globe. Franzi has always been an avid traveler, passionate about seeing new places and experiencing new cultures, and, as a result, diversity plays an integral part in her work.
“I spent most of my 20s and early 30s traveling; I’ve lived in many different countries and have friends from different backgrounds and cultures,” says Franzi. “My first illustrations just happened to be diverse: I simply illustrated what I knew and was used to. The people who bought my work pointed out to me that they liked the diversity in my art. Now I’m doing it more consciously and trying to be more inclusive and diverse with each piece of art. However, there’s still a lot to do.”
Franzi, a full-time Berlin-based illustrator, is passionate about increasing representation in her work and design in general and draws inspiration from her fellow Elements author, NassyArt.
“My favorite piece of work I’ve created is my seamless pattern with diverse faces. I put much effort into each face, and drawing each person was fun. I’m also really inspired by Anastasiia Smiian (NassyArt) – a lot of her work is diverse and female-centered, and I love the simplicity of her style and choice of colors.”
Anna Kuba is a skilled photographer, videographer, and designer who is passionate about creative expression. She’s also a mother to twin boys, and her Elements portfolio mainly consists of fun, vibrant illustrations and graphics designed for children. However, Anna also creates a wide variety of content featuring people of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, and abilities.
“Variety and diversity are essential for creators,” says Anna. “The world is ever-changing, and we must continually develop and change the content of our work to reflect this. With experience, I’ve come to understand that diverse content is not just a priority but a necessity – when it comes to creativity, it’s imperative not to stand still.”
Anna’s work exudes a nurturing warmth, drawing on her experience of motherhood to celebrate women and mothers from around the world.
“Women are such strong beings; we do so much for our children. Motherhood is the underlying meaning of my drawings, as it reminds me who I do this for.”
Ukrainian Envato Author Kaleriia Tverdokhlib produces elegant portraits and abstract paintings combining watercolor, realism, and gorgeous imagery. Kaleriia has been continually praised for her heartfelt work and the wide range of people she illustrates – including people of different genders, sexualities, cultures, and religions. However, she’s particularly inspired by the “divine feminine.”
“I love to draw women,” she says. “They fit the overall picture of bright colors and plant patterns perfectly. I adore the styles of other nations – Eastern, African, Asian – and I love to draw stylish, strong, modern women.”
Kaleriia is especially passionate about drawing women and girls of all shapes, sizes, and cultures, aiming to celebrate the female form.
“My experience as a woman has not only influenced my career – it was, in fact, the beginning and the basis of my creativity. In my acrylic paintings, I only paint women. Many people ask me why, and I don’t know the answer myself – there is an incomprehensible, distant mystery in the female image.”
For more creative inspiration, check out our blog on Top 10 Female Designers to Follow on Instagram, 10 Incredible Indigenous Designers to Follow on Instagram, or our top Graphic Design Trends for 2023.