The significance of inclusion and diversity within this year’s Cannes International Festival of Creativity cannot be overstated. With entrants from Armenia and Nigeria taking home their country’s first Lions and Spike Lee being the first recipient of Creative Maker of the Year award, there is a momentous stride towards a more inclusive and representative creative landscape. At the forefront this year are visionaries, including Quinnton Harris, co-founder and CEO of Retrospect, a black-owned creative storytelling and technology studio.
As the president of the Lions Design Jury this year, Quinnton shares his excitement in a quick chat with Glazia Editor-in-Chief, Omawumi Ogbe after Tuesday’s award night where some inspiring design awards were presented. Harris delves into the profound importance of representation for designers worldwide.
A distinguished graduate of MIT himself, Quinnton has forged a unique path by seamlessly blending his expertise as a creative storyteller and technologist. His exceptional leadership has been recognized through his roles at organizations such as Digitas, the Procter & Gamble-acquired startup Walker & Company Brands (renowned for the Bevel brand), Blavity, Inc., and Publicis Sapient.
He also co-founded a creative collective in the Bay Area, California, which catalyzed a nationwide movement urging corporate America and policymakers to recognize Juneteenth as a federally recognized holiday in 2020.
Enjoy his brief conversation with Glazia’s EIC.
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Quinton Harris, co-founder and CEO of Retrospect and I was this year’s Design Lions Jury President.
How does it feel to be the president of the Design Lions Jury at Cannes Lions this year and what was the process like?
It’s an incredible honour to be a jury member of the jury, let alone be a jury president. I was on the jury last year and I was opportune to meet unique people from all over the world. It was an intense process. We had almost a thousand pieces of work to go through from different countries. And what kept us together was our shared values for craft, understanding culture deeply , and then also having immense impact.
What does it mean to be very passionate about amplifying the black voices and black creatives? What does it mean for you?
I always say that the future of design is collaboration and inclusion. In order to effectively collaborate, we need to have and make space for voices that have not been heard. I’m a Black American but I’m also a part of a larger diaspora, whether it’s Black in another continent, another country, the Caribbean or North America etc. So it’s super important for me that representation is there and that good design makes representation possible.
What would you tell someone who is new to communication or someone who wants to make a mark in the industry?
I would say follow your heart, develop and get crazy obsessed with your skills . Work, work, shoot all the time. Take risks, make mistakes, be around loved ones , and just do your best cos your voice matters.