The Neglect of Disabled Representation in Advertising and Graphic Design


Though policies have helped in many ways there is still a visual disparity when it comes to the representation of the disabled in the industry of graphic design. This paper spotlights the problem by showing exclusion, specifically against wheelchair users in several areas where graphic design is used as well as advertising. The evidence posits one of the main reasons for the omission and avoidance of the disabled is an in depth fear of becoming disabled and losing control. There are a few bright spots in graphic design concerning the disabled and these should be the beginning of a conversation about inclusion and not visualizing the disabled as broken but as a vital part of society.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.