ADC Awards

The ADC Annual Awards is the oldest continuously running industry award show in the world. Now in its incredible 102nd year, these awards celebrate the very best in advertising, digital media, graphic and publication design, packaging and product design, motion, experiential and spatial design, photography, illustration and fashion design all with a focus on artistry and craftsmanship.

2023 ADC Awards - Brand / Communication Design

The Black Elevation Map

Agency Performance Art / Toronto

Client Black & Abroad


Design for Good / Brand / Communication Design - Single

Annual ID


About the Work

“Maps are not ideologically neutral location guides. Mapmakers choose what to include and exclude, and how to display information to users. These decisions can have far-reaching consequences.”* When marginalized communities navigate the world, they are asked to do so using tools that prioritize someone else’s worldview. With its map, Black & Abroad has created a way to see and navigate the U.S. in a way that centers both Black users and the country’s Blackness. In this way, The Black Elevation Map is transparent and purposeful about its bias.

An uplifting domestic travel utility for Black & Abroad that visualizes Black cultural data as elevation. The greater the density of data, the higher the elevation.

At the center, a visualization of +330,000,000 points of data, which through exploration reveals insights about population distribution, and where Black-owned businesses and cultural institutions are likely to be present, absent, and in what abundance.

The data gathering process considered scale, quality, accessibility across all 50 states, ethical sourcing and race-based bias. We prioritized data from sources where users self-report their own ethnicity.

This project sits on a continuum of Black-led design and “counter-mapping” – a map-making practice interested in establishing and charting Black geographies at times when barriers to owning your space (disappropriation) could be as elusive as barriers to owning your body (slavery, lynching and incarceration).

The headline font used throughout this project is “Martin”, created by American designer Tré Seals based on Civil Rights protest posters. The body copy is another Seals typeface: “Du Bois”, inspired by that legendary graphic designer’s work. Seals also created the project’s original “points of interest” icon set, based on his survey of West African symbology.

*Alderman & Inwood.

2023 Awards

Total Points: 45



Performance Art / Toronto

Design Firm

Vocal Type Co. / Washington D.C.

Digital Agency

Reprise Canada / Toronto

PR / Marketing Agency

Glossy Inc. / Toronto


Eric Martin
Kent Johnson

Client / Brand

Black & Abroad / Atlanta

Production Company

Alfredo Films / Toronto

Music / Sound Production Company

TA2 Sound + Music / Toronto

Post Production Company

Alter Ego / Toronto

Media Agency

Initiative Canada / Toronto

Chief Creative Officer

Ian Mackenzie


Emily Plewes

Director of Photography

Shivam Pandya

Executive Creative Director

Colin Craig

Account Director

Jon Rae

Account Supervisor

Ricky Gunawan

Associate Creative Director

Benson Ngo
Pedro Izzo

Chief Executive Officer

Andrea Cook

Program Manager

Kaylen Dillon

Agency Partner

Meta / New York

Analytics Analyst

Abdul Dau

Analytics Manager

Anil Iqbal


Kinesso / New York

Chief Operations Officer

Elizabeth Sellors


Gigi Basanta

Digital Producer

Darwin Garcia

Experience Delivery Lead

Nzegwhua Anderson

Experience Designer

Leon Mullings

Full Stack Developer

Cody Schreiber

Group Director, Product Development

Arnaud Icard

Interface Developer

Heung Lee

Junior Analyst

Shaista Meghji

Lead Developer

John Iacoviello

Quality Assurance Analyst

Nataliya Vislyanska

Quality Assurance Lead

Natalia Zadorozhna

Senior Experience Designer

Joe Szabo

Senior Technical Architect

Valerian Nasqidashvili

Solutions Consultant

Kaivalya Kashyap

SVP, Head of Strategy

Priyanka Goswami

SVP, Managing Director

Jordan Dinning

Technical Solutions Consultant

Suraj Patel

VP, Strategy

Kirk Linkletter

VP, Technology

Stuart Cheesmond

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