Since 1996, Young Guns has been an elite portfolio-based competition that takes the profiles of young creative professionals already on the rise and helps elevate them even further. And while the program has made major strides since the days of being jokingly thought of as an award for "extremely talented white designers and illustrators from Williamsburg", there's always room for more diversity.

Enter COLORFUL: A Prelude To Young Guns 19. Ahead of this year's Young Guns competition, we teamed up with acclaimed first-generation Filipinx designer and Young Guns 8 winner Rich Tu to co-found a free portfolio competition and a grant exclusively for young BIPOC creative professionals who qualify for Young Guns — they just haven't entered and won it yet.

After receiving submissions from across the globe, a jury made up of 11 BIPOC creative superstars — all previous Young Guns winners themselves — went over every single entry, grading them not only on the strength of their work but also on how they intend to use the $3000 creative grant, should they win. Afterward, the jury convened to discuss and debate which entrant stood above others as the overall winner of the grant, as well as assemble a class of finalists. The winner and the finalists will all be welcomed to enter YG19 completely free of charge, with the confidence that comes with knowing they've already impressed a jury that knows exactly what it takes to win Young Guns.

COLORFUL: A Prelude to Young Guns 19

Julian Williams

Graphic Designer & Art Director

My name is Julian Williams. I am a Queer, Black, German-American graphic designer and art director based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. I studied design at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design in the United States before moving to the Netherlands to intern and work for Nike as a brand designer. While at Nike, I discovered and became an active part of the European vogueing ballroom community. Vogueing not only gave me a new appreciation for my identity and the talents of people around me, but also instilled within me a desire to work with positive communities and brands wherever possible. I went on to work for Tommy Hilfiger as a digital designer before interning on Jessica Walsh’s team at &Walsh. Most recently, I was the lead opposition brand designer on Joe Biden’s successful 2020 campaign for president. All of this is what I’ve done professionally, but I have to say even outside of the professional worlk, I truly love graphic design. I really do. I am constantly making personal work, having discussions with friends about design, and in the last year began speaking to universities about my experiences as a designer in the hopes of inspiring other people around the world. (My 50 year old dad even retired from the US army after 30 years and started studying design. I gave a lecture to him and his class) I am happy to say it feels like I’ve given other young people insights that can benefit them in their early careers, and I am happy to have done all this so early in my own. My greatest dream is to make good work with good people.

See Julian William's Work




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