Dark Patterns

Oakland Summer School Reading group co-facilitated with Helen Ip.

Screenshot of the Zoom discussion from our first night.
Dark Patterns was the second iteration of the Oakland Summer School school reading group I organized with my collaborator Helen Ip. The reading groups take a critical look at design from the perspective of radical politics. Asking questions about the role of designers in social movements, and the role of design as a strategy for making critical changes in people’s lives.

We considered texts by authors like Paulo Friere, Audre Lorde, Metahaven, Jackie Wang, Adrienne Maree Brown, and many more. 

As part of each meeting Helen and I created custom zoom backgrounds and outfit suggestions for each week.

For example, I created an interactive maze background (above left) which transformed our zoom call into a weird game board. We also created a cascading “Matrix” background and another background (above right) was used for a simulated “picture day” theme, turning our zoom backgrounds into a sort of live yearbook.

One of our group members, Paula Te wrote about our attempt at virtual space creation as part of an early pandemic Medium piece about virtual spaces.




Dark Patterns Reader cover designed by Helen Ip. Interior pages designed collaboratively.

carder.justin (at) gmail.com