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Delivering Authentic Inclusiveness

Wilhelm Habla
Researcher and Visual Designer

Case Study


About this project

Through this project, our group investigated the fine line between authentic inclusivity and performative gestures in LGBTQ+ brand identities.
Using survey questions, interviews, and existIng research, the study explored the perceptions and needs of the LGBTQ+ community regarding brand representation. The study aimed to understand how brands can engage and support marginalized communities authentically.


Target Group

San Francisco State University's LGBTQ+ community

The Challenge

Brands need authentic representations rather than performative gestures

Integrate inclusivity beyond logo changes, and to foster ongoing support for the LGBTQ+ community.

The Solution

Project began in San Francisco and expanded our resources online for a broader perspective.

Finding a balance between genuine inclusivity and surface-level gestures in representations of the LGBTQ+ community.


Explore San Francisco State University students' perceptions of LGBTQ+ inclusivity in brand identities.
Identify the challenges and pitfalls of brand representation of LGBTQ+.
Develop strategies to spread awareness about how the LGBTQ+ community is used during Pride month to increase the brand’s sales through posters and social media posts.

Design Process

The original goal was to design a poster that would show the inclusivity of brands for the LGBtQ+ community. But the thing about these designs is that they don’t have that “IT” that shows the message of the project.


After the research, I started diving in deeper to the articles and resources that our group had. I made a few sketches that shows rainbow-washing of brands in the market.

IMG_7320 2.JPG

Final Work

The poster is designed to draw attention to the issue of brands exploiting LGBTQ+ support for profit, despite lacking genuine commitment to the community's cause.The focal point of the poster is a product bearing a rainbow logo typically associated with LGBTQ+ support. However, the "sale" price tag highlights the profit motive over genuine advocacy. Despite lacking authentic support, brands use the rainbow symbol solely for financial gain. Why “Pride for sale?”, takes center stage, capturing immediate attention and delivering the core message of why we should be aware of these brands using the community to gain more sales. Peers are being encouraged to boycott these brands, so they will not have to pretend to support the LGBTQ+ community in the future.

These are the mockups that I have for this project, showing different products on the poster, and another message that says “Have you ever heard of rainbow washing


The poster utilizes compelling visual rhetoric by presenting a clear and effective image, urging viewers to reflect on the gap between symbolic support and genuine advocacy.


It appeals to the audience's ethical sensibilities (ethos) by exposing the misuse of symbols associated with social causes for commercial purposes. Additionally, it triggers an emotional response (pathos) by highlighting the exploitation of a meaningful symbol, potentially evoking empathy or anger.

Here’s another mockup that shows the controversial beer company. Before I forget to tell you, this poster provides a QR code that will bring you to a link where you can find articles and online posts about the issue which brand shows genuine and fake support?

Digital Illustration


These products with the rainbow logo and the "sale" price tag takes center stage, capturing immediate attention and delivering the core message.

App Features

Many mobile apps adds a rainbow feature on their interface to show support for the lgbtq+ community, even the company has past controversy.

Rainbow ON SALE

The rainbow logo, traditionally associated with LGBTQ+ support, creates a stark visual contrast that highlights the exploitation of a meaningful symbol for profit.

Social Media Posts

Social media is also a powerful medium to spread awareness in this modern society. This generation uses smartphone to devices to connect with peers and families. This is a big step to connect with other people and relay the message to everyone, especially in the campus.

Design Guidelines

Color Palette











Avenir Next



Despite revealing valuable insights, like the need for authenticity in LGBTQ+ representation, it also highlighted the importance of broader demographic inclusion in future research. We can use the findings to create genuinely impactful brand identities that resonate with diverse communities. This will help us to create meaningful connections with brands and consumers to build trust and loyalty. 
Furthermore, this awareness will help us to better position ourselves in brands and services in the market.


This study navigates LGBTQ+ inclusivity in brand identities, exposing the prevalence of false support amid genuine efforts. Through surveys and research, it unveils discrepancies between perceived and authentic inclusivity.

Design emerges as a crucial tool in this landscape, influencing perceptions and connections. It highlights the responsibility of designers and brands to authentically represent marginalized communities, emphasizing genuine commitment over profit-driven motives. Thoughtful design can foster trust, drive inclusivity, and champion social justice causes like LGBTQ+ rights.


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