Embracing the Power of “&”

Inclusivity, Diversity, and Having a Seat at the Table

Over the past year, the D&A brand has experienced a refresh, much like the brand development we have executed for countless clients—from SFMTA to the Port of Oakland. To do this, we thought deeply about who we are and what we represent. When Darolyn Davis founded D&A nearly 30 years ago, her goal was to bridge the divide between the public, policy, projects, and everyday people, which demonstrates we have been prioritizing equity first since day one. It was important to us that our new look and feel demonstrated this ethos—an approach that fosters a more inclusive, empathetic, and just society.

In a world often defined by binaries, where choices seem constrained to either/or, the humble “&” symbol nestled between the D and A in our logo stands as a powerful reminder and testament to the beauty of complexity, diversity, and inclusivity. Often overlooked, yet ever-present, the “&” signifies connection, unity, and the recognition of multiple identities and perspectives.

The Symbolic Power of “&”: The “&” symbol, typically used to join two or more elements, represents the intersectionality of identities and experiences. It signifies that two seemingly contrasting ideas or identities can coexist harmoniously and that inclusivity lies in recognizing and embracing this complexity.

Inclusivity Beyond Either/Or: In a world often defined by dichotomies—black or white, male or female, gay or straight—the “&” symbol invites us to challenge these rigid distinctions. It encourages us to embrace the diversity of identities and experiences that exist beyond binaries, creating space for individuals to authentically express themselves without fear of judgment or exclusion.

Celebrating Diversity: The “&” symbol celebrates the richness of diversity by acknowledging that there is strength in difference. It reminds us that every individual brings a unique perspective to the table and that true innovation and progress emerge from the collective contributions of diverse voices.

Having a Seat at the Table: Embracing the “&” means ensuring that everyone has a seat at the table, regardless of their background, identity, or lived experience. It means actively dismantling barriers to inclusion and creating environments where everyone feels welcome, valued, and empowered to contribute their unique talents and insights. At D&A, we identify and remove barriers, not just by inviting people to the table but by bringing the table to them. This may include introducing information at locations such as public housing communities or places where people without internet access gather, providing on-site childcare, in-language materials, and translators.

Taking Action: To embrace the meaning behind “&” is to commit to tangible action toward inclusivity and diversity. It requires us to actively listen to marginalized voices, amplify underrepresented perspectives, and advocate for equitable opportunities for all.

In a world that often seeks to categorize and divide, the “&” symbol serves as a powerful reminder of the interconnectedness of humanity. It calls us to embrace the complexity of identities and experiences, celebrate diversity, and create inclusive spaces where everyone is acknowledged. Let us embrace the meaning behind “&” and work together towards a more inclusive, equitable, and empathetic world for all.

To learn more about how we embrace the “&,” empowering all people to make a transformative change that elevates our communities, take a look at a video of our recent community outreach compiled by our in-house production team.