Heroes of Color

By Jailene Adorno


When David Heredia was in the seventh grade, he and his classmates were asked to create something that captured the title “Rainbow Harmony.” As a joke, he drew ethnically diverse people on a welfare line. He didn’t think anything of it until his drawing won a competition and the local news station covered the story. From that point forward, Heredia did all he could to hone that skill of design and founded Heredia Designs, which is a custom design and illustration company.

In 2002, Heredia moved from New York City to California to further pursue his career as a designer. While there, he noticed that many people experienced a bit of culture shock upon meeting him.

“They’d never seen a Black Latino,” says Heredia. “The ignorance was upsetting, but I had to realize where I was living.”

Because of these incidences, his art started to take on a whole new purpose. It became so much more than just a visual experience; there was a lot more substance behind it. He started creating multicultural characters—different people from different cultures with traditional attire from their respective country of origin.


“I’ve created work that actually means something to me,” he says. “I created for me, not other people and by doing that, people fell in line. It resonates with people.”

Heredia’s upbringing has inspired his designs by allowing him to illustrate the diverse people that he grew up around in New York City. His designs are also heavily influenced by graffiti, urban art, and cartoons from the 80s.

One of Heredia’s biggest passion projects is Heroes of Color, which is a series of educational, three-minute videos that tell the stories of underrepresented, historical heroes. However, these aren’t the popular heroes that we’re used to hearing about. Instead, these are the lesser known heroes, some of which date back to the 17th century such as Gaspar Yanga, who is known as “one of the first Black liberators in the Americas by leading one of the most successful slave rebellions.”

“When you start to tell positive stories, people become inspired,” says Heredia.

The inspiration for Heroes of Color came to him when he initiated a trivia game with some of the children within his family. He challenged them to name five Black superheroes. Heredia’s son was able to name a couple, but the other children weren’t as lucky. This led Heredia to do some research via the web and local comic book stores. However, much to his dismay, he didn’t find as many as he’d hoped.

In his research, Heredia went on to discover historical heroes he hadn’t heard of before. That was when he decided to take action and put the spotlight on these heroes so that children and adults could learn something new in a fun and creative way. As an artist, Heredia finds comfort in the fact that he can create something that can affect change.

“You have a voice, as an artist, to essentially change people’s perceptions,” he says.

View all of David Heredia’s designs here.