Black Excellence Camping Co.
Morgan Downing

Black Lives Matter

As a Black designer, it is important to me to use every platform I have to uplift my community. My senior thesis project focuses on empowering Black people and encouraging discourse, but more must be done. Over-policing and discriminatory laws will continue to be an issue if we don’t all contribute, whether those contributions are monetary or political.

Due to judgement from others, Black people in urban environments are discouraged from spending time in outdoor spaces. Back Excellence Camping Co. aims to inspire black urban dwellers to enjoy public outdoor spaces openly and without anxiety by creating a product that presents the user as an “outdoor person”. This will give the user a sense of belonging in a place where they typically feel judged. By creating more black outdoorsmen, the mental and physical well-being of black people will be improved.

Final Product

This product will…

Offer Black people a feeling of belonging in outdoor recreation

Create more Black outdoorsmen

Encourage discussion of common racial issues

The Black Excellence Camping Co. kit includes everything needed for a day of recreation in a public outdoor space. The kit includes:
2 Chairs
1 Patterned Sun Shade
1 Box of Playing Cards
2 Camp Mugs
1 Camping Patch


Initial Problem

The early stages of this project focused on getting more urban dwellers to participate in outdoor recreation. After discussing this issue, I was intrigued at the apparent discrepancy between Black people and White people. Many of the Black people offhandedly mentioned that they don’t consider themselves outdoor people because they of their race.


After surveying people of color, the majority of people said that they have previously felt judged while being outdoors. This feeling of judgement prevents people from feeling confident and comfortable in outdoor spaces.

“It’s frustrating for people to cross the street or look at me strange when I’m outside. For this reason, I generally only go outside recreationally with other people.”

Concept Development

Beginning with sketches, I looked for a way to improve the outdoor experience for Black People. The best received idea was an all inclusive day camping kit. Using 3D materials such as clay, wood, and fabric, I tested different methods for putting an outdoor recreation kit together.

Morgan Downing

I have been interested in the way things are made for as long as I remember. Majoring in Product Design gave me a productive outlet for all of my intense curiosity. I am passionate about the way objects impact people and spaces, and I hope to design furniture and homewares that make home seem a little more playful.