Illustrating Black Panther: Designer Interviews

Center for Story-based Strategy worked with Dante Garcia and Kevin Banatte to create designs as fundraisers for our Black Panther FanActivistCon.


Q&A with Dante Garcia

Who are you?

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I’m a Seattle artist, designer, and organizer obsessed with social and interpersonal transformation. In 2016 I co-founded Digital Manatee, a growing design cooperative dedicated to standing behind grassroots organizations and making transformation irresistible. We collaborate on a wide range of digital services with movement organizations, with a focus on empathetic and strategic storying telling through brand, website, and digital and print design. My main touchstones in life right now are justice, creative self-expression, health, accountability, dignity, the long game and joy. If you’re ever in the area you’ll likely find me biking across the Seattle hills from meeting to meeting, off key at a karaoke bar trying to get better and geeking out about a post capitalist world.

Our cooperative is in the middle of a major overhaul so if you want to see some of our more recent work here are two examples you can check out GotGreen.org and TrainingForChange.org. If you wanna talk shop, feel free to reach out: 206-755-4729 / dante@digitalmanatee.com

What did you work on with CSS?

 Design by Dante Garcia

Design by Dante Garcia

Felicia Perez, CSS' Innovation Director, pulled together a small team that just finished up a handful of apparel designs reframing and blending Black Panther within movement organizing themes — and I worked on two of them.

As a kid who grew up on, and learned to draw from, comic books from the library I took on creating a bit of fan art with a twist. One of the major cut scenes in the Black Panther trailer was of him pursuing and leaping onto a car. We thought, “If T’challa were alive in our reality who would he be hunting down”?

Why did you do this work?

Well for the project, I jumped on because I love CSS. I recently attended the advanced training and am continuing to practice and look for ways to implement CSS tools, and then when I found out Kevin would be in on this project I was double down — we met at the CSS Advanced Training.

Otherwise I do ‘this work’, because its where my passion meets purpose. Designing for movement projects draws upon my love for creative expression in the context of strategic/meaningful impact. And in this info overloaded era we live in, now more than ever, story is what weaves together and holds meaning. There’s already incredible and visionary work happening around us, in communities across the country to bend the arc of justice — and for me and the cooperative I’m apart of we’re here to help tell OUR stories in this fight for justice and a live-able, thriving planet.

How can folks see & purchase the T-Shirts you designed?

If you’d like to check-out what I helped make here’s the links:

 Design by Dante Garcia

Design by Dante Garcia

 Design by Dante Garcia & Kevin Banatte

Design by Dante Garcia & Kevin Banatte


Q&A with Kevin Banatte

Who are you?

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My name is Kevin Banatte. I’m a creative artist who is extremely passionate about utilizing digital strategies to reach campaign goals rooted in radical progressive change for black and brown communities.

My experiences studying Black Psychology, working with the Dream Defenders (a racial justice organization in Florida), working at the AFL-CIO (a national coalition of labor unions), consulting with some of the best progressive organizations around the country, all while being a huge fan of streetwear culture and fashion has led me to the 2018 creation of The South.

The South is a brand where unapologetic Black culture defines political power. Our goal is to create positive, powerful narratives that reshape the framework of Black identity in the US. We do this through popularizing Black southern culture and history in service of an audience of Black progressive, political thinkers that is strongly rooted in the power of blackness and their identity. By creating political art and apparel, curating news through a pro-Black lens and generating digital media content, The South will articulate the perspectives of an emerging and renewed subculture and power force of Black americans.

Follow The South for more info:

Twitter --- Instagram --- Facebook

What did you work on with CSS?

I was fortunate to work with CSS on their Black Panther t-shirt fundraiser project. The goal was illustrate various themes, issues, and visuals of the progressive movement with similar aspects from the Black Panther.  

From the structure of the process that lead us to DOPE ideas to the team I was able to work with, it was a great experience. For me, it served as a great example of how creatives can collaborate together.

Why did you do this work?

Through their tools and work culture, CSS has drastically expanded my view of the power in narratives. And this project was an opportunity to work with like minded creatives who see that power. Not only do they see the power of narratives, they understand how to use that vision to create compelling work.

How can folks see & purchase the T-Shirts you designed?

Check out the collaborations here:

 Design by Kevin Banatte

Design by Kevin Banatte

 Design by Kevin Banatte

Design by Kevin Banatte

 Design by Kevin Banatte & Dante Garcia

Design by Kevin Banatte & Dante Garcia