Production with an inclusive lens

The best intentions can be defeated by even a single poor creative choice. When work moves to production, keeping inclusion in mind will help the final product resonate with audiences of different backgrounds.

Clothing, makeup, and hair

Be aware and sensitive to nuances in appearance. These details can significantly add to authentic portrayals, but also risk perpetuating stereotypes.

  • Always look for ways to make appearances more widely representative. Explore the nuances across individual groups and do quick research to check for historical accuracy, cultural authenticity, and how your choices may resonate with the group you’re trying to portray. Don’t commercialize any cultural or religious practices or styles.


Only portray Indigenous people in traditional dress if there is a clear reason to do so that treats the culture with respect and has the approval of appropriate groups. See more insights for representing Indigenous people in creative.

Language and voiceover

Be thoughtful about the tone, accent, and choice of words when choosing voiceover talent and writing your script.


  • Note slang and cultural terminology specific to certain groups. Ask for feedback (without tokenizing or over-burdening underrepresented people or groups) on whether you’re using it correctly and integrating it naturally into the story.
  • Some words or phrases can alienate. Look out for anything questionable and check with a range of underrepresented people. It’s better to get it right than to assume you’re right.
  • Check out our audience insights for best practices on how to refer to specific demographic groups or refer to publicly available, inclusion-focused guides, such as GLAAD’s Media Reference Guide or the NCDJ’s Disability Language Style Guide.


  • Be aware of whether your narrator’s voice is identifiable by gender, race, or ethnicity, and what that implies when you use it.
  • Consider using a voice actor from the relevant underrepresented group.

Photography and video

Thoughtful storytelling considers the nuance of real life and real characters to create truly inclusive representations. However, how those representations are produced and constructed can be just as impactful as the story itself.

  • Work to build an inclusive team behind the camera that will more easily and successfully create work that resonates, or with agencies with certified underrepresented ownership.
  • Strive to capture the nuance of real life. At Google, this means trying to avoid glossy, unattainable settings.
  • Adjust lighting for variations in skin tone, and consider the mood and emotion that lighting adds to a character.
  • Be aware of how framing, staging, blocking, and camera motion can all indicate character mood, agency, and power dynamics.
  • Consider curating your own inclusive gallery or check out publicly accessible photo libraries such as Getty’s Disability Collection or

When using stock photography:


Depictions that portray a “one of each” grouping can feel forced and unnatural.

Replicating the same scenarios over and over. Take opportunities to build new representations that break stereotypes.

Using imagery that doesn’t meaningfully connect to your content, just because it represents some dimension of inclusion.

Often in digital executions, there are fewer opportunities to feature a range of moments — as there is in film — so it is even more critical to be thoughtful about the image or illustration selected.

  • Focus on how all of the individual assets of your whole campaign add up to represent the diversity of the world.
  • It is easy to default to a "one size fits all" image to portray inclusion, but authentic portrayals will come from the nuance of a real story.


The illustration style you choose should positively represent people across an intersectional spectrum of identity including — but not limited to — gender, race, age, and disability. The overall inclusive audience insights and accessibility insights still apply here.

A single character is not meant to be universally representative.

When creating a character, it should represent a unique individual and all the elements that give them a distinct personality. With every individual character created, we should collectively be representing the diversity of the world.

Context is key.

Illustration can both improve inclusion and perpetuate stereotypes. Hair, facial features, body type, body language, environment, dress, and activity are all signals of identity. For example, a character’s outfit or environment can convey socioeconomic status.

Human skin tones are more representative than non-human skin tones.

Unless there is a stylistic reason that makes non-human skin tones necessary, choose human skin tones. Across the board, people find illustrations with orange or yellow skin tones to represent white users.

Illustration of a woman wearing a mask above instructions for staying safe from coronavirus.

“Wear a Mask” campaign featured a person with medium skin tone, a small but important step toward ensuring the skin tones used in our illustrations reflect the spectrum of skin tones in the world.

If non-human skin tones are required, relative shades matter.

If you are forced to illustrate multiple characters with non-human skin tones, people tend to assume that the lightest-shaded character is white, and those with darker-shaded tones are Black or Latino.

Racial or ethnic groups cannot be represented by a single skin tone.

All races and ethnicities identify with many skin tones. For example, Black, Latino, and Asian people in the U.S. describe a broad set of skin tones as representing their own. It’s important to consistently represent the diversity of skin tones, from the darkest to the lightest, regardless of racial or ethnic background.


Check out this library of free illustrations of Black people.

Check out Humaaans, a public domain tool that offers mix-and-match illustrations featuring a wide range of skin tones, hair styles, and abilities.

Product portrayal

Inclusive marketing guidance still applies when a person is interacting with a product. Even if it’s just a disembodied hand, consider:

  • Featuring different backgrounds of people interacting with your products across your campaigns. Depicting a mix of skin tones, genders, ages, and abilities is important because the majority of hands in product imagery are from white people.
  • If it’s tech, what is shown on the screen is an opportunity to add additional layers of nuance to the scene. Consider geographic details, imagery, and language.
  • Feature new stories about how your product is experienced by those outside the average audience (e.g., different languages, cultures, nationalities, socioeconomic backgrounds, age groups, and disability).
  • Remember that when telling someone else's story, be cautious about how much credit the product takes for the person’s own successes. Doing so could appropriate a cultural moment and de-legitimize a group's own contributions.

“From Syria to Canada” (2016) follows a Syrian refugee family and their experiences learning a new language and culture using Google products.