A history of dif

Here is the little story of how the dif Verein (to be translated as member’s club or NGO) or in its full version “diverse, inclusive, and fair”, and the accompanying website came to be. The common expression is DEI, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, in real life equity tends to be the last piece of the puzzle, my guess is the letters were exchanged to avoid the less funky acronym DIE.

With dif, we put these values in the order we believe they happen in real-life situations: diversity is the tip of the iceberg, it is visible and many brands want to use it as a marketing tool – this what we call diversity-washing. Inclusion is the next step, not only teams, lineups, boards, etc. are diverse, but each individual is included in decision-making, team work, content, etc. The last one, equity or in our case we use the simpler adjective fair – this is a word that children learn at a small age and that shapes our vision of the world, is harder to pin down as it is less visible. Equity is of course about sharing resources or paying people in a fair way, it also touches to the notion of social differences and sustainability: fairness is not the same as equality, in order for each person to reach the same goal, they may need different or ampler resources. It is also possible that sometimes, someone must give up a piece of privilege so someone else can break through the glass ceiling.

So how is this fair you ask? Because society is about the well-being of each individual, but also about common well-being; how can someone feel happy when their neighbour is suffering. By giving up a piece of privilege, we encourage sustainability in society, which in the long term benefits us all. A common example in the music industry is when companies or festivals spend more time and money to recruit, train, and include diverse workers or diverse acts, and when in the long term they get a bigger audience, turn higher profits, and offer a more interesting experience to all parties involved.

And now, why small letters for dif? We have nothing against grammar, but small letters are cute and less shouty. All letters being small, in opposition to only the first one being capitalized, is a graphic way of saying we believe everybody is at the same level: clout, financial means, or millions of social media followers do not make a person more important than another, the positive actions that a person does for the world at their own level is what makes them shine.
Oh and the dif letters in the logo are read from bottom to top, because the People will rise.

Finally, why these colours, and why do they change each time you refresh the page? We picked soft colours, because the subject of DEI is already hot enough without adding flashy colours to it. The colours change because we did not want to settle on just a colour for this or that… we love change and visual diversity – which is also why we decided not to overly format our biographies, so you can hear each of our voices, us the seven founding members of dif, a bunch of old and new friends and colleagues all connected by the music industry. The person who kindly supported our vision is Peter at Atomic Design Studios who found a fun way to mix human decision with technological randomisation – for those who appreciate tech stuff: he used a colour generator, input pastel colours, and applied a coded filter that allows colour shifts entirely with CSS.

We aimed for the website to be easy to navigate and for the layout not to be overwhelming. We hope you will find our content a useful resource to promote DEI in the music industry, and you can reach us at info @ dif-ev . org or via the contact form.