Rene Watkins Payne is the founder and director of FAVOR design & communications, a multi-disciplinary creative studio specializing in brand identity, art direction, and graphic design. Working in the graphic design sector for over 25 years, Rene’s work has spanned the marketplace from community organizations to Fortune 500 companies. Rene launched included, a dedicated initiative of FAVOR to promote social equity, human dignity, and environmental justice.

As a four-year RISD diversity fellow, Rene supported Social Equity and Inclusion initiatives, including developing materials for the Martin Luther King, Jr. lecture series and designing award-winning work showcasing diversity and disabilities through the longstanding RISDiversity community narratives project. Rene’s work continues to impact local, regional and national social equity design initiatives for Harvard’s Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership, The COVID Black National Task Force initiative, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, The Daughters of the Movement, and The Emmett Till Memory Project.

Rene is an adjunct professor in the Graphic Design department at RISD, where she earned her BFA in Graphic Design, and she also teaches a course called “Art for Social Change” in partnership with the social justice organization Sankofa.