Jessica Helfand is a designer, writer, podcaster, and publisher. She cofounded Design Observer in 2002 with Rick Poynor, Michael Bierut, and William Drenttel and most recently wrote the book, Design: The Invention of Desire. In this episode, the first part of a two-part conversation, Jessica and I talk about the origins of Design Observer, how she started writing, writing about design in relationship to culture, and how emerging mediums like video and podcasts can provide a new platform for design criticism.
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Carl DiSalvo is an Associate Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he holds dual appointments in the School of Interactive Computing and the School of Literature, Media, and Communication. His new book, Design as Democratic Inquiry is an exploration of ‘doing design otherwise’. In this conversation, Jarrett and Carl talk about the overlap of critical design and social design, what it means to design for democracy, and the role of writing in his work.
Liam Young is a speculative architect and director whose work spans design, fiction, and futures. He is cofounder of Tomorrows Thought Today, an urban futures think tank, and Unknown Fields, a nomadic research studio. He is also the director of the Masters in Fiction and Entertainment program at SCI Arc. His latest project is Planet City, a story of a fictional city for the entire population of earth. In this wide-ranging conversation, Jarrett and Liam talk about the elasticity of the term ‘architect’, the value of storytelling and fictions, and co-opting culture to find new audiences.
Nicole Killian is a graphic designer and educator whose work spans design, publishing, video, and installation. They are currently co-director of the Design, Visual Communications MFA and associate professor of graphic design at Virginia Commonwealth University. In this conversation, Jarrett and Nicole talk about studying at the Bauhaus and Cranbrook, how institutions can become more experimental, and what it means to queer design education.