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AIGA Design Adjacent with Bennie F. Johnson

AIGA Design Adjacent is a podcast series with AIGA’s Executive Director, Bennie F. Johnson, in conversation with industry leaders who are innovating and designing the future. Alongside the popular AIGA Fireside Chats, this new podcast will explore groundbreaking topics shaping our future. Design can power the future and this podcast takes a surprising look at the ways in which design is helping to build a better future.

These conversations expand beyond the design community, encompassing industries and areas that intersect with design—legal, cutting-edge technology such as blockchain, and strategy—and shift the ways in which we think about and interact with each other and the world around us. Design is the dynamic inspiration for these conversations.

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AIGA Design Adjacent

If you have an interesting perspective or story, we invite you to join us on the AIGA Design Adjacent podcast with Bennie F. Johnson.

Current episode

May 17, 2022

Catherine Clark and Paul McDowall

In 2001, Catherine Clark and Paul McDowall joined forces to create an original agency concept, built around the idea that true collaborative thinking and different perspectives can solve brand challenges holistically—and better. Together, with their talented team of brand architects, they partner with some of the world’s most forward-looking brands. Their strategic and creative guidance has helped brands better our world by tackling the important topics such as sustainability, health and wellness, and empowerment head on. 

Previous episodes

May 3, 2022

Bret Recor

Bret is an industrial designer, entrepreneur, and investor. He is the founder and director of the award-winning design studio, Box Clever, which is renowned for creating physical products and experiences that delight consumers and build category-leading brands. The San Francisco-based design practice operates at the intersection of industrial design, brand strategy, and investment. Bret’s expertise lies in balancing creative vision with real-world experience and engineering prowess. He understands the nuances of taking an idea from concept to market. Specializing in consumer products, and with focus on the creation of physical experiences that enhance human relationships, Box Clever operates under the belief that anything can be successfully designed. 

April 19, 2022

Minal Bopaiah

Minal is an author, speaker, and strategic consultant with more than 20 years of professional experience. As the Founder and Principal Consultant of Brevity & Wit, Minal is passionate about designing for equity. Her work includes working with NPR’s news managers to design a system for diversifying news sources. She is also the creator and facilitator for the DEI Executive Forum, a six-month cohort learning experience for general managers in public media that helps them become more equitable leaders and develop a strategic plan to accomplish their DEI goals. 

 

April 5, 2022

Steven Heller

Steven is graphic designer, art director, design critic and author. He has held the position of senior art director at New York Times Book Review and is also a prolific writer, having authored and co-authored over 200 books about the history and practice of typography, illustration, graphic design, popular culture and propaganda. He also worked as an editor for the prestigious AIGA Journal of Graphic Design. He is the co-founder and co-chair of the MFA Designer as entrepreneur program at the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he lectures on the history of graphic design and teaches a writing class in SVA Design Writing, Research and Criticism. He also was co-director for ten years of SVA’s Modernism & Eclecticism: A History of American Graphic Design symposiums. In Fall 2022 his book, "Growing Up Underground: A Memoir Of Counterculture New York" will be published by PA Press.

 

March 22, 2022

Matt Mullenweg

Matt Mullenweg is the founding developer of WordPress, the Open Source software used by over 40% of the web. WordPress is a part of who Matt is; he can’t not work on WordPress. The company celebrated 15 years in 2018. The project touches a lot of people, something he’s recently begun to appreciate, and he considers himself very lucky to be able to work on something he loves so much. Join us for a discussion about working remote vs distributed work, music, distractions, and augmented reality. 

 

March 8, 2022

Brandi Parker

Brandi Parker is Head of Sustainability at Pearlfisher. In her role, Brandi challenges Pearlfisher's designers to think about the end game at the start, and encourages their clients not to problem-solve based on ease, but on brand experience and environmental impact. She is revered by both for offering innovation and problem-solving, grounded in practicality, which comes from her many years of experience and expertise in technical realization.She firmly believes that the future of sustainable design does not just come down to materials—and managing waste—but implementing realistic and incremental change through a multi-disciplinary approach. 

 

February 22, 2022

Maurice Cherry

Maurice is a designer, strategist and podcaster located in Atlanta, GA. He is principal and creative director at Lunch, an award-winning multidisciplinary studio he created that helps creative brands craft messages and tell stories for their targeted audiences, including fostering relationships with underrepresented communities. Maurice is also a pioneering digital creator who is most well-known for Revision Path, an award-winning podcast which is the first podcast to be added to the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

 

February 8, 2022

Pek Pongpaet

Pek Pongpaet is the founder of Impekable, a digital product studio that helps enterprise and B2B SaaS companies create better products through user experience design. Impekable has designed and created products for X, Alphabet’s moonshot factory, Adobe, Twilio, Pentair, two startups acquired by Palo Alto Networks. Impekable has been recognized as one of America’s fastest growing businesses on the Inc. 5000 list 3 times in a row. Prior to Impekable, Pek designed and developed next generation user interfaces at Accenture Technology Labs’ HCI group, and created interactive experiences for clients including Tesla and USAF at digital agency Roundarch Isobar.

 

January 25, 2022

Cheryl Heller

Cheryl Heller is a leader, designer, scholar, business strategist and an author. Her experience spans corporate, philanthropic, nonprofit, and academic worlds, and in each role and organization, she has created and grown groundbreaking programs. She founded two companies and created successful new programs at the School of Visual Arts in New York and Arizona State University. She has taught creativity to leaders around the world, helped grow clients’ businesses from small regional enterprises to multi-billion global market leaders, launched category-redefining divisions and products, reinvigorated cultures, and designed strategies for hundreds of successful entrepreneurs.  

 

January 11, 2022

Gail Anderson

Gail Anderson is an NYC-based designer, educator, scholar, and writer. She has taught at SVA for 30 years and has co-authored 15 books on design, typography, and illustration with Steven Heller. She is an AIGA Medalist and the 2018 recipient of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Lifetime Achievement Award for Design. Her work is represented in the Library of Congress’s permanent collections, the Milton Glaser Design Archives, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

 

December 14, 2021

Terry Irwin

Terry Irwin is a professor in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University and the Director of its Transition Design Institute. From 2009 until 2019, she was the Head of the School of Design, where she led the faculty in a redesign of curricula at the undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels to place design for society and the environment at the heart of all programs. In this episode of the AIGA Design Adjacent, Bennie Johnson talks with Terry about wicked problems, shifting our mindsets, waking up the knowledge we already have, and tango. 

 

November 30, 2021

Isaiah Steinfeld

Isaiah Steinfeld is Entrepreneur and Founder Fellow, On Deck. He is a proven startup veteran and innovation leader with the unique ability to deeply empathize with the user/customer while creating a big product vision. In the entrepreneurial space, he focuses on innovation capability that helps identify, develop, and invest in new future-focused opportunities. In this episode of AIGA Design Adjacent, Bennie Johnson talks with Isaiah about entrepreneurship, mentorship, and the future of design. 

November 16, 2021

W. David Hubbard

W. David Hubbard is Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Verizon. He leads Verizon's Consumer Marketing and Products and Growth and Revenue legal team which provides support for Verizon's portfolio of consumer businesses including Verizon Wireless, Verizon Telecom, Verizon Consumer Markets, and Visible. David is the Chair of Verizon's Public Policy, Legal, and Security Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council and also oversees Verizon's Legal Internship Program. In this episode of AIGA Design Adjacent, host Bennie Johnson talks with David about not only the creative field but his path and why creativity was instrumental in his career and offers listeners an opportunity to hear how legal and marketing can work together.

November 2, 2021

Dominic Grijalva

Dominic Grijalva is a designer who primarily works on marketing and advertising projects that call for eye-catching imagery. His passions also lie in branding and identity design, as well as digital media projects that range from large scale such as digitally projected sets for theatre and live events to gifs and animations. Although California bred, he is currently living in Washington Heights, Manhattan and serves as Product Manager for TeeRico by Lin-Manuel Miranda. In this episode of AIGA Design Adjacent, host Bennie Johnson talks with Dominic about finding creativity in a pandemic year, being a Hamilton fan, and Broadway. 

October 19, 2021 | 50 minutes

Abby Allen

Abby Allen is the Founder of Neon Butterfly and as long as Abby can remember she has been fascinated with people and why they do what they do. In that vein she was drawn to the world of communications and has worked in advertising and marketing for over 20 years at some of the largest agencies across the country on brands like Twitter, Olay and Garnier. And just recently, she launched a new reimagine tomorrow project with Disney, reimaginetomorrow.disney.com/, a platform amplifying underrepresented voices. In this episode of AIGA Design Adjacent, host Bennie Johnson talks with Abby about the strategy of design, the beauty of storytelling, and what it means to be authentic.