Interviews with designers during a pandemic. The Zoomed out, 7-days-in-the-same-sweatpants stories of designers around the world during Covid-19. This podcast was created and hosted by Lance Shields, Director of International Design at Adobe. This is a private project.
Tom Foley of Monotype on the World of Type Design
In this 19th episode, I talk with Tom Foley, Creative Type Director for Monotype, based in London. Tom reflects on his deep experience designing type in the past 10 years and how things have changed with the introduction of variable fonts, current type design tools, the technical side of modern type, the use of AI to create Chinese fonts, and how type designers share their fonts. Not having worked in the type industry myself, I was intrigued to hear about working at Monotype, the world's largest type foundry and creators of a vast 10,000 font library including Helvetica, Univers, and Frutiger as well as creating custom fonts for major brands. Tom also shares the role of custom fonts compared to open-source fonts and how having your own company font helps differentiate your brand.
Tom Foley is responsible for leading a team of type designers creating fonts for the Monotype Library and corporate brands. Words and letters are in Tom’s blood - his great-grandfather was from a family of stonemasons that specialized in letter carving, and his uncle was a sign painter. Tom spent seven years at type foundry Dalton Maag where he progressed from font developer to creative director, and worked to solve the typographical problems of some of the world’s well-known brands. He joined Monotype in July of 2018, and he continues to work on custom fonts and leading his team of type designers from the Monotype office in London.
About Tom Foley:
Matt Bennett Envisions a Marketplace for Local Trading to Help Communities Thrive During Covid
In this 18th episode, I talk with Matt Bennett, Founder & Creative Director at iid, a brand strategy & design agency headquartered in San Francisco. He is also a professor at Academy of Art University. Matt and I have known each other for more than two decades - first working together as art directors at an agency during the Dot-com bubble and many years later as business partners at iid for seven years.
Matt shared his pandemic experience as an independent agency owner, as a design school professor, and as a parent. He sees the Covid-19 and the economic downturn as an opportunity for young designers to come up with solutions to help people facing challenges. Matt also talked about an interesting product idea of highly local digital marketplaces that enable people to trade products and services to help local communities thrive. He feels that during the pandemic with local businesses shutting their doors large corporations like Amazon or Walmart just grow bigger at the expense of local businesses.
Matt leads design and creative teams at iid to develop digital brands, products, and businesses. He has over 20 years experience designing brands, apps and websites. He is originally from Melbourne, Australia and has lived in the U.S. for close to two decades. He has three sons and two dogs.
Matt's Linkedin Profileiid Website
ECD at Ogilvy Shanghai, Darren Crawforth, Says Advertising in China Has Changed Dramatically During the Pandemic
In this 17th episode, I talk with Darren Crawforth, Executive Creative Director at Ogilvy Shanghai. Darren shared his experience going back to the office in China. He talks about the different mindset in China compared to other parts of the world and the infrastructure in China set up to manage the Coronavirus. As creative leader at the largest international agency in China, he shares how his team worked during the pandemic and how he found their work sped up and became more focused. He also mentioned the downside of the always-on life at home leading to overwork at one stage. Now back to the office, he feels that large group meetings aren't as efficient as they were working during the lockdown.
Darren shares about the interesting changes in the ways brands are now doing ad campaigns in China to be more appropriate and relevant during Coronavirus. He also talks about the shift to doing advertising on e-commerce and live streaming in China. Specifically, he explains the very unique Chinese way the TMall site has become a powerful ecosystem for content, advertising, and shopping, where consumers spend much time than on Amazon in the U.S.
Darren Crawforth was born and raised in the East Midlands, UK. His work has taken him around the world including New York, Boston, LA, Beijing and Shanghai, where he currently calls home. He's helped to define and design some of the world’s largest global brands such as Korean Air, Volkswagen, Johnny Walker, Hennessy, Burberry, Intercontinental Hotel Group and TOMS Shoes. He's as crazy about boundary-pushing electronic music as he is about understanding the mysteries of pickle fermentation. He currently lives in Shanghai with his wife and 3 rescue dogs.
Darren's Linkedin ProfileDarrencrawforth.com
Esen Karol Shares About the Design Culture in Istanbul and Her Work Creating It
I had a very inspiring chat with graphic designer, educator, publisher, and event organizer Esen Karol, who is based in Istanbul, Turkey. Esen shared her personal journey of becoming a type and graphic designer - starting as a young girl in Istanbul, getting her masters on a Fullbright at Pratt and teaching at Istanbul Bilgi University. She said she wanted to become a designer to be a "mediator" to help people communicate.
I was intrigued to hear about the thriving local Istanbul design culture Esen has contributed to. In particular, I Ioved hearing about her starting "Jeff Talks", the name a parody of Ted Talks and inspired by a cheap IKEA chair she first used at the event. What started as a small design salon grew into an event in the hundreds. For Jeff Talks she began baking cakes (the favorite of each featured designer) and as the event grew she ended up making lots and lots of cakes (as documented in https://jeff-bakes.tumblr.com/) Esen also founded Manifold, a platform for designers to write about design and culture in Turkish. Manifold is a cultural criticism journal featuring hundreds of contributors aged 17 to 70.
Esen is a graphic designer based in Istanbul, who works on both digital and analog projects in her one-person studio. Her current work focuses on designing books for art exhibitions and cultural institutions. Her clients and collaborators have included Arter, Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, Mavi, Meşher, and SALT. From 2003–2012, she taught typography and publication design at Istanbul Bilgi University. She is a graduate of Mimar Sinan University, Istanbul and received her master’s degree in communications design from Pratt Institute, New York, where she was a Fulbright Fellow.
Esen's Linkedin ProfileManifold (TR)Jeff Talks (TR)Jeff Bake Cakes (EN)
Electrolux Chief Design Officer, Pernilla Johansson, Says Physical Distance is No Longer a Limitation
I was very fortunate to speak with Pernilla Johansson, Chief Design Officer at Electrolux, and based in Stockholm, Sweden. I enjoyed our very full discussion about her journey to becoming a design leader. She started her first job with Philips and it took her to 3 continents and 5 countries. Arriving in Singapore, and staying for 16 years, the leadership part of her journey began. She then joined Electrolux in Singapore to build a design innovation center there. In 2014, she moved back to Stockholm, Sweden to head the global team for small appliances, after being away for 23 years. She advises designers to take the opportunity to live and work abroad to learn differences in people and realize real empathy.
In 2018, Pernilla took on the role of CDO, enabling designers to do a better job and work better together. As an interesting type of research to start this role, she asked 200 Electrolux designers from around the world to write her a “thank you letter” and date it a year and a half later. Pernilla asked them to give her a thank you for what they as a community had achieved together. She received 55,000 words and got to know everyone and all the teams. By doing this she turned the letters into five top topics globally and five from each region and set up the priorities for the organization, which she continues to measure their progress to becoming a better global design team.
On the topic of Coronavirus and what changes were made at Electrolux, she said within a week everyone took home their equipment and with help from IT, it didn’t take long before they were productive. It happened in waves, starting in Shanghai in end of January, then Singapore where they did half teams on-site, then Italy where they have a big R&D facility. By then they realized they needed to mobilize globally. They used Bluejeans and Miro to collaborate digitally. One of her multi-discipline project teams said that since Covid, they actually feel closer together during quarantine because they were all equal. They felt a tendency to lean in and help each other more since they felt less physical distance than they had before being separated by floors. She thinks it’s working surprisingly well.
Pernilla's Linkedin ProfileVimeo Video: "Pernilla Johansson – Electrolux new Head of Design"
Leandro Agro': Experimental Zoom Backgrounds, the New Office Space and Tech to Bring People Closer
Leandro Agro', Design Director at Design Group Italia, shares his thoughts on ways to create more engaging collaborative video calls. He attempts to bridge the physical and digital by bringing in objects and green screen elements to create "stages" to make each online workshop truly unique. When I asked him for advice to designers, he said we need alternative ways to be close to each other across distances, as traveling will be problematic for the foreseeable future. He thinks designers should help come up with ways to bring humanity together.
Leandro Agro is a design director and technology designer at Design Group Italia. He loves to create, nurture, grow, and scale design teams; and has done it a number of times, usually in a tech environment. He led the development of the very first smartphone UI (3G) and has contributed to patents for eye-tracking, mobile, and video. His dream is to design intelligent, transparent and human-centric tech because he thinks Star Trek is inevitable and we are here to build it.