Interviews with designers and design leaders from around the world. Recliner Designer covers the stories, passions, hacks, and careers of designers, researchers, and creative entrepreneurs. The podcast is a personal project and hosted by Lance Shields, a Design Director at Adobe.
Payal Arora on Researching and Designing with the Global South
For episode 22 of the podcast, I was joined by my Adobe colleague Laura Herman, a user researcher for some of our mobile and emerging products in the creative space. As Laura and I are big fans of her work, we were excited to speak to Payal Arora, researcher, author, professor, and speaker. Her well-known book 'The Next Billion Users - Digital Life Beyond the West' has been described as, "A ‘must-read’ for anyone interested in digital uses around the world.” We were interested in asking her thoughts on how western companies like our own can more effectively research and design products that truly benefit 'Global South' (i.e. developing countries like India, Brazil, and African to name a few.) Payal's thoughts on how we can co-design with local influencers, how western designers need to be passionate about creating inclusive products, and how truly radical products aren't always the most novel, were truly inspiring.
Forbes named Payal the “next billion champion” and “the right kind of person to reform tech.” She has given more than 200 talks in 109 cities in 59 countries and a TEDx talk on the future of the internet. She is the co-founder of FemLab.Co, a global future of work initiative Payal is a professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
More about Payal Arora:
TedX talk: "Who is in charge of the future of the internet?"
Jaime Levy on Keeping UX Strategy Relevant
I had a great time speaking with the author, university professor, and UX strategist Jaime Levy. Her best-selling book UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want gets top results for UX on Amazon and has just come out in its second edition. I was excited to hear about her career and how she approached the second edition of her book. We had a fun walk down memory lane hearing about her upbringing in LA where she was exposed to the entertainment industry. While she initially wanted to become a filmmaker, like many creatives in the 90s she turned to digital media and eventually the all-new internet and launched a career in interface design, animation, information architecture, and eventually UX strategy. Working as a UX strategist while teaching courses at USC, she used her 30 years of consulting and academic experiences to write UX Strategy. She currently lives in Berlin, conducts workshops worldwide, consults, and is discovering the joy of hanging out in the middle of the day instead of constantly working.
Philip Golub Shares His Design Journey and Starting His Own Design Podcast
In this 20th episode, I talk with Phillip Golub, VP, Digital Product Experience and Innovation at Symphony Talent, based in Washington, DC. He shares about his 25-year journey as an information architect, designer, and design leader at a number of companies including his own agency he started in college, Isobar, Amex, Sapient, and now Symphony Talent where he heads up UX. Phil also shares about his creative podcast What Bubbles Up, which he started up during the pandemic with his friend Barry Fiske. I also have to ask my son to stop singing during the podcast.
Phil Golub is an experienced creative leader, design thinker, and transformation strategy expert, with over 25 years in Experience Design, Digital Product Innovation, Service Design, and Cognitive Experiences. Phil is currently the VP, Digital Product Experience and Innovation at Symphony Talent. Previously, he was the Head of Experience for the South Region at Publicis Sapient, leading both teams and clients in the creation of transformational digital experiences for the world’s foremost brands. Most importantly, he is a devoted husband and father to his wife, two kids, and a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier.
Musical credit: Poddington Bear
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