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Ep. 97: Cognitive Neoruscientist Sahar Yousef

Cognitive neuroscientist Sahar Yousef grew up in the Bay Area, the daughter of Iranian immigrants. She became fascinated by human consciousness at a young age and she followed that curiosity to studies in philosophy, then all the way to a PhD in cognitive neuroscience. Now, she aims her brain toward helping leaders maximize their potential so they can do their best work, then go home to their families, and sleep! Here she shares what you need to know to accelerate your creativity and stop...


Ep. 96: Illustrator Abbey Lossing

Illustrator Abbey Lossing grew up in the midwest with drawing as a favorite pastime and influence from a grandmother who was a portrait painter. By high school, she was starting to take drawing seriously, and that led to focused college studies in illustration. Always feeling drawn to the freelance way of life, she set herself up for success by first paving the road with two years of corporate “real job” work before setting out on her own. Here, she shares how she gained her professional...


Ep. 95: Design Strategist Alain Sylvain

Strategy and design consultant, Alain Sylvain, was born and raised in New York City, the son of Haitian immigrants. His early creativity included playing in fake bands and starting a fake restaurant. After studying international affairs and business he embarked on a brief stint in political campaigns, but that morphed into advertising and he found himself embracing both his creativity and business acumen to help leverage the might of corporations for the greater good. Thanks to Adobe 99U...


Ep. 94: Gregg Buchbinder of Emeco

Gregg Buchbinder, Chairman of iconic furniture brand Emeco, grew up in southern California, on a “long leash” and with a constant longing to be surfing or sailing. That love of the ocean infused him with a very strong sense of sustainability as his driving purpose. The story of Emeco began long before Gregg—in 1944 with the 1006 Navy Chair—but their destinies have been intertwined for generations. They have been through hardship and tragedy together, and have arisen through miraculous...


Ep. 93: Designer Ana Monroe

Designer / public servant, Ana Monroe, grew up in the south to radio station-owning liberals who taught her to reject the status quo in favor of positive change. While she never did inherit her Panamanian-born mother’s wild, beautiful curls, she did pick up her wide-open ideas about beauty. After graciously rejecting the idea of law school, she embarked on a series of professional adventures that led to her current work as a human-centered design leader at a federal government think...


Ep. 92: Designer Humberto Campana

Internationally acclaimed designer Humberto Campana grew up in small-town Brazil and found imaginative freedom in crafts and the local movie theater. During his adolescence it was considered subversive, even dangerous, to become an artist so he decided law school was the best way to get to the big city. He eventually abandoned law in order to “construct his life with his own hands.” A near-death experience led to his first chair design and the formation of an enduring studio partnership with...


Ep. 91: Designer Amélie Lamont

Digital designer and writer Amélie Lamont is a native New Yorker and daughter of Jamaican immigrants. A self-proclaimed nerd, she grew up reading Encyclopedia Britannica and teaching herself to code. A life-long learner, she has pursued many different areas of study in school and hated them all, which is probably why her long-term vision for herself involves a PhD and starting a design school! As an outspoken advocate of PoC, she has initiated projects like People of Craft and The Guide to...


Ep. 90: Artist Daniel Arsham

Fine artist and designer, Daniel Arsham, grew up in Miami in the mirror image of the house across the street. After graduating from the Cooper Union, back in Miami he co-founded the artist-run gallery space ‘The House’. An invitation to collaborate with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company led to global adventures in stage design, and in 2007, in order to expand his explorations of spatial manipulation, he formed Snarkitecture, a multidisciplinary design practice with partner Alex...


Ep. 89: VP of Google Hardware Design Ivy Ross

Google’s Head of Hardware Design, Ivy Ross, learned from her industrial designer father how to see the world for how it’s made, and for the possibilities of how it could be remade. Early professional success as a jewelry designer taught her that life is not about ego hits, it’s about the journey. Fueled by curiosity, she’s traveled through the corporate world as a way to keep learning. She approaches work like conducting an orchestra - drawing out the best in individuals to create beautiful...


Ep. 88: Industrial Designer Carl Gustav Magnusson

Industrial designer Carl Gustav Magnusson, was born in Sweden and grew up on a farm in Canada. Early life was informed by wide open spaces and a natural curiosity about cars and industrial farm equipment. After engineering and architecture degrees he got straight to work with Charles and Ray Eames, and then logged 30+ years with Knoll. He’s spent his life dedicated to contributing to society’s needs in a thoughtful way. Along the route, he’s worked with the greats, and birthed many iconic...


Ep. 87: Costume Concept Artist Gina DeDomenico Flanagan

Costume concept artist Gina DeDomenico Flanagan spent the first half of her childhood roller skating around a cul-de-sac and the second half riding a horse around Hawaii. She studied fashion and illustration and then found her way into the entertainment business working with costume designers. After a 10-year motherhood hiatus and a divorce, she re-entered the industry and found that everything had gone digital. Through tears and hard work she learned the new tools and now she helps outfit...


Ep. 86: Designer of Joy Ingrid Fetell Lee

Designer, researcher and author Ingrid Fetell Lee spent her childhood traveling back and forth between divorced parents, indulging her curiosity during unstructured time, and losing herself in books and her journal. Her professional path routed her through creative writing, market research and industrial design on the way to dedicating her life to the study of joy, and helping people understand the very profound effects our surroundings have on our well-being. It’s powerful and...


Ep. 85: Clever Extra - Voices of Impact in the Design Ecosystem

In this special Clever Extra, taped live at a Be Original Americas event in Los Angeles, we conducted 6 lightning round interviews with leaders in different areas of design and architecture. Our central question of the night: How is original design and authentic voices important to the growth and ecosystem of your industry? Our guests included Gegg Buchbinder, Elena Manferdini, Bret Englander, Amanda Dameron and Barbara Bouza. Have a listen and join the conversation with us on social...


Ep. 84: Streetwear Designer Bobby Hundreds

Streetwear designer Bobby Hundreds grew up as a minority of a minority, being both Korean-American and into the socal skate punk scene. He loved to draw, but as the son of immigrants, he was not encouraged to pursue the arts so he got a law degree instead. When he started The Hundreds with a classmate, it took off like a rocket and he learned to fight like both an underdog and a champion. With the soul of a storyteller, he uses his voice—zines, blog, film, book—to champion the streetwear...


Ep. 83: Experience Designer Kristy Tillman

Experience designer Kristy Tillman was a very studious child, extremely driven academically. Always on the advanced track, she assumed she would one day be a lawyer like Clair Huxtable. Coding and art were background passions until a friend made her aware of design as a profession and she immediately redirected them to the foreground. Having recognized the need and summoned the courage to “invite herself to the table,” she is now Head of Global Experience Design at Slack. Still on the...


Ep. 82: David Schwarz of HUSH Studios

Experience designer David Schwarz grew up “seeking weird things to explore, make and build.” Fast forward to adulthood and he’s still at it. As co-founder of Hush Studios he spends his brain power and energy blending architectural space and digital technology to create installations and experiences that people can inhabit, learn from, play in, and feel things inside of. He arrived via detours in economics and the San Francisco tech boom. It’s not a straight line, or clean story but it’s a...


Ep. 81: Zoë Pawlak

Artist and designer Zoë Pawlak knew in childhood that life in suburbia wasn’t the whole picture, so she saved her babysitting money to spend some time in Chile with relatives. The experience opened the door to fine art and after studying painting in high school and college, a pregnancy dictated she must put her skills to work professionally. Successful in her painting, she is now making a name as a rug designer also. With 2 ½ years of sobriety going for her she is joyful and fully present....


Ep. 80: Pablo Pardo

Lighting designer Pablo Pardo was born in Venezuela 3 minutes after his identical twin brother, making him the youngest of 5. His father’s work as a civil engineer took them to Chile until age 7, and then to Ohio. Making remote control airplanes in Dad’s workshop revved up his curiosity and he followed it directly into industrial design. (So did his twin and a sister, that’s 3 in one family!) After some time in both automotive and toy design he found his love of light and he’s been glowing...


Ep. 79: Grace Bonney

Design*Sponge founder Grace Bonney grew up knowing she wasn’t straight but not knowing what to do with that. Her love of Riot Grrrl music and angry collages informed her creative identity and after studying art and journalism in college, it all melted together in the creation of Design*Sponge. After 15 years and a lot of success, she’s just announced that she plans to shutter this year and she’s sending it out in a blaze of experimentation and celebration. We can’t wait to see what’s...


Ep. 78: Victor Lytvinenko of Raleigh Denim Workshop

Jeansmith and co-founder of Raleigh Denim Workshop, Victor Lytvinenko, was born with tons of energy and curiosity. As he grew it led to playing soccer, building small engines, and digging deep into whatever was capturing his attention - woodworking, cooking, wine-making... until he found a sewing machine and became obsessed with making the perfect pair of jeans. Together with his now-wife Sarah Yarborough, they perfected the pants and went on to build a brand deeply committed to...