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Design Matters: 2018 Season Kickoff and The Best of 2017

Written by Tina Essmaker

February 21, 2018


As part of the Masters in Branding program curriculum, Debbie Millman’s Design Matters podcast invites industry-leading graphic designers, change agents, artists, writers, and educators into the Branding Studio for interviews conducted and recorded live in front of our students, followed by a Q&A session, in which students can ask the guests questions. Here, we announce a handful of guests for the new 2018 season and revisit some of our favorite moments from 2017!


2018 Season Kickoff

The 14th year of Design Matters has begun! A few highlights of our new season of guests include: 


David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and best-selling author who specializes in economics and taxes. He has written for ReutersUSA TodayNew York Daily News, and others, including pieces on how the law turns income tax from a burden into a source of riches for many corporations and some individuals, including Donald Trump. Listen to the episode.


Kaki King, guitarist and composer known for her percussive and jazz-tinged melodies. Called a “genre unto herself” by Rolling Stone, Kaki has collaborated with the Foo Fighters, scored movies, and produced a diverse array of albums over the course of her career, which has spanned more than a decade. Listen to the episode.


Steven Pinker, the Canadian-born American cognitive psychologist, linguist, and popular science author. A professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, Pinker is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind. 


Thelma Golden, the Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem where she began her career in 1987 before joining the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1988. After a decade at the Whitney, she returned to the Studio Museum in 2000 as Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs, and was named Director and Chief Curator in 2005. 


David Korins, an award-winning production designer who runs a multidisciplinary design and experience firm that specializes in creating spectacularly detailed, 360-degree worlds for theater, film, and TV, including the hit Broadway play, Hamilton


David Spergel, a theoretical astrophysicist and Princeton University professor known for his work on the WMAP (Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe) mission. A MacArthur Fellow, he is a member of the NASA Advisory Council, chair of the Space Studies Board, and leading development of the WFIRST (Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope), a multibillion-dollar space mission planned for launch in the mid-2020s.


Edwin Schlossberg, a designer, author, and artist who specializes in designing interactive, participatory experiences, beginning in 1977 with the first hands-on learning environment in the U.S. for the Brooklyn Children's Museum.


The Best of 2017

“The work is where you hide. The work has always been the shield. I'm not self conscious in the work…That’s always been the thing from childhood, where I could be free and somewhat myself-ish…The work was always a place where I could be bigger than I am, or braver than I am.” 


Designer and artist Mike Mills has worked in a lot of different media. He’s designed album covers for the Beastie Boys, produced commercials for Nike, and made everything from skateboards to scarves. His artwork is collected by museums, and his feature films include the Oscar-nominated 20th Century Women. Listen to the episode.


 “You go through a transformation that when you start you’re in one state of mind, when you finish it, something else happened.” 


The artist Marina Abramowi? has said she only learns from things she doesn’t like. Over her nearly 50 year career she has chased after her fears, testing the limits of her mind, and body. Her work challenge audiences with uncomfortable and illuminating experiences, and she has fundamentally changed the way the world sees and understands performance art. Listen to the episode.


 “I learned, not only how much bigger the world was than my little group of friends, but there were people that were going to make things that I would never be able to make, and I welcomed that.”


Thomas Kail is the director of the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton. He got his start in New York when he was hired by Allen Hubby, the owner of The Drama Book Shop, which had a 50-seat performance space in the basement. He spoke about his early productions, how he met Lin-Manuel Miranda, and who wrote the music and lyrics for Hamilton. Listen to the episode.


 “There are a lot of no’s. I'll often send 10 sketches, and none of them will go. My batting average is like a pitcher's. It's not a great batting average.”


Celebrated cover artist Barry Blitt has contributed more than 100 covers and countless illustrations to The New Yorker. He is a master of political satire, and is fully engaged in the Trump era, portraying devastating characters of the people in power. Barry's work has also appeared in many other publications and periodicals, including Vanity Fair and The New York Times. You can experience the full range of his work in his magnificent new book simply titled Blitt. Listen to the episode.  


 “More and more we turn to the partner to give us that sense of meaning, that sense of belonging, that sense of resilience. Those huge existential components of our life, never was one person responsible for those kind of things. This is what has fundamentally altered modern romance.”


A psychotherapist known for her clinical work with intercultural and interfaith couples, Esther Perel has turned her attention to relationships and sex. In 2007, she wrote the book, Mating in Captivity Unlocking Erotic Intelligence. In 2013, she did a TED Talk, "The Secret to Desire in a Long Term Relationship," which has been viewed more than 10 million times. Her new book, The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, is out now. Listen to the episode.



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And remember, we can talk about making a difference, we can make a difference, or we can do both.

The curriculum for The Masters in Branding Program allows students to create frameworks to guide brand, design and business development, critically evaluate brand, business, marketing and design strategies and Master the intellectual link between leadership and creativity. Learn more...


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