Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Introducing Abby Covert

October 25th, 2011 by Katie Koch | 1 Comment | Filed in Design, Interviews

Carmen and I are both working full-time this fall and doing a bit of traveling to talk about Project: Interaction around the world. We’ve brought on a third teacher to lend a hand (and a brain!) in the classroom.

Please meet Abby Covert, who has been a tremendous help already in our first two classes. We’re looking forward to Abby teaching our next class on research while Carmen and I are off speaking in Hong Kong.

More about Abby on her website.

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How did you first learn about design?

October 7th, 2010 by Katie Koch | 4 Comments | Filed in Design, Inspirations, Interviews, Videos

We asked some of our favorite designers
How did you first learn about design? Was it a person who shared it with you, or another moment of inspiration?

They said:

“How can I come and do what you do?”

Matias Corea, Co-founder & Chief Designer at Behance

“I can really distinctly tell the difference between Garamond and Goudy.”

Ian Curry, Lead Interaction Designer at Local Projects

“I was already running for student council, just so I could make posters.”

Jessi Arrington, Co-founder, Creative Director at WORKSHOP

Rock and roll!

Russ Maschmeyer, SVA Student & Strange Native

“My father… insisted that the things in our household were well designed.”

Paul Pangaro, CTO and Founder at CyberneticLifestyles.com

“You can never really stay within the lines.”

Liz Danzico, Chair, MFA in Interaction Design

“It’s that moment [with Legos] when you build something not out of the instructions on the box.”

Carl Collins, Information Architect at Temboo

“It was take your daughter to work day, and I thought my own mom’s job was really boring…”

Katie Koch, Co-Founder & Designer, Project: Interaction

“Playing with the world around you, and reassembling it.”

Bill DeRouchey, Creative director at BankSimple

Inspired by a unique blend of Tufte and Bringhurst

Nick Disabato, Author, Cadence & Slang

“I knew I wanted to be a designer when I went to Pittsburgh”

Carmen Dukes, Co-Founder & Designer, Project: Interaction

Feeling inspired?

We have just a few days left to raise $2483. Share your story with us here and support Project: Interaction on Kickstarter!

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Try, Fail, Rinse, Repeat

September 29th, 2010 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Inspirations, Interviews, Videos

We interviewed Jordy Mont-Reynaud, entrepreneur and former youngest ever US chess master, circa 1994. Jordy talked to us about what he’s learned about the virtues of failure by playing (and losing) a lot of chess games. He told us how he defines success, and he gave great advice for young people who are just now discovering passion in their studies and work.

Project: Interaction Interviews Jordy Mont-Reynaud from Project: Interaction on Vimeo.

Jordy lives and works in San Francisco, CA, where he’s busy developing his latest adventure called Goal Mafia, a social game that helps people “execute” their goals. For more thoughts on the value of failing, check out his original post about failure on his blog.

We’re still going on Kickstarter! Only 14 days left to join our community.

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“Get things out of your head and into someone else’s.”

September 22nd, 2010 by Katie Koch | 2 Comments | Filed in Interviews, Videos

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jason Santa Maria a few weeks ago to get his thoughts on the topic of design education. I wanted to find out about his experiences taking on his latest role as a designer / educator / mentor, including how he defines what it means to be a teacher.

Project: Interaction Interviews Jason Santa Maria from Project: Interaction on Vimeo.

Hey friends! Only 21 days left for our Kickstarter Campaign! Our goal is to raise $7,500 for our students! Please support our program with a donation or spread the news to your networks! Thanks for your support!

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Project: Interaction Interviews Liz Danzico

July 13th, 2010 by Carmen Dukes | No Comments | Filed in Interviews, Videos

Last week, I had the pleasure to interview Liz Danzico, our chair of the MFA Interaction Design program at the School of Visual Arts. Liz and I talked about how designers can “teach” without being confined to the classroom, how designers and educators can work together, and her hope for design education in the future.

Project: Interaction Interviews Liz Danzico from Project: Interaction on Vimeo.

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How did you first discover design?

April 14th, 2010 by Katie Koch | 1 Comment | Filed in Discovery, Inspirations, Interviews, Research

Unless they grew up with a parent or relative who was a designer, most kids don’t know what the term “design” means. Every designer comes to a moment in his or her life where he realizes there’s a name for the all the things he’s interested in: design.

We offered the question, “How did you first discover design?” in an online survey to anyone who would answer. Here are some of the responses we received:

Through advertising. Where I went to school, no one ever exposed me to the idea of design as something you could do for a living. It was my understanding that the people who created the visual pieces that communicate to people were in advertising. Silly as it sounds, it wasn’t until the design community came to the internet that I discovered that graphic design was, in and of itself, as thing. From there, I came to realize the existence of a wide range of design disciplines, and finally to one that brought my various interests together.

I thought it was just designing logos and t-shirts in high school. I made a website senior year of college and I realized design could be all sorts of other things.

I studied fine arts in high school and college, and was regularly taught by my art teachers that fine arts was some kind of a higher calling than the more professional/vocational art disciplines: illustration, graphic design, industrial design, etc. I wanted to be a fine artist, showing my work in galleries. It wasn’t until a good ten years after graduation from college and working professionally as a game designer and interaction designer did I realize that I was, in fact, a designer.

On-the-job training, through trial and error. I never really received any formal design education, but I’ve had the good fortune to work with a few extremely talented designers over the years.

by playing LEGO

I dont really remember how i discovered design…i just like to draw. That got me into art classes, then it just spawned into type, and creating things, and then before i knew it i was already in.

I’m a writer first. Worked on a ‘zine with a friend of mine. A compilation of writing that we’d wanted to just put out there and give to our friends. 2nd issue of the zine, we’d wanted to make it look better by choosing fonts and drawing cartoons. It was then that I fell in love with what I didn’t know yet was typography. I didn’t know that graphic design was even a discipline and I could study something like typography, which was the gateway to graphic design.

It was early early on, I’m sure when my mother had us make our own crayons in order to draw. But I don’t remember being able to “call” it design until college when I was introduced to it formally.

I first discovered GOOD design as a freshman in college trying to impress my art student friends at Columbus College of Art and Design and Rhode Island Institute of Art that a small liberal arts college student could produce similar compositions. In the short term, I was largely mistaken by my capabilities. Granted, a lot of art students don’t know good design if it hit them repeatedly over the forehead, but the criticism and unwarranted snobbery pushed me into developing a more refined interest in design. I had known all the rules of composition, which had been in grained in my creative process, since my childhood art classes. However, suburban Cleveland is not a conducive environment for the creative type and a lot of exposure to design was from concert posters, which are riddled with inspiring illustrations but really poor typography. The truth is, I am embarrassed that I did not discover real design until I was 20 years old in my first typography course. I not only found good design, but fixable mount adhesive, or rubber cement, should not be left in the presence of the lead videographer at a small university because it is highly flammable and was used to set fire to my office floor. A fire extinguisher was used to put out the flames.

What about you? How did you first discover what “design” means?


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Teaching Philosophy – Interview with Jamie Nestor

March 18th, 2010 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Curriculum, Discovery, Inspirations, Interviews, Resources
Katie, Derek and Jamie

Katie, Derek and Jamie

Derek and I had a wonderful afternoon conversation at the City Bakery with Jamie Nestor, a graduate student at the esteemed Teachers College at Columbia University.

Overall, Jamie reiterated much of what we’ve heard from education professionals: get kids intrinsically motivated, reach them on an emotional and personal level, and keep it hands on to sustain their attention. Make sure to carefully plan the work and the group assignments, make the goals clear and be transparent about expectations.

It was great news for us to hear these concepts reemphasized through Jamie’s inspirational words, and beyond teaching method advice she also spoke about theory and philosophy when handling a class.

Teaching Philosophy, Meet Design

Jamie’s teaching philosophy revolves around two principles:

  1. Students should be the center of the learning
  2. Teachers need to be held accountable for what goes on in their classroom

The first principle particularly resonated with us. The idea that a student drives the decisions being made about a lesson plan is a direct translation of the user-centered design process we practice in our work. We were relieved to see a clear connection between what we know and what we’re trying to learn about teaching. Speaking of connections, Jamie told us about a teaching technique called “scaffolding,” in which an educator helps a student build upon existing knowledge to understand a more advanced concept. (We instantly thought of Jared Spool’s “brick” theory.)

The second principle is important for creating a community of learning within a school. If every teacher is held accountable it will produce a more dedicated teaching staff that is able to engage students through their enthusiasm and commitment to what is being taught.

Hopes & Fears of Prospective Teachers

Jamie asked us what fears we have as we prepare to teach students about design. I spoke first, sharing my fear that the kids won’t love design as much as we do as students and practitioners, and explained how that may be a difficult challenge for us to cope with. Jamie’s advice was clear: when she teaches, Jamie doesn’t expect that her students love the subject matter as much as she does (she used to teach Latin), but she does expect that they leave class with an appreciation and respect for it.

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Interview With Keith Frazier

March 5th, 2010 by Carmen Dukes | No Comments | Filed in Interviews

Keith Frazier

Keith Frazier,  currently manages a K -5 New York City test prep program at under performing schools.  While his program is specifically focused on helping students improve their math and literacy skills, we wanted to interview him to gain insight on working with NYC public schools.

Keith was really interested in how we position our programs to potential schools. He suggested partnering with  school PTAs to  get parents involved immediately, ultimately allowing them to become advocates for the program.

Researching current New York State Department of Education curriculum requirements was also one of his suggestions.  Even though our program is about design, he felt that if we can relate the specifics of our program to state required education guidelines,  it will help demonstrate the value of our program to administrators and others who may find the design concepts we want to teach abstract.

Ultimately, Keith told us to keep this in mind as we develop the program: Make the program relevant to all involved and people will be excited and interested in participating.


Inspiration over Tea – An Interview with Jerri Chou

February 24th, 2010 by Derek Chan | No Comments | Filed in Business, Discovery, Inspirations, Interviews, Resources

Last week, the team had a chance to meet with social innovator and co-founder of All Day Buffet, Jerri Chou, to talk about some of our thoughts on design education and what it means to be an entrepreneur.

Jerri Chou

Our afternoon meeting with Jerri, who has found enormous success with All Day Buffet, helped put some of our initial reservations to rest. She told us her story of the earlier challenges in starting All Day Buffet and how she eventually overcame them by working hard towards what she believes in and quite literally, just getting that idea out there. Of course, we know our plans are a lot different than starting an organization like All Day Buffet, but Jerri is a great example of someone who made it.

To me, she isn’t just a social innovator, but a design entrepreneur — a term we’re quite familiar with as a result of learning about entrepreneurial design in our class with Bek Hodgson. She had an idea and used creativity and design to bring it to life.

In addition to inspiration, Jerri provided us with a handful of resources of other people and organizations who have worked on similar projects as us. She also gave us suggestions on how to work with and learn from schools in the city.

Toward the end of the interview, one important question came up that we will need to address – do we want to focus on schools that are already more progressive, or schools that have not yet been exposed to the kind of education we are thinking of introducing? This thought is definitely something we will need to incorporate into our goal-setting and strategy.

We want to thank Jerri for a wonderful hour of insights and inspiration. And tea.

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Back to School – An Interview with Kari Kokka

February 19th, 2010 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Discovery, Interviews, Resources

Kari Kokka

Kari is a math teacher at Vanguard High School here in New York. When I first told her about our project she was super excited and eager to find out more.

When we told her about our plans, Kari confirmed that an after school program is one of the best ways to get access to interested students. Because it’s voluntary, the kids will be there because they want to be. Her school is pretty open to new and progressive courses, as evidenced by the well-received Capoeira class Kari recently led.

Since she’s been teaching for about nine years, Kari had plenty of good advice for sustaining kids’ enthusiasm during a class. She suggests that we plan, and since we are new to teaching, we should OVER plan. She says even if you think you have enough things to do, you’ll probably get there and realize you haven’t planned nearly enough activities.

Kari also suggested that we offer a field trip in addition to on-site curriculum. She thinks it would be valuable for kids to come and see what a real design studio looks like to get a better introduction to the discipline of design.

Most importantly, Kari recommended that we come visit a classroom. We’ve talked about visiting a class so we can do real observation of how kids participate and learn, and this will be a great opportunity for us to do that. Some of us are going to go to high school in a couple weeks and sit in on an art class, a robotics class and an advisory class, where we will be able to talk to some of the students and get a better idea of who our “user” is. I haven’t been in high school in many years so I can’t wait!!

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