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Design Notes

Author: Liam Spradlin

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Design Notes is a podcast about creative work and what it teaches us, hosted by Google's Liam Spradlin. Each episode we talk with people from unique creative fields to discover what inspires and unites us in our practice. Find episodes on your favorite platform: pod.link/designnotes
54 Episodes
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This season begins with a special series celebrating ten years since the launch of Material Design, which will explore the inception, evolution, and future of Google’s design approach. The first episode features the founder of Material Design and Design VP Matías Duarte, whose work on the system has pushed design forward at Google and across devices everywhere. In their conversation, Liam and Matías unpack how interfaces are made, used, and understood—and identify opportunities to move them further into the future via a highly crafted, individualized design approach. 👉 Read a full transcript 📻 Subscribe to Design Notes
Liam speaks with Googlers Connie Shi, a software engineer on Material Design, and Matvei Malkov, a software engineer on Jetpack Compose, and the trio unpack what makes coding a creative practice, and which creative choices are required when you build a design system for other developers around the world. The wide-ranging conversation turns from complex problem solving and technical logic to the concept of creativity as the question-provoking quality of a thought. 📝 Read a full transcript 📻 Subscribe to Design Notes
Liam and Google Fonts Specialist Dave Crossland explore what digital type can teach us about digital production, emotional expression, and where we fit in the world as designers; and how – with a little imagination – we might unlock new possibilities. 📑 Read a full transcript 📻 Subscribe to Design Notes
In this episode, Liam speaks with Judith Donath, the founder of MIT’s Sociable Media Lab, inventor of e-cards, and author of The Social Machine: Designs for Living Online. Donath’s work offers crucial insights into the sociality of digital products and platforms, and the opportunities we have as digital producers to make things that truly meet sociable ends. In the episode, Donath unpacks some of this work, exploring potential futures for life online and the joy of learning (and sharing) something new. 📑 Read a full transcript 📻 Subscribe to Design Notes
Liam speaks with Aline Borges, a Zürich-based floral designer who’s made the leap from fashion coordination for magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar to independent floral design and installations. The conversation covers what it’s like to move between different creative fields (and countries), how to think about composition to tackle almost any creative challenge, and the courage and community it takes to start on a new venture. 📑 Read a full transcript 📻 Subscribe to Design Notes
In this episode, we revisit a conversation from Season 1 with new media artist Harvey Moon, recorded in his San Francisco studio. Liam and Harvey discuss how Moon’s work reveals unseen properties of the world around us, the process of creating one’s own creative tools, and the kind of art that’s only made possible through collaboration with machines. The conversation expands on ideas about the way the world around us is designed and redesigned, and where that places us as designers. Read the full transcript: https://www.iamli.am/design-notes-podcast/harvey-moon-new-media-artist  Subscribe to Design Notes: 👉Google Podcasts 👉iTunes 👉Spotify 👉Pocket Casts 👉RSS
Liam speaks with streetscape and public space designer Ignacio Ciocchini, who’s created much of the public furniture that New Yorkers encounter every single day – from benches that provide personal space, to entire built landscapes for Bryant Park, to chargers for electric vehicles and more. The conversation ranges from the materiality of the built environment, to the ways in which it expands, constrains, and informs our experiences of life and socialization in a city, with a look toward the more human-focused future that Ciocchini envisions. Read the full transcript: https://www.iamli.am/design-notes-podcast/ignacio-ciocchini-nyc-public-furniture Subscribe to Design Notes: 👉Google Podcasts 👉iTunes 👉Spotify 👉Pocket Casts 👉RSS
In this episode, we revisit a conversation from Season 1 with Kerry Murphy, co-founder of digital fashion house The Fabricant. We uncover how data are spun into virtual threads, and how virtual embodiment can foster self-actualization. In designing couture that doesn’t—or can’t—exist in physical space, The Fabricant also explores ideas of embodiment and self-actualization. Murphy pushes these concepts even further, by interacting with his own “virtual twin,” composed from 3D-scans of his body. Read the full transcript: https://www.iamli.am/design-notes-podcast/kerry-murphy-founder-the-fabricant  Subscribe to Design Notes: 👉Google Podcasts 👉iTunes 👉Spotify 👉Pocket Casts 👉RSS
Liam speaks to Tom Boellstorff, Anthropologist and UCI Professor, whose ethnographic work in Second Life (documented in his book, Coming of Age in Second Life) provides important insights into how virtual space – and our interface with it – informs and interacts with our lives in actual space. In virtual worlds like Second Life, inhabitants exist only through their own acts of creation, which also serve as a primary mode of experiencing life in virtual space. Full transcript + images: https://www.iamli.am/design-notes-podcast/tom-boellstorff-virtual-anthropology    Subscribe to Design Notes: 👉Google Podcasts 👉iTunes 👉Spotify 👉Pocket Casts 👉RSS
It's been a while, but Design Notes is coming back for Season 2 uncovering even more of what inspires and unites us in our work. Make sure to subscribe so you don't miss new interviews with practitioners working on public furniture, the culture of virtual space, and more. Follow @DesignNotespod on Twitter for updates!   Subscribe to Design Notes  👉Google Podcasts 👉iTunes 👉Spotify 👉Pocket Casts 👉RSS
In this episode, part of San Francisco Design Week's Digital Edition, Liam speaks with Julian Zigerli, a designer in Zürich, Switzerland creating clothing that allows everyone to decide how what they wear expresses who they are. In the interview, Zigerli describes how the rich culture of Switzerland impacts his work, what it means when someone asks for "straight" clothes, and how his creative practice adapted in a time of pandemic. Content warning: In this episode, the word "queer" is used in a reclaimed manner.   Find out more about SF Design Week at sfdesignweek.com   Subscribe to Design Notes  👉Google Podcasts 👉iTunes 👉Spotify 👉Pocket Casts 👉RSS
This episode is part of a special series of three interviews, recorded remotely with the winners of the 2020 Material Design Awards, exploring what goes into creating an award-winning app. Moooi, winning the award for Material Theming, focuses on aesthetic fundamentals like type, color, and imagery to create an immersive and expressive experience for their digital flagship. In the interview, Liam is joined by Margot Gabel and Rémy Barthez taking an in-depth look at how Moooi implemented an award-winning themed experience. 👉 PDF Transcript   Subscribe to Design Notes  👉Google Podcasts 👉iTunes 👉Spotify 👉Pocket Casts 👉RSS
This episode is part of a special series of three interviews, recorded remotely with the winners of the 2020 Material Design Awards, exploring what goes into creating an award-winning app. KAYAK has taken their comprehensive price comparison and travel booking experience to the next level by translating their brand into a dark theme. In the interview, Liam learns from Aleksandra Safarova and Mike Scopino how building a dark theme revolutionized KAYAK's entire approach to color. 👉 PDF Transcript   Subscribe to Design Notes  👉Google Podcasts 👉iTunes 👉Spotify 👉Pocket Casts 👉RSS
This episode is part of a special series of three interviews, recorded remotely with the winners of the 2020 Material Design Awards, exploring what goes into creating an award-winning app. Epsy uses motion meaningfully, guiding users living with Epilepsy through critical tasks to better their quality of life. In the interview, Liam is joined by Jennifer Stott and Marco Peluso to break down Epsy's approach to designing - and prioritizing - motion. 👉 PDF Transcript   Subscribe to Design Notes  👉Google Podcasts 👉iTunes 👉Spotify 👉Pocket Casts 👉RSS
In this episode, Liam speaks with BJ Best, a poet who teaches computers to do what humans can’t in the name of art. His network of ArtyBots is part of a vibrant scene of robots creating, sharing, and collaborating with one another on virtual art. In the interview, Best describes the reflective opportunities and editorial impact created by a bot-created body of work numbering in the tens of thousands.   Subscribe to Design Notes  👉Google Podcasts 👉iTunes 👉Spotify 👉Pocket Casts 👉RSS
Design Notes is a show about creative work and what it teaches us. In this episode, Liam speaks with illustrator, editorial designer, and author Laurie Rosenwald about how she’s managed to cultivate an aesthetic—and a career—around “making mistakes on purpose.” Learn how chaos and collage can come together to reveal unexpected creative potential, and let Rosenwald help make sure you’re never alone with a blank page. Subscribe to Design Notes  👉Google Podcasts 👉iTunes 👉Spotify 👉Pocket Casts 👉RSS
In this episode, Liam speaks with Kerry Murphy, co-founder of digital fashion house The Fabricant, to learn how ones and zeros are spun, woven, and stitched into virtual couture. In designing couture that doesn’t—or can’t—exist in physical space, The Fabricant also explores ideas of embodiment and self-actualization. Murphy pushes these concepts even further, by interacting with his own “virtual twin,” composed from 3D-scans of his body.   Subscribe to Design Notes  👉Google Podcasts 👉iTunes 👉Spotify 👉Pocket Casts 👉RSS
Design Notes is a show about creative work and what it teaches us. For the first episode of 2020, Liam speaks with David Reinfurt, founder of O-R-G, half of Dexter Sinister, and author of A *New* Program for Graphic Design. Together they explore the fluid notions of personal, corporate, and graphic identity throughout Reinfurt’s career, the importance of learning through practice, and the relationship between design and art.   Subscribe to Design Notes  👉Google Podcasts 👉iTunes 👉Spotify 👉Pocket Casts 👉RSS
This episode is part of a special series of four interviews with the winners of this year’s Material Design Awards, exploring what goes into creating an award-winning app. Reflectly, a unique journaling app, won this year’s award for innovation by pushing the boundaries of Material Design and bringing it to life with fluid animations, a novel elevation model, and custom componentry. In the interview, cofounder Jacob Kristensen digs into the foundations of Reflectly and how its experience—from philosophy to specific interactions—came to life. Listen and subscribe to Design Notes  👉Google Podcasts 👉iTunes 👉Spotify 👉Pocket Casts 👉RSS
This episode is part of a special series of four interviews with the winners of this year’s Material Design Awards, exploring what goes into creating an award-winning app. Ruff is a focused note-taking app that won this year’s award for theming, building an expressive identity through the consistent application of color, typography, and shape. In the interview, Liam and developer/designer Bardi Golriz talk about what it’s like to add new features without losing focus, and how Material Theming impacts the process of developing an app. Listen and subscribe to Design Notes  👉Google Podcasts 👉iTunes 👉Spotify 👉Pocket Casts 👉RSS
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