Jarrett Fuller

Welcome to Scratching the Surface, the brand new design podcast interested in the intersection of criticism and practice hosted by Jarrett Fuller. Released weekly, each episode will feature conversations with designers, writers, critics, educators and people who do a combination of these. We’ll talk about the role of design criticism, the state of design writing, and try to figure out new ways to talk about graphic design.
Abbott Miller is a designer, writer, and a partner at Pentagram where he leads a team designing identities, exhibitions, and books. Before Pentagram, Abbott ran a studio, Design Writing Research, with Ellen Lupton and wrote for publications like Eye, Print, and I.D. A monograph of his design and writing, called Design and Content, was published in 2014. In this conversation, Abbott and I talk about where his interest in critical theory came from and how he’s worked to incorporate it into his design work, using writing to find new ways into design, and how his various interests have come together ...
In the second episode of my miniseries interviewing my professors and advisors from MICA, I talk to my writing professor, Abraham Burickson. In addition to teaching writing at MICA, Abe is also an architect, poet, and performance artist who runs Odyssey Works, a performance group that creates durational performances for audiences of one. In this conversation, Abe and I talk about his background the relationship between design, writing, and performance, design fictions, and creating experiences.
Adam Michaels and Shannon Harvey are the principals of Inventory Form and Content, a Los Angeles-based design and editorial studio focusing on graphic design, spatial design, strategy, and content development. They also operate Inventory Press, a publishing imprint that specializes in books on art, architecture, design, and music. Previously, Adam and Shannon were a part of the New York design studio Project Projects, where Adam was Founding Principal. In this episode, Adam and Shannon talk with Jarrett about the ethos behind IN-FO.com, expanded practices, and publishing.
Adrian Shaughnessy is a designer, writer, and publisher. Along with Tony Brook, he co-founded Unit Editions, an independent publishing company that specializes in design books and monographs for people like Paula Scher and Herb Lubalin. He’s written for publications like Eye and Design Observer and his collected essays were published as a book, also called Scratching the Surface, in 2013. In this episode, Adrian and I talk about his transition from designing to writing, how the design discourse has changed over the course of his career, and the value of a strong design criticism.
Aggie Toppins is a graphic designer and educator whose work centers around active citizenship and intellectual pursuit. She’s currently teaches at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and maintains an independent studio practice publishing zines, collages, and a fun series called Critical Theory Cocktails. In this episode, Aggie and I talk about her introduction to critical theory and how she introduces challenging texts to her students, how her time at MICA inspired her to start teaching, and why it’s important to decolonize the design discourse.
Alexander Tochilovsky is a designer, curator, and educator. He’s currently the curator at the Herb Lubalin Study Center and an instructor at Cooper Union. He studied graphic design at Cooper Union and went to graduate school at Cranbrook. In this episode, Alexander and I talk about his background and how he got interested in design, the role of design history in his practice, and how we can do a better job of learning from and teaching history today.
In this week’s episode of Scratching the Surface, Jarrett talks with architecture critic Alexandra Lange. Alexandra is currently writing for Curbed and has previously written for publications like The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Dwell. In this conversation, we meet in a Brooklyn coffee shop to talk about how one becomes a critic, the role of criticism within the architecture profession, writing for an audience, and Alexandra’s own writing process.
Alice Twemlow is a design writer, critic, and educator. She was the co-founder and chair of SVA’s Design Criticism program in New York City and is now the Head of the Design Curating and Writing Program at the Design Academy Eindhoven. She also recently published the book, Sifting the Trash, which is a fascinating history of design criticism. In this episode, Alice and I talk about her interest in design and writing, the history of design criticism and how its evolved, and the collapsing borders between the various design disciplines.
Alissa Walker is the urbanism editor at Curbed where she writes about cities, infrastructure, transportation, and policy. Before that, she was the urbanism editor at Gizmodo and has written extensively about design, cities, and architecture for places like Design Observer, Dwell, Fast Company, the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times. In this episode, Alissa and I talk about the differences between writing about designed objects and writing about the city, the role of the critic, and how she writes about government, policy, and transportation through the lens of design.
Allison Arieff is the editorial director of Spur and a columnist for the New York Times where she writes about architecture, design, and cities. Before that, she was the editor-at-large for both Good and Sunset Magazines and was the editor-in-chief at Dwell. In this episode, Allison and Jarrett talk about how she wanted to be a writer since eighth grade, the expanding definition of design, and the relationship between design and policy.
Anab Jain is a designer, futurist, filmmaker and educator. As Co-founder and Director of Superflux, she hopes to realise the vision of the Studio as a new kind of design practice, responsive to the challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century. She also teaches at the University Applied Arts in Vienna and gave a TED Talk last year on design’s role in imagining new futures. In this episode, Anab and I talk about Superflux’s blend of client and speculative work, her background in filmmaking, and pushing up against disciplinary boundaries.

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