The guest lineup offering such breakthroughs includes a long list of designers and artists creating today’s most compelling works. The secret to James and Drew’s curation, however, largely hinges on their own feelings about a guest’s work — they appreciate design that’s slightly left-handed. Essentially, they’re looking for other people who identify as black sheep, just like they did as college students. “We speak to people who are interested in imperfection, the limits of beauty and what design is really about,” says Drew. “I think because of that, the people we have on [the podcast] kept those feelings to themselves for a long time.
Such an approach also changes the way the pair prepares for an interview. They research like a journalist would, “but part of the process is sorting out our own assumptions about the person, or the thought process behind the work,” James describes. The audience then hears that discussion live, as the pair “share a lot of those assumptions, or operate on a lot of those assumptions, and let the guest prove or disprove those assumptions.” Of course, the visual aspects are just as important — “aesthetically, if you look through the guests, there’s a reflection of our tastes,” says James — but those details are rarely discussed on the podcast. Instead, the interviews focus on why work is created much more than necessarily how. “There’s not much you can write about people sitting at their computer moving pixels and making it compelling,” James continues.
This style of interview centers around the recurring questions asked by James and Drew. Asked tactfully, these can range from simply “How has your attitude towards design been lately? » » or « Could you tell us about the last experience that marked you psychologically or emotionally in your career as a designer? The result often leads to meandering and deeply personal revelations.
For example, mirroring the language of a therapist in an episode with designer Noah Baker, Drew begins by asking what Noah would like to discuss about how he feels today, which leads to a conversation about freelancing and use. Other episodes explore the effect creating and sharing work can have on the individual, from a conversation with Erik Carter about being present while being critical on social platforms, to discussing Eric’s feelings. Hu in regards to the youth-focused design industry, and James thoughtfully asking the designer, “What was the pressure in something simple like turning 30?” A very sensitive but deeply necessary conversation is also taking place between James, Drew and Studio Yukiko co-founder Michelle Phillips. A thoughtful example of how Graphic Support Group hosts put their guests at ease, this conversation about balancing team relationships as a founding partner develops into Michelle openly sharing her mentally balanced experience of the studio after she and her co-partner Johannes Conrad had their first child.
. How two friends disrupt discussions on design podcast