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Fascinating direction: We have an innovative program at Google called Artists and Machine Intelligence, which brings together fine artists, architects, musicians and engineers to collaborate and push the boundaries of domain experts influencing machine learning. More automated works that relate to this type of collaboration—films such as Oscar Sharp and Ross Goodwin’s sci-fi short “Sunspring” and pop music written by machines, like the song “Daddy’s Car”—represent an interesting experiment in creating culture through the collection of semisubjective data.

Mind-blowing design: I love the smart-fabric design that’s happening. The biometric work being done out of the MIT Media Lab—such as bioLogic, a synthetic skin that reacts to body heat and sweat—is an interesting take on dynamic responses to biometric needs. And the intelligence that is moving into the consumer realm, such as Google’s Project Jacquard, exemplifies how apparel companies will introduce much smarter garments in the near future.

Must-read: Well, it’s not a book—it’s a podcast. The Design of Business | The Business of Design, hosted by Jessica Helfand and Michael Bierut, is a must-listen. It’s the conversation that should be a book!

One to watch: For the last couple of years, I’ve been closely following everything that director Chris Milk has been doing. He’s the cofounder of virtual reality (VR) technology company Within and its sister production company, Here Be Dragons, and they’re using technology to define VR as a new medium for experiential storytelling. If you haven’t seen his work, check out the interactive video “The Wilderness Downtown,” the crowd-sourced music video “The Johnny Cash Project” and the interactive installation The Treachery of Sanctuary. He’s brilliantly redefining the meaning of narrative experience.

Delightful design: Anything and everything designed by Paula Scher. You’ll grin with envy and joy when you watch her episode on Netflix’s documentary series Abstract: The Art of Design.

End-of-day reward: An ice-cold Hamm’s beer on my patio, of course. “You can take the boy out of the country …”

Emerging talent: Cassie Byrnes, a relatively recent grad, has started a textile-based lifestyle label called Variety Hour. The colors and patterns are so beautiful that I want to buy everything!

Studio mainstay: Colored paper. I draw on it, fold it up, cut it and photograph objects on top of it. It’s so versatile! Paper is also great for creating mockups of publications, signage, packaging—you name it. Never underestimate the power of mocking up things with paper!

Smile-inducing work: Design with a great idea at the core will always tip me over, even if the execution isn’t perfect. I’m also a sucker for anything super colorful and large scale, and I have been swooning over the graphic and environmental work that Valencia, Spain–based studio Masquespacio has been doing.

Splurges: Hardware, software and, occasionally, I’ll add avocado to my burrito if I’m feeling especially reckless with finances.

Creative fuel: If it’s illustration heavy, which a lot of our projects are, we look through children’s books, old sportsman field guides, South American and Mexican art, vintage matchbooks, cigarette papers, and, always, old beer cans.

Helpful software: Bench Accounting has really streamlined our bookkeeping process and made it easier to keep track of how we’re doing with profitability. Harvest has also helped us be aware of how we’re tracking on projects with respect to budgets and timelines. And Gusto has made payroll and human resources much easier. None of these things are creative, but what I do is creative, and the more time I spent on all of these tasks took away from creating.

Favorite analog tool: When we have the time, linoleum cuts. They never get old to me. The character and imperfections that come out of every print are always satisfying. There’s something about taking forever on a piece of art and finally finishing it that feels really good.

Following: The studios Spassky Fischer (Paris), Vrints-Kolsteren (Antwerp) and Querida (Barcelona) and the designer Ward Heirwegh (Antwerp). I love how they use clean typography to create eye-catching work that feels very refreshing.

Required reading: Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book, Vol. I of V, by artist Shubigi Rao—a beautiful book designed by Benson Chong and Felix Sng, young designers in Singapore. Design by wangzhihong.com: A Selection of Book Designs 2001–2016—I am a great fan of Wang Zhi-Hong’s work; he is an awesome graphic designer from Taiwan who specializes in books. The Gourmand is one of my favorite magazines. I also love the online magazine Sight Unseen; fashion brand COS’s magazine; and Bedford Press’s Civic City Cahier book series, which is just all type—simple and beautiful! Of course, you can’t miss out on Brand Guide: Singapore Edition. We are planning a new edition soon.


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