Bennie F. Johnson is the executive director of AIGA, the professional organization for design.
For our 375th episode, I had the opportunity to sit down with Bennie F. Johnson, the new executive director of AIGA, the professional organization for design. As the first Black executive director in AIGA’s 100+ year history, Bennie is taking on a huge responsibility. When I asked him how he felt about this, he gave me two words: “boldly hopeful!”
Bennie talked about what attracted him to this role, and how he’s managed to grow into it during this tumultuous year. We also discussed a number of other topics, including AIGA and today’s modern designer, diversity and inclusion, as well as some of this year’s recent public exits from members. Bennie is working hard on building (and rebuilding) AIGA, and I’m glad we are having this conversation on Revision Path!
Forest Young is the global principal and head of design at Wolff Olins, and let me tell you…he’s a busy, busy guy. Whether he’s serving as a design critic at Yale University (his alma mater) or or overseeing award-winning design projects, Forest brings a high level of observation and specificity to his work.
We start off talking about one of Wolff Olins’ recent award-winning campaigns Dotdot, and that spurred a discussion about the ethics of bleeding edge future design, and even access to meaningful design criticism through education. One thing Forest says is that dream projects are never in the wrappers you expect them to be, and I totally agree with that. If you’re looking for a really deep conversation with someone at the top of their design game, then you’ll enjoy this week’s interview!
It’s not an understatement to say that Eddie Opara is one of the most well-known multifaceted Black designers today. As a partner for Pentagram, his work spans a number of media — web, print, packaging, UI, installations, environments…you name it. It’s really a privilege and an honor to speak with him not just about what he’s done and his creative process, but about him as a person as well.
We spend some time talking about how he works with his team and with clients, and from there we go into Eddie’s early life and career between London and NYC. We also included a few questions from our patrons, and Eddie gives some sage advice for the next generation of designers. It’s a pretty wide-ranging interview, and I’m so glad Eddie was able to share his story and his thoughts with us!