Ep. 74: Aaron Draplin

Graphic designer Aaron Draplin was born in Michigan and raised on LEGO bricks, pizza nights, punk rock & snowboarding. He spent early adulthood rolling with the “crusty undercurrent of fuckheads” that lives to snowboard before he ventured to Minneapolis to study design amongst the ghosts of his musical heroes. He’s seen some high-falutin’ stuff at the museum, but the steelyard is where it’s at. He’s all about working hard, making a shit whack of money, taking care of his people, and having some fun along the way.

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Ep. 73: Clever Extra - Flip the Switch on Your Home Lighting

In this Clever Extra, we talk to Phil Prestigomo, Director of Industrial Design for Legrand, for an illuminating discussion on the subject of lighting. It’s been a while since we’ve given much thought to the trusty old light switch. Phil enlightens us with the research he’s been conducting on how we use lighting today, and how we can easily switch it up to integrate modern, customizable solutions to fit every need. He’s full of bright ideas! Sorry (not sorry) for all the puns - we couldn’t help ourselves!

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Ep. 72: Cory Grosser

Industrial designer Cory Grosser grew up quintessentially all-American, lettering in football and winning trophies for his Halloween costumes. He studied architecture, but realized most buildings are built by “old” men, decided he was too impatient and shifted to product design. After years of pushing himself too hard, he is learning to find balance. Now he runs a holistic design studio, focuses on being a good dad, and teaches his students to unlock their creative potential, not strive for perfection.

What is your earliest memory?

Carrying skis across a snowy mountain at age 4.

How do you feel about democratic design?

For me, design is a discipline not a thing. The discipline of design can be applied to objects and experiences that are accessible to everyone as well as exclusive for a limited few. If done well and with intention both can be great.

 Cory and his brother Shane in their elaborate Pirate Ship Halloween costume

Cory and his brother Shane in their elaborate Pirate Ship Halloween costume

 Milk + cookies Halloween costume in the 1980s

Milk + cookies Halloween costume in the 1980s

 Cory in 1985 and 1993

Cory in 1985 and 1993

What’s the best advice that you’ve ever gotten?

“The life of a designer is a life of fight against the ugliness” - Massimo Vignelli

How do you record your ideas?

Often in my head…..to the dismay of my team.

 BuzziMood for Buzzispace

BuzziMood for Buzzispace

What’s your current favorite tool or material to work with?

As a designer, my best asset is my eyes. I like to see the world and use my eyes to create things that are well composed, balanced and fluid. I like all tools equally. My favorite materials are color, light and space.

What book is on your nightstand?

The NASA Graphic Standards Manual.  We ordered it recently for the studio, it’s amazing.

Why is authenticity in design important?

Because designing new things requires research and development. If we stop supporting original design, we won’t be able to support the development of new technologies, new materials and the advancement of visual culture.

 Turtle Turtle (and Cory’s daughter)

Turtle Turtle (and Cory’s daughter)

Favorite restaurant in your city?

Redbird, DTLA

What might we find on your desk right now?

It’s clean for the first time…….ever.  

Who do you look up to and why?

My grandfather, because he taught me to see the world and use my hands to help shape it.

 Supplyframe Treehouses

Supplyframe Treehouses


What’s your favorite project that you’ve done and why?

Probably the Supplyframe Headquarters. We had an incredible client who trusted our vision, and a truly holistic project that allowed us to leverage every design discipline we practice in the studio-- architecture, interior design, furniture design, graphics and strategy. We we selected everything from the plants on the patio to the glassware.

What are the last five songs you listened to?

Tilted by Christine and the Queens
Breezeblocks by Alt J
God’s Plan by Drake
Day I Die by The National
The Great Beyond by REM


Follow Cory Grosser + Associates at corygrosser.com and follow his projects on Instagram and Twitter.


Clever is produced by 2VDE Media. Thanks to Jennie Josephson for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of
El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to
Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 71: Clever Extra - Originality in the Age of Social Media

After our last episode with Madeline Weinrib we had a lot more to say. This mini-episode is an extension of our usual Amy & Jaime post-interview debrief and a venture into the murky waters of social media. It’s also an invitation to you, our listeners, to engage with us in the grander dialogue about what it means to be a creative in the modern world. This conversation is just a starting point, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Ep. 70: Madeline Weinrib

Textile designer Madeline Weinrib wasn’t a very good student until an art teacher recognized and supported her talent. After a successful stint as a fine artist, she transitioned to textiles. Known for her painterly sensibility, her textiles quickly became sought after and she cultivated collaborative relationships with artisans around the world. Unfortunately, a victim of knock-offs, her designs were stolen and copied so pervasively that her business of 20 years became unsustainable. Heartbreaking, but her next chapter is full of potential.

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Ep. 69: Dan Brunn

Architect Dan Brunn was born in Tel Aviv and moved to Los Angeles at age 7. The architectural contrast between the two cities made a deep impression and informed his life’s direction. Despite a language barrier, he made friends though the universal language of drawing cars and sharing new, exotic snacks. A guidance counselor once tried to convince him that he wouldn’t amount to anything. He’s proved that wrong by 1000%. Now, when he’s not staring down a mountain lion, he’s choreographing exquisite spaces.

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Ep. 68: Kate Duncan

Woodworker and furniture designer Kate Duncan grew up feeling like a square peg in a family of pragmatic accountants. She indulged in sewing lessons and endured charm school until she found woodshop class and fit right in. After years as a shop teacher, a motorcycle accident catalyzed the launch of her namesake brand. Shortly thereafter she also founded Address, an annual exhibit of designer / makers in her hometown of Vancouver, which dovetails nicely with another one of her talents: throwing a good party.

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Ep. 67: Orlando Soria

Interior designer & social media influencer Orlando Soria grew up in a tiny community in Yosemite National Park with a view of the falls from his bedroom window. Despite the majestic scenery, his head was buried in magazines, dreaming of city life. Always creative, he meandered through school, PR, and PA jobs before landing a role on a TV show, starting a blog, and building up his social media following. He’s been through some ups and downs, but now he’s got a new book out and a bright outlook.

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Ep. 66: Lawrence Azerrad

Graphic designer Lawrence Azerrad, a native of Los Angeles, grew up drawing pictures and fighting the inferiority complex that comes with being a “normal” in the city of stars. Since then he’s designed iconic album covers like Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, won a Grammy for the Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition box set, and authored & designed a book, Supersonic, about the fabulous style of Concorde. Turns out having his head in the clouds, playing amongst the stars, is right where he belongs.

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Ep. 65: Drew Seskunas

Architect and founding partner of experimental design studio The Principals, Drew Seskunas grew up surfing, getting arrested for skateboarding and navigating the social divide between jocks and artists. In high school, a documentary on Frank Lloyd Wright piqued his interest and set him on course to architecture school. Within a decade, he was building a large public project in Berlin while struggling to argue in German. Now, he’s creating interactive and mind-bending environments that shift perspectives.

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