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.