By Helen Ip + Justin Carder
40,000,000,000,000 DPIMar 11, 2021
Fusion So Good
This week—we dodge the floating pharmaceutical logo lockup with medical spokesperson, lady gaga, we liquidate our savings buying virtual ice cream for Pinkydoll, we compare tactical battle strategies with I Can Talk Barbie, we stick our arms into tiny black suits to visit the puppet pet cemetery—AND we also might have talked about the glassdoor drama! Only one way (for us) to find out!
This week we wait for a flight in Meta’s shiny new Threads lounge, we are led by Gilbert the floating head through a very special video essay about the state of Graphic Design, we are led by an AI chat-panion we’re calling “Figgy” through Figma’s annual IRL conference, CONFIG, and we see what happens when you put an obscure piece of film history in the Magic Chef.
Check out some visual references and an episode breakdown at
Sanrio Cinematic Universe
This week, we take our rightful place as characters in the Sanrio Cinematic Universe, we embrace life on the grid at a digital nomad spreadsheet cafe, and we head to the abandoned SEARS in Second Life to try and buy a hat.
Its A**h*le Might be Its M**th
This week we go grocery shopping with AI Drake, we take a walking tour of every single place you’ve ever seen on AirBnB, we check on Dril as his native Twitter habitat collapses around him, and we join a larger-than-expected study group at LoFi Girl’s house.
AMMAAR RESHI'S CHATGPT INSTACART ORDER:
Jordan Pearson/Motherboard, "A Viral AI-Generated Drake Song by ‘Ghostwriter’ Has Millions of Listens":
Alex Murrell, "The Age of Average":
Nate Rogers/The Ringer, "Dril Is Everyone. More Specifically, He’s a Guy Named Paul.":
Lofi Girl | Know Your Meme: https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/lofi-girl
Special Announcement: Odd Pedagogy April 7th at Eternal Now!
Bay Area friends! Or people who are really into traveling! We're releasing a broadsheet poster/publication called: “Go Deep/What Your Favorite Photoshop Tool Says About You” and to help usher this poster into the world, we've asked a few friends to give short presentations/talks/performances/visuals on the theme of “Odd Pedagogy.” We will also introduce the publication, maybe show some strange educational movie montages, and DJ YNG GMA will play far out PBS-core tunes to round out the evening.
Suggested dress code is “NOVA/Ways of Seeing/Encarta97/BYOT(Bring your own turtleneck)"! We hope to see you there!
Reception at 6pm, program at 7pm, hanging out afterwards with DJ YNG GMA.
Friday, April 7th • 6-9pm Eternal Now, 2419 San Pablo Ave, Oakland
Mid-Pacific Funko Trash Island
This week, we travel to the mid-Pacific garbage island created by $30 Million worth of Funko Pops; we raise all kinds of wrenches in salute to Tradeswoman magazine; we contemplate Spotify's recent efforts to TikTok itself to death, and we sit down with America's hottest invasive species: Copi!
Follow us at
and check out:
Biblically Accurate Zazzle Designers in the Age of Streaming
Singularity as a Service
This week we walk down the CGI pathways of the uncanny valley where we meet real people trying to make people think they’re AI, we meet fake AI that other people are trying to make real people, we meet a very blue person stuck somewhere on Na’Vi way—and then we talk about mahjong!
We're @40000000000000dpi on Instagram—and, if you want rundowns of the big ideas from each episode, extended show notes and outtakes, and other bonus content, follow us on Substack at 40trilliondpi.substack.com!
Thanks for listening!
Wearable Erotic Tech in the Metaverse Goth Target
This week: we get into the erotic fiction compilation, Look Homeward Erotica and the history of marketing the lives of "real housewives;" we take trip into the surreal hellscape that is the Goth Target inside Horizon Worlds; and finally, we time travel back back back to the origins of FABRIC as clothing and as tool and technology! Thanks for joining us!
LINKS TO THINGS WE DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE
Caslon Kahle: Toy Catalogs, Sweaty Basements, and The Internet's Phone Book
This week we talk with Caslon Kahle a physical archivist, donation coordinator, musician, low-key wizard, and wanderer from the Internet Archive. The Internet Archive (archive.org) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format. Founded in 1996, the Internet Archive has an historical web collection (the Wayback Machine) of over 150 billion web pages, about 240,000 movies, over 500,000 audio items (including over 70,000 live concerts), over 1,800,000 texts, 1600 education items, and over 30,000 software items.
We talk with Caslon about garages full of toy catalogs, sweaty times avoiding the law in a New York Basement structurally supported by 45s, the internet’s phone book, and so much more.
For more info on the Internet Archive, visit: archive.org!
Rory King + Brenden Lovejoy: Let the Design Out!
On today’s show, we’re joined by designers-extraordinaires, Rory King and Brenden Lovejoy.
Rory is a multidisciplinary designer, art director, and writer based in New York City. He received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy Of Art, and has collaborated with artists, architects, curators, and musicians in addition to working with various agencies and companies such as 2×4, Sony Music Entertainment, Instrument, Look Studios, OnePlus, 321 Gallery, and Cranbrook Art Museum. He is currently a Principal Designer at Vox Media and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute.
Brenden is a monomaniacal hyper-collector of the weird / gross, designer toys, oddities, pop culture and most importantly, graffix. As a designer with a deep passion for YouTube fuckery and 90's sitcoms, you might find Brenden asleep on his lovingly recreated Rosanne afghan while the Will & Grace laugh track softly echoes around his pitch black room. You might also find him using the Illustrator pen tool under the watchful gaze of twenty five not-quite-right Garfield statues. He's a Libra and blue cheese addict—try him, bitch. ♡
We talk with Rory and Brenden about all the types of NUTZ, retina-bleeding accessibility panics, amateur aesthetics, and about why everyone should do anything besides talking about design.
Summer Recap: Cyclopean Fast Food, Negative-Freedom-Algorithm-Training, and (Artificial) Artificial Intelligent Rap-Fluencers
This week, we look wistfully back at the recently passing summer of cyclopean fast food, negative-freedom-algorithm-training, and artificial artificial intelligent rap-fluencers. Summer’s almost over! Let’s get into it!
Silas Munro on Strikethrough! Typographic Messages of Protest
Y'all! We are so excited and honored to have the opportunity to talk with Silas Munro (of Polymode) about the amazing exhibition, "Strikethrough", he co-curated at the Letterform Archive. Strikethrough features over 100 objects (including broadsides, buttons, signs, t-shirts, posters, and ephemera) by ACT UP, Amos Kennedy, Jr., Sister Corita Kent, Emory Douglas, Favianna Rodriguez, Guerrilla Girls, Jenny Holzer, W. E. B. Du Bois, and many many more.
Make sure to check out the show, get in on the rad special events they're doing, check out the custom site by Chris Hamamoto, Jon Sueda, and Minkyoung Kim—and pick up the amazing book!—if you can. Thank you to Silas Munro and to Stephen Coles from Letterform Archive for being open to having this conversation!
A few links to resources around protest and design (via Silas):
Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture: https://www.nypl.org/locations/schomburg
One Archives at the USC Libraries: https://one.usc.edu/
Lohman Center (NY): https://www.leslielohman.org/archive
National Museum of African American History & Culture (Smithsonian/DC): https://www.si.edu/museums/african-american-museum
Research / writings of Colette Gaiter: https://walkerart.org/magazine/authors/colette-gaiter (profile from the Walker)
Center for the Study of the Political Graphics: https://www.politicalgraphics.org/
This week we lose composure over the new Gmail compose button, we vigilante-creep on anono-racist hackers, and we share a newly redesigned six pack (or ten) with a very sweet Japanese businessman who seemed perfectly fine when we left him to catch his train home.
SF Art Book Fair Special!
SF Art Book Fair Edition
This week we take a trip to the SF Art Book Fair, a three-and-a-half day book party in a tent—and in the Minnesota St Project. The fair brought out like, hundreds of publishers? Basically it was overwhelming. In this episode we talk SF Art Book Fair, fairs in general, the riso-coil industrial complex, micro-capitalism—and we accost a small number of fair participants with an even smaller microphone in a very busy room.
Thanks to everyone we talked with at the fair:
Kaming and Shannon from Inventory Press, Mo and James from Fisk, Danielo from Open Projects Press, Josh from Fulcrum Press, Jemimah from Laguna Collective, Kate and Steph tabling for Gender Fail, Hallie from Mouth to Mouth, Mollie from Irrelevant Press, Sahra and Andrew, current students in the CCA MFA Design Program, Lena and Pete from Night Diver, Chris of Unrealized Archive, Alec from Endless Editions, Renee from Blum and Poe, and Luca and Heather from SFABF.
SF DESIGN WEEK: Panels, Light Snacks, Butterfly Zoos, and Confusing Parties
NEW EPISODE ALERT
This week we take a work vacation at SF Design Week—a five day series of events and gatherings put on by AIGA/SF. We went to a mixed bag of panels, “mixers,” Adobe shit, rooftop captive butterfly zen-office zoos, studio cheese tables, and a confusing party.
We have our own first merch! We got so excited about Acquaintance Cards (If you don’t know what an acquaintance card IS—check out our last episode) and we decided to make some of our own. Visit our website at designfreaks.cafe to order your own set of 12 limited edition acquaintance cards, and get really into the world of bespoke dating!
Surreal Muppet Generations and Primordial Dating Apps
In this week's episode, we jack into the surreal muppet matrix of AI generated image grids—and we take a lo-fi time-trip to the 19th century creation of the world’s first dating app, the acquaintance card. Thanks for listening!
Earth's Curse (w/special guest Helen Shewolfe Tseng)
What's up! This week, we're excited to be joined by our first ever guest designer/host, Helen Shewolfe Tseng! Helen is an artist, designer, and witch. Her art practice centers inquiry, obsession, and non-linear experience, often in conversation with the ancestral, diasporic, ecological, interspecies, speculative, and cosmic. You can find her work at helentseng.com.
We talk with Helen about ancient cursed stones, plagues of spiders, nine tailed fox spirits, youtube brain, cough drops' new look, and the sharing economy to luxury brand pipeline. It's a wild ride! Thanks so much to Helen Tseng for joining us and helping us navigate all this wild energy!
If you haven't already, visit our website at designfreaks.cafe! Ciao!
36 Days of Bimbo
Welcome to another episode of 40 Trillion DPI! This week, we warm the bench for the social design competition, 36 Days of Type, we dust off our tube tops for the arrival of peak bimbo, we get real at the same time every day for exactly two minutes with the new social app, BReal—and we summon the Sagmeister Tamogotchi from behind a rack of weird infographic Target clothes.
Thanks for listening!
Money is Colors
Help the people of Ukraine! Donate to our friend, Anna Sergeeva—a Ukraine-born artist living in NYC, who is sending $$$ for mutual aid projects organized by people in Ukraine. Anna is great and anything you send her way will go to a good place.
Find Anna at:
In other news: Web3 goons are attempting to monetize the very concept of color; Beeple has mounted a physical painted art show for some reason; we talk Ukraine and instant mythologies; and we watch the political poster rise from the design intent graveyard. What a ride!
As always THANK YOU so much for listening. Go to designfreaks.cafe for more episodes.
Helen + Justin
Trend Bender: 2022
What does 2022 hold for design? On today's episode, we take a look at trend forecasts from around the internet. Is the 90s revival going strong, or going away? Will the much-hyped Metaverse honestly have any impact on anything? How do designers and so-called amateur content creators affect one another's aesthetics? And, what exactly is "Frasurbane?" Plus! We try and make some predictions of our own.
Visit designfreaks.cafe for more episodes, and/or follow us on Instagram at @40000000000000dpi or Twitter at @40TrillionDPI.
Thanks for listening!
CCA Strike Primer with Ana Llorente
Episode 12: Decorative Jony Ive Plates, Mysterious Chrome Cubes, Fascist A.I., and the Uncanny Copy Valley
Hello! This week, we pay tribute to the majesty of nature with Jony Ive, we stare blankly into block.xyz’s liquid chrome abyss, we go through Spotify’s uncanny copy valley, and we track down Microsoft’s insta-fascist AI twitter bot, Tay. It's a such a journey! Thank you for joining us!
ALSO: The California College of the Arts union is in the midst of a labor dispute with management and potentially may go on strike very soon. If CCA employees do strike, it will be the first time this has happened at a private arts college since 2012. This is a really important action even if you’re not directly involved with this school.
Articles we reference or are related to this week's episode:
Microsoft's TAY AI Bot
EPISODE 11: Costco Influencers, Neopia in Flames, and Crypto-Mirrors
Hello friends! This week, we wander Costco with Chinese influencers flexing their institutional-size muffin hauls; we explore the strange, crumbling metaverse of Neopets; and we gaze deeply into the MLM/DAO, Mirror.xyz. It's a wild ride as usual! Thanks for listening!
Find us on instagram at:
Or on Twitter
Articles mentioned in this episode:
Episode 10 (Green): Bad Dad Art Energy and the TikTok Tabloid Myth Machine
Episode 10: (Pink/Green): This episode is actually two episodes! One is pink, one is green. Listen to one, listen to both.
Episode 10 (Green): We are made to experience bad dad art with Kanye, Drake and... Damien Hirst (for some reason!) and we follow Gabby Petito’s sad story into the strange world of the TikTok Tabloids. Thanks for listening! Visit designfreaks.cafe for more info!
Some of the articles we mention or reference in this episode https://www.are.na/claire-l-evans/corporate-memphis https://qz.com/quartzy/1728767/why-editorial-illustrations-look-so-similar-these-days/ https://www.protocol.com/workplace/why-is-tech-illustration-stuck-on-repeat-ask-the-overworked-underpaid-illustrators https://airbnb.design/your-face-here/ https://buck.co/work/facebook-alegria https://www.humaaans.com/ https://humanipo.app/id/mike.merrill https://humanipo.app/ https://www.wired.co.uk/article/corporate-memphis-design-tech https://ninachanel.com/murals-1 http://www.muzaesesay.com/ https://www.xoanaherrera.com/work https://www.are.na/s-k-y-e/small-cartoon-people-building-big-interfaces https://www.insider.com/gabby-petito-brian-laundrie-missing-found-true-crime-tiktok-2021-9 https://www.vice.com/en/article/pkb5j8/gabby-petito-internet-sleuth-investigation-tiktok-instagram-spotify
All our music is from freemusicarchive.org (the best!)
Regular Intro Lobo Loco “Last Thoughts”
Drum Intro Pika “Drum Solo”
Orchestral intro Bach Harpsichord Concerto D minor BWV 1052
Other Chad Crouch, Pilgrim’s Progress Water Features, Age Of Æschylus (Luxury Version) Ketsa, Motion Forward Bio Unit, Solitary Defrini, Obligatory Filler Track Defrini, Acid Grinder Axletree, The Hare in the Moon
Episode 10 (Pink): In Search of Corporate Memphis
Episode 10: (Pink/Green): This episode is actually two episodes! One is pink, one is green. Listen to one, listen to both.
Episode 10 (Pink): We follow small people into big interfaces trying to find the fabled location of Corporate Memphis. Thanks for listening! Visit designfreaks.cafe for more info!
Some of the articles we mention or reference in this episode
All our music is from freemusicarchive.org (the best!)
Lobo Loco “Last Thoughts”
Pika “Drum Solo”
Bach Harpsichord Concerto D minor BWV 1052
Chad Crouch, Pilgrim’s Progress
Water Features, Age Of Æschylus (Luxury Version)
Ketsa, Motion Forward
Bio Unit, Solitary
Defrini, Obligatory Filler Track
Defrini, Acid Grinder
Axletree, The Hare in the Moon
*Sound Bath Journey* with architects Amy Louie and Cooper Rogers of Waters Bathing Collective
SOUND BATH EDITION! This week's episode is so special. We are so excited to share it with y'all. A few weeks ago, we went out to Good Hot Sauna pop up and talked (and sweated) with architects Amy Louie and Cooper Rogers, the founders of Waters Bathing Collective. We had an amazing time roasting and talking with them about maintenance and accessibility and leisure and work. You can read an excerpt of our conversation here. After our interview, we sent them a couple of trippy questions, which turned into this relaxing sound bath journey. So, pour yourself a literal bath, plug in those headphones, and sink into this healing wilderness of steam!
Cooper and Amy were so warm and patient and generous and we are super thankful for the time they spent with us. Thank you two! Visit good-hot.com to reserve a spot in their bayside sauna pop up, and thewatersbc.com to learn more about their plans for an accessible, inclusive sauna in Oakland.
Supergraphics in the Suburbs, Wu-Tang Wannabes, and a Trip to a Very Beige Metaverse
Hello! On today's episode, we visit US Government websites in search of pharma-bro Martin Shkrelli's one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang IRL NFT, we think about how design can align or misalign incentives—and we somehow travel through the holes in the giant letters nailed on the side of a suburban house/barn into some kind of utopian/dystopian beige metaverse. It's kind of a Magic (design) School Bus situation. Also, it is a JOURNEY. Thanks for tuning in!
ARTICLES WE TALK ABOUT / REFERENCE
Sharing Accessibility, Dating App Cafés, Signed Copies of the Internet, and Lesbian Revenge!
We hope this podcast finds you well!
On today’s episode we talk about the sharing economy’s attempt to commodify accessibility, Tim Berners Lee selling out the world (wide web), the Lesbian Avengers re-avenging themselves against corporate greed, and we apply for barista positions at Bumble’s brick and mortar cafe. Wish. Us. Luck.
Shout out to Sarah Schulman, author of (most recently) Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993, for her article on design and protest: "When Protest Movements Became Brands" which we encourage you to check out here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/16/t-magazine/1980s-protest-movements.html
In this episode, we also give shout outs to some of our recent faves—including Zine Co-Op HK (@zine_coop on instagram) and the Scott Summers, cartographer-graphic designer of Sonoma's Mountain cemetery walking tour (https://sonomaoverlooktrail.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/2.jpg). Follow us on Instagram at @40000000000000dpi and visit our website at designfreaks.cafe for more episodes!
See you in a couple weeks! —Helen + Justin
Olivia Rodrigo’s Reverse Psychology, California's Vaccine Lottery, and Tripping Over the Cracks in Our Social Cement
Yes! What's up everyone! This week, we're looking at the history of the Parental Advisory sticker design (via Olivia Rodrigo's Sour), we're putting our names into the hat to win the California vaccine lottery, we're thinking about perverse incentives, and we're tripping out on how to create a better, more closely knit social reality. As usual, it's a whole thing! Thank you, thank you, thank you, as always for joining us!
Font Democracy NOW!
This week, Helen + Justin spend the entire 42 minutes trying to figure out what's going on with Microsoft's quest for a new default font. Along the way, we talk about obsolescence, the extreme skill of type foundries (respect!), the weirdness of corporate PR, and the totally un-neutral process of constructing various neutralities. It. Is. A. Journey. We hope you actively enjoy it (and are not just having it on as a sort of default noise)! Thanks for listening!
Helen's Balloon Trip to Kentucky, The Dangers of Over-Balancing, COVID-Cocoons
Prince Harry’s New Job, Anti-Asian Violence in Atlanta (and Beyond), Filling the Locks of Gun Stores with Glue So No One Can Get In, and California’s Mysterious Privacy Icon
In this week's episode—we are so exhausted! And so angry! We are really just contending with a lot of grief and injustice and fear and disappointment on, honestly—a massive scale. We talk about Prince Harry's new job (and the limits of privilege), Anti-Asian violence in Atlanta (and beyond), the soul-crushing process of "redesigning" "gun control"—and we dig into the mysteries of California's new privacy icon design. Thanks for hanging with us while we work through it all. We love you!
If you're wondering what you can do to support Asian communities experiencing racist violence, please donate to Stop AAPI Hate, and support their work: https://stopaapihate.org/
And take a look at this list that NY Mag put together of fundraisers you can donate to:
Amazon’s Problem Facial Hair, Roly-Poly Brain Surgeons, The Ministry of Influencers, + (ugggh) NFTs
In this episode, we talk about Amazon's ridiculous app icon redesign (and the redesign of the redesign); we try and figure out why NFTs—just... why; we imagine some jobs for micro surgeon-bugs on their days off (think, nano-cloud-defense/dot-matrix tattoo) and we talk about the goddamn city of Minneapolis trying to PAY social media influencers to spread city-approved messaging about the trial of Derek Chauvin. It's shady! In fact—all of this is shady this week! Except for the bug doctors. Maybe?
Exhausted Emojis, Internet Sex Ed, Water Bottle Semiotics and the Singularity
Welcome to the first episode of the 40,000,000,000,000 DPI podcast! We are so excited for you to join us! 40 Trillion DPI is a show about all the ways design manifests. It's about design both as a discipline and a cultural product. Each episode, Helen Ip and Justin Carder (two designers/weirdos/friends) get together to talk about the world through the lens of design. Thanks for hanging out with us! If you have any questions about anything, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website designfreaks.cafe. WE LOVE YOU!