Educated Guess :: A Liberal Arts School for the Future
By Educated Guess
Conceived in 2018 as a "liberal arts school for everyday people", Educated Guess garnered attention initially through this public lecture series. Serving over 45,000 humans across 18 countries, the series (archived in 2022) covers topics of personal growth, design practice, and art history. These lectures have been consumed virtually and collectively–resulting in collaborations with Adidas, School, Research + Development, Soho House, A Ma Maniere, SVA, ADF, et al.
Educated Guess :: A Liberal Arts School for the FutureFeb 08, 2019
Leaning Into the Mundane (ft. Lütjens Padmanabhan) | Ep. 221
Lütjens Padmanabhan Architekten was established by Oliver Lütjens and Thomas Padmanabhan in 2007. The recent work of the practice focuses on housing in the residential districts surrounding the cities of Zürich, Basel and Munich.
Despite their love for a more refined, urbane architecture, Oliver Lütjens and Thomas Padmanabhan have light-heartedly embraced the fact that most of their commissions are set in the mundane anonymity of suburbia. Their interest in complex architectural expression has distanced the practice from the craft-oriented mainstream of Swiss architecture.
The current projects explore the impossible task of reconciling the autonomy of the exterior facade with the typological uncertainty of interior spaces and loose urban contexts.
After teaching assignments at ETH Zürich and TU Munich Oliver Lütjens and Thomas Padmanabhan are currently teaching as guest professors at EPF Lausanne.
A New Model for Design Studios (ft. UnderConsideration, LLC.) | Ep. 220
Established in 2007, UnderConsideration is a graphic design firm generating their own projects, initiatives, and content while taking on limited client work.
Since 2002, they have been publishing content online, starting with the design blog Speak Up, that ran through 2009 and was one of the most active, entertaining, and well-regarded blogs, even earning a spot in the Cooper-Hewitt’s National Design Triennial in 2006 — the only blog included in the exhibition.
Their most popular blog, Brand New, was launched in 2006 and has grown to be the leading site for opinions on logo and identity redesigns with a readership of over 1.25 million page views a month and, like its predecessor, it was also the only blog included in Graphic Design: Now in Production, co-organized by the Walker Art Center and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Active blogs in their network include Art of the Menu, FPO (For Print Only), and Quipsologies.
When the Message is Beyond the Medium (ft. Robert Newman) | Ep. 219
Robert Newman is a painter, director, and designer. After graduating from Morehouse College in 2014, Robert moved to Harlem to continue both his career as an artist and his career on Wall Street (Morgan Stanley and Neuberger Berman).
His work has been featured in galleries, events, and museums across the city of New York and internationally. In addition to producing his own shows, he has also worked with a number of global organizations to advance the arts. Some of the organizations include, but aren't limited to:
- Verizon Media
- The Museum at Fit
- Big Brothers and Big Sisters of NYC
- Broadway Advocacy Coalition
- Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art
- And More
How to Re-contextualize Your Upbringing (ft. Curry Hackett) | Ep. 218
Curry Hackett is a transdisciplinary designer, public artist, and educator. His practice, Wayside Studio is formerly based in Washington, DC, and currently operates out of Knoxville, TN collaborates with communities and organizations to engage matters pertaining to culture, infrastructure, ecology, and the public realm.
Noteworthy work includes the Howard Theatre Walk of Fame, the DC High Water Mark system, the DC Clean Rivers Project, and his ongoing research project Drylongso, which explores the relationship between Blackness, food, plants, and land.
He has lectured at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Carleton University, Howard University, Fashion Institute of Technology, and Maryland College Institute of Art.
Currently, Hackett is an adjunct architecture professor at University of Tennessee after spending several years teaching at his alma mater, Howard University, Yale, and Carleton Universities in Spring 2021 in partnership with the anti-racist design justice school, Dark Matter University.
All We Have are 5 Seconds | Ep. 217
Why aren't we able to be decisive? How come it takes us such a long time to mull over critical decisions? And, why do we choose to procrastinate in hopes of receiving some grand revelation in the future? In this episode, we uncover a critical rule of thumb that will help you overcome guilt, decision fatigue, and low self-esteem.
How to Make & Keep Promises in Your Creative Life | Ep. 216
Commitment is not a decision--it is a lifestyle adjustment. If you were to look back at your life for the past 10 years, then you'd probably find that your only regrets seem to come in scenarios when you weren't able to keep a promise to yourself. Why is it that we have such a difficult time keeping our own promises? Why are pledges different than commitments? And, why can every creative problem related to a life problem?
A Conversation with No-Plans (ft. Daniel Baer) | Ep. 215
Born and raised in Switzerland, Daniel Baer is a partner at the design studio No Plans. Fascinated by design through code since the MySpace era, Daniel has worked in digital design for over 15 years.
In 2014, Daniel co-founded No Plans alongside Daniel Pianetti—with Andrew McCarthy joining as a third partner in 2018. Together, the dynamic trio creates websites that are original and useful for some of the world’s biggest clients. Some of their clients include Givenchy, Bodega, Fantastic Man, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Tom Dixon, Sotheby’s, and Christie’s.
For over an hour, we speak with Daniel about a variety of topics, including, but not limited to:
- How to get client buy-in when proposing new ideas
- How to fill the pipeline with potential clients
- How to make corporate processes work for small studios
- How the Denim Tears project came together
- Why it’s important to sharpen the intellectual diet
- How the filtering system was created for the Chen Chen + Kai Williams project
The Delusion of Passion | Ep. 214
Most people believe that passions are the impetus for everything we are now. We determine our success as an artist by how closely aligned to our "passions" we seem to be. Yet, why is it that when we feel aligned, we still are still desiring something more?
In this lecture, we'll cover the delusions of following one's passion.
How to Create a World for Others (ft. Bodega Ltd.) | Ep. 213
Bodega Ltd. is a multi-disciplinary creative studio. Creating worlds through integrated strategy + communications, creative direction + branding, interior design, and product development is what they do.
Some of the topics covered in this episode include, but aren’t limited to:
- Dealing with the intersection of art and melancholy
- How to capture the soul within a building
- How to delegate, schedule, and "manage" day-to-day studio activities
- Why great art and design studios always cut against the grain of common practice
You can find out more about Bodega's body of work and story at http://www.bodegaltd.com/
How to Use Your Pain for Good | Ep. 212
How often do you spend time thinking of ways to avoid pain you've felt in the past? Maybe it was a deal that fell through. Maybe it was a partnership that didn't work out. Or maybe your self-belief has run its course.
This lecture is dedicated to artists who feel trapped by their own thoughts.
30 Minutes to Change Your Life | Ep. 211
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How to Find Joy in Learning (ft. John Maeda) | Ep. 210
John Maeda has a long list of accomplishments that are in some way related to design. Some of these accomplishments include serving as President of Rhode Island School of Design, board member at Sonos and W+K, and teaching at MIT for over a decade. Yet, perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this conversation is the equanimity John seems to find in the midst of living a "creative life".
Some of the topics covered in this episode include, but aren’t limited to:
- Art's imperfect relationship with the public
- John's childhood in Seattle
- Advice he received about what makes a great art school student
- One of the most important lessons he learned from Patrick Henry Winston
You can find out more about John's body of work and story at https://maedastudio.com/
Where Will You Be in 5 Years? | Ep. 209
Skills v. Attributes | Ep. 208
Dreams, Realities, and In-Betweens (ft. Andy Pressman) | Ep. 207
Andy Pressman is currently a resident of Portland, Oregon. And, according to his Instagram, he is very clearly NOT an Art Director. Yet, I think you might find it interesting that he is the former head/founder of the design studio Rumors. While running the studio, they had the joy of taking on clients like Sci-Arc, Microsoft, Clif Bar, and more. Andy is now a Creative Director at Upstatement and just so happens to run an incredibly insightful Twitter page.
Some of the topics covered in this episode include, but aren’t limited to:
- The realities of starting, running, and closing a design practice
- Finding a through-line from time as a Cooper Union Student to now
- Selling to clients without doing work for spec
- Reflecting on the dreams and realities of running a New York design studio
You can find out more about Andy’s body of work and story at twitter.com/andypressman
Introducing the "Learning to Live" Lecture Series | Ep. 206
All summer long, we're bringing you the brightest minds in design, philosophy, and life. The bedrock of Educated Guess is the eternal pursuit of an integrated life--where life and art become one. So, this summer is dedicated to this exact aspiration. This episode gives more background on the purpose of the lecture series and what you stand to gain from sticking with us throughout the summer.
One more thing, we've partnered with multidisciplinary design studio Bodega, LTD (based in Minneapolis, MN). to bring you exclusive access to their new trend & philosophy experience--Salonnière. If you're a small business owner, creative director, or even freelancer, then you'll for sure love what they're bringing to the table.
Unlike other research tools, Salonnière brings you the exact methods, frameworks, and insights Bodega has used for clients like Nike, HighSnobiety, and Business of Fashion. The same insights that marketing directors pay lump sums for are being brought to you for a fraction of the price.
How to Free Yourself from the Game | Ep. 204
Most multidisciplinary artists tend to feel like they are fighting a losing battle as time goes on. Too often, we find ourselves in a victim mentality as if the "market" or the "boss" isn't responding to our true desires. This lecture is about the nature of those desires and how the market forces have stayed the same for centuries.
Like Making T-Shirts from Wood (ft. James "RONG" Williams III) | Ep. 203
James is a Virginia-bred, self-taught multidisciplinary artist based in Atlanta. Over the years, Williams has operated within multiple disciplines but is currently focused on strengthening his studio furniture and sculpture practice.
Before honing in on his current practice, Williams explored multiple fields including garment construction, activation design, and art direction. He prides himself on intentionally resisting a linear curriculum, in many ways, this has aided him in developing a unique approach to his work.
Williams’ work explores the intersections of identity, space, and emotional health. Ultimately, he strives to produce works that serve as communal sites for inner and collective dialogue that encourage abstract thinking, expression, and liberation.
How to Learn from Things You Hate | Ep. 202
Imagine working for years on "finding your style" only to realize that your life and work have essentially become their own echo chamber. Maybe you find yourself looking at a ton of work, but you tend to gravitate towards the same types of artists and references to study.
The good news is that curation and focus is an important part of the puzzle. Yet, there's much to be said on the topic of consuming things we don't care for at all.
How to Recognize Your Season of Life | Ep. 201
Most people know that life comes in phases. Whether you consider yourself an artist or not, the truth remains that the energy of our formative years and the wisdom latter years demand very different things of us.
In this lecture, we spend time to outline a very specific and tactical method of thinking through your current life circumstances--for better or for worse.
A Return to the Future (ft. Arlander Taylor) | Ep. 200
In celebration of our 200th episode, we've invited one of our friends who has been here since our humble beginnings 3 years ago. Arlander is the founder of Wakuu Works and TMINEC, and currently serves as an art director at SLC boutique Fice Gallery and streetwear publishing house Casual Fridays. For over an hour, we share stories and reminisce on the foundations which might inform our futures.
From Water to Water | Ep. 199
Most people understand the interconnected nature between spirit and art. This is a large reason for the term zeitgeist (or spirit of the times).
Yet, if you're anything like me, then you at times get anxious when the spirit of your work is moving and evolving much faster than your physical existence. Said another way—you've already made a decision to step into your purpose, but time and money just have not caught up yet. The good news is that we have a few words for you if you're constantly finding yourself feeling like you're swimming upstream.
How to Avoid Copying the Work You Love | Ep. 198
If you've ever found yourself being terrified by your blank canvas, then you're not alone. Beginning from nothing is tough. Naturally, you often return to your sources of inspiration so that you can find a point of departure. However, if it becomes too noticeable who you're pulling from, then you're equally crippled with new anxiety.
Navigating the boundaries between inspiration and plagiarism are quite difficult. The good news, however, is that there are some specific ways to overcome this feeling ultimately helping you:
- Study your craft more effectively
- Understand exactly what you are pulling from in terms of inspiration
- Capture the framework that made these precedents inspirational without outright mimicry
Notes on Living a Meaningless Life | Ep. 197
Most people know the quote "Everything means nothing until you make it something." This one aphorism is as powerful as it is brief. The truth is that our search for "meaning" in life is both our gift and curse.
If you're anything like us, then chances are high that you've already taken a lot of steps to acknowledge and double-down on the legacy and long-term thinking. Yet, what happens in the interim? How do you make it through each day knowing that you likely won't see the fruits of your labor for quite some time (if ever)?
The good news is that you're not alone in this line of questioning. Quite a bit of thought has already been given to these problems exactly, and you're in good company if you also feel a desire to find answers.
Some of the topics we cover in this talk include but are not limited to:
- How to deal with boredom, angst, and dread
- Where true "freedom" comes from
- How to interpret what things are worth your time
- How to assess the absurdity of our existence
Valerio Olgiati | Ep. 196
If you've never heard of Valerio Olgiati, then there's a great chance that you're just like 99% of other people who wake up every day without architecture being their primary source of focus.
Yet, what should be said about one of the most important Swiss architects of his generation (a title bestowed by Herzog and de Meuron co-founder himself). What makes his work so different? And, what aphorisms are perhaps worth indulging in? In this installment of our "Well Read" segment, we take a new approach to uncovering the truth behind a body of work.
How to Use Avoidance to Your Advantage | Ep. 195
If you're anything like 99.9% of artists, then you probably worry from time to time if you're becoming too predictable. Deep down you want to create something that's truly new. You want new ways to create within the strict boundaries of your medium. In short, you're looking for a creative breakthrough.
The good news is that you don't have to stay stuck in this place forever. In this lecture, we cover specific steps that you can take to:
- Gain a better understanding of what your "style" consists of
- Compare your present and past work for "uniqueness"
- Generate better self-initiated projects with a stronger conceptual foundation
How to Create Your Personal Code of Conduct | Ep. 194
Most artists and designers are in pursuit of many things at once. Life seems to move at warp speed while art seems to fight to keep pace. Perhaps your pursuit is simply to find some reasonable understanding of the world's inner workings.
Yes, you are a contrarian, but you also recognize the need for quality structure in order to exist in the world. In short, you're frustrated because you're not sure how to begin creating your own code of conduct and first principles.
If this problem sounds familiar to you, then we spend this episode providing an in-depth breakdown of what it might take to overcome these common pitfalls of the artist's journey. Some of the topics we cover include but aren't limited to:
- How to decide on your list of undeniably good traits
- Why it makes sense to put your code into practice
- How to learn from some of the greatest examples in history
Navigating Life as a Creative Director (ft. Yancy Wilkinson) | Ep. 193
Yancy is a Creative Director at ASD Sky (a multi-disciplinary design firm headquartered in Atlanta). As a graduate from SCAD, Yancy has over 15 years of experience in branded environments, store design, brand design, graphic design, and identity.
Some of the topics covered in this episode include, but aren’t limited to:
- Fostering creativity in your team as a creative director
- Identifying a sweet spot between seeking autonomy versus exposure
- Producing a body of work that has a particular aim
- Finding balance in a field of work which at times can breed angst
You can find out more about Yancy’s body of work and story at yancywilkinson.com.
The Power of Whimsical Constraints | Ep. 192
Most people know that an infinite number of options gives way to very little creativity. Decision making becomes hard. This conundrum becomes even more potent when considering what it takes to initiate work of your own without the guidance of client requirements.
If this problem sounds familiar to you, then you're in the right place. Some of the topics we cover include:
- How to use constraints to your advantage
- How constraints can be an idea machine
- Why it might make sense to make work while in push up position
Dealing with Rejection | Ep. 191
Rejection comes in all shapes and sizes. It damages our self-esteem. It goes against our tribe-like nature. And, MRI brain scans prove that the same part of the brain is activated during emotional trauma as in physical trauma.
Most people already know these things to be true, but what comes next? What are we supposed to do once we are faced with these inevitabilities. If this problem is consistent for you, then this episode contains several strategies to help you move out of this place and into somewhere new.
How to Log Project Ideas in Your Studio | Ep. 190
Chances are high that your sketchbook is full of unfinished shapes, poems, graphics, etc. You feel that you've failed because they haven't materialized in any way. You know you should catalog these ideas in some way. Yet, you are unsure of how to move forward. And, what's worse, you have nothing to show for all of the work and time you've spent on these not yet projects.
The good news is that you don't have to stay stuck in this place. In this episode, we'll cover a simple method to relieve yourself of this frustrating circumstance.
A Simple Way to Keep the New Year Momentum | Ep. 189
Most people spend a lot of time pre-planning all the great things they're going to do in the new year. Yet, when the rubber meets the road, all of that planning gets put to the test. Jobs start having demands. Schools start assigning projects. And, before you know it the weather warms up and half of what you planned is left on the cutting room floor.
If any of this sounds like you, then we have a simple framework that will serve as a centering activity each and every month, week, or day.
Dealing with Fear, Frustration, and Failure | Ep. 186
If you're anything like us, then chances are quite high that starting from scratch and being a beginner at a new skill comes with its fair share of frustrations and shortcomings. The good news is that there are a few helpful tips that will help you overcome these common emotions.
How to Separate Yourself | Ep. 185
Most people are wondering this time of year how they will best use the seconds, minutes, and hours leading into the new year. Yet, very few of these people actually will get the result they want. In this installment of our 'Incomplete Thoughts' segment, we offer some provocations on the topic of distinguishing yourself from the crowd.
David Chipperfield | Ep. 184
How to Make Projects Happen Faster | Ep. 183
If you're new to running your own studio or practice, then you might find that your biggest challenge has little to do with being able to execute the work in front of you. And, instead, it has to do simply getting work in front of you to execute on.
Most people who face this problem spin their wheels in the dirt swinging for homerun projects while passing up on all the base hits along the way. If this sounds like you, then this lecture is for you.
The Importance of Asking Worthwhile Questions | Ep. 182
Most creative people aspire to one day run their own practice, studio, office, or firm. Yet, in most cases, their aspirations never quite come true. In this installment of our 'Incomplete Thoughts' segment, we cover why this phenomenon happens so frequently and anyone can shift their thinking and change the way they approach building their design business.
Vertner Woodson Tandy | Ep. 181
Realigning with Your Purpose (ft. Marcus Hollinger) | Ep. 178
Marcus Hollinger is the SVP of Marketing at Reach Records, an independent hip hop label based in Atlanta, GA with a roster of artists, including: Andy Mineo, Lecrae, Wande, and more. For roughly an hour, Marcus shares stories of his upbringing, daily practice, shortcomings, accomplishments and more.