This is Design School

If there is one thing to learn from the This is Design School podcast, it’s to not let fear paralyze a burgeoning career.

“Everyone we talk to always had to take a big leap to get where they wanted to be,” said Chad P. Hall ’10, one of the co-creators of the podcast. “They took a leap of confidence.”

Having just wrapped up their second season, Hall and Jp Avila, associate professor of Art & Design at PLU, have approached the podcast as a way to talk about design with designers at the beginning of their careers.

In the podcast, Avila and Hall discuss the career journeys designers travel, how they got into design and their thoughts on the field.

“It’s being able to have these conversations in this unique setting. It gives you a freedom to have deep conversations,” Hall said. “It allows you to ask questions you’ve never felt you had the permission to ask before.”

Plenty of podcasts engage people who are at the top of their profession, but what gets lost is their journey. Hall and Avila try to retrace that journey with guests ranging from seasoned professionals in more traditional graphic design roles, to designers who are user experience experts in website design, to those who teach about the world of design.

The discussions find their way beyond their guests’ journeys and intertwine with topics about graphic design in the print and digital world to sustainability practices and overall principles. The hosts and guests explore design with the knowledge that it is so much more than just understanding visuals. Design is figuring out how a visual narrative works in print and digital mediums, how that functions, and the experience the consumer has with the design.

In season one, the two would ask their guests whom they should interview next. To their surprise, each person they asked was eager to join them and from there the network of guests ballooned.

Nearly two years ago, the podcast idea took root when Avila met with Hall for one of their monthly lunches. Hall was a student of Avila’s and the two had stayed in touch, while Hall pursued his master’s in design at the University of Washington.

The challenge of how to get to the next step in a design career sparked the conversation. Hall, who is living through those early stages, saw how the early practice allowed people to do exciting, innovative work.