GEORGE GARRASTEGUI JR.
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, NYC COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY, CUNY
HOST, WORKS IN PROCESS PODCAST
BROOKLYN NY / HOBOKEN NJ
George Garrastegui Jr. is an educator, a creative consultant, advocate, and host of the award-winning podcast, Works in Process. He continues to elevate the creative process by shifting the focus from what we produce to how we work. With over 20+ years of experience in publishing, marketing, and strategy, he has crafted solutions for Esquire, Ford, Cadillac, and Popular Mechanics. George also teaches strategic problem-solving and design research at CUNY’s NYC College of Technology.
In 2021 George chaired and moderated the AIGA Design and Business Conference. He explored what drove successful collaboration and communication, revealed the process of client/ designer relationships, and examined the decisions that informed the final product. In a nutshell, dig into the “how” and “why” behind the “what.”
Fueled by the pursuit of uncovering ways to give emerging designers access and opportunities, George is also a member of the AIGA DEI initiative and 100 Roses from Concrete.
Tell us how and why you became involved in designing for good and why design is an especially effective tool for this?
Design for good is a lofty term, but I see it more as design as impact or design for purpose. In my first stint in school, I saw design as a tool to beautify and give meaning to other people’s ideas and businesses. You know, follow the rules, convert and interpret creative trends and be the best and quickest at the newest software. But when I went to school for my master’s degree, that all changed. My thought process had shifted, and I became exposed to other perspectives and viewpoints on design. It was no longer a conversation of this OR that; it was this AND that. As designers, the processes we use, whether intuition and experiences or formal education, put us at an intersection between design, business, and technology. As a result, we get to uncover possibilities and seek issues to address, not only focus on the bottom line.
But not everyone gets to see it that way. Exposure, access, and opportunities are not similar for everyone. When I was growing up, music, art, and home economic classes were part of my upbringing, but budget cuts and no child left behind made those learning experiences extra-curricular and expensive. I wanted to ensure I could support emerging creatives with access to insight without apprehension. So, I started interviewing creatives, and that’s how Works in Process began. Each guest looks back at their careers as by-products of determination and a systematic approach to solving problems. Conversations uncover the variety of ways in which creatives work and reveal a parallel with many emerging designers. I aim to chip away at a void in the industry that needs to embrace the various ways people learn and share relatable experiences. Design should be an effective tool that sparks a conversation through which people share commonalities and build community.
Given the confluence of events and challenges, does 2022 present any special opportunities or obstacles regarding designing for good?
If the past year has presented us with anything, it has pushed us to be more mindful. The post-pandemic era hasn’t truly begun, but the thought of the “me” is still so pervasive. So many take what they see and read to be the truth or, more importantly, the only perspective. I think design and designers can analyze what is presented and seek to unite rather than divide. Be aware that even with good intentions, your work could have a negative impact. Take stock in your concept of time; it’s one of your most valuable assets. And, be forgiving of your missteps; it’s a process — learn from the journey.