The Editors | Press Releases

Design Observer Appoints Hugh Weber as New Managing Director

LOS ANGELES, January 21, 2020—Design Observer, the award-winning media company focused on the future of design, business, and culture, announced today the appointment of Hugh Weber as Managing Director, effective Monday, January 21, 2020.

Weber is a senior executive, network theorist, and strategic advisor who has worked across multiple industries including design, media, government, and business. After spending more than a decade leading political and advocacy campaigns throughout the United States, he founded and led OTA, a cultural organization focused on the creative disciplines across North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. In 2019, Weber acquired The Great Discontent, a global media platform for emerging artists, designers, and culture creators.

In this new role with Design Observer, Weber will work with the senior leadership team to develop programs and partnerships that amplify design’s critical role in civil society. “From climate change to social equity to inclusive and sustainable business practices, Design Observer has never shied away from difficult conversations,” Weber says. “Now is the time for an even deeper commitment to cross-disciplinary exchange. With its roots in sustained inquiry and meaningful debate, we believe that Design Observer’s future lies in bold action.”

“Today, in a moment of epic uncertainty, it’s more important than ever for us to interrogate our assumptions about design’s role—and about Design Observer’s role—on a planet that’s clearly in peril,” notes Jessica Helfand, Founding Partner and Creative Director of The Design Observer Group. “At a time when everyone is searching for answers, Hugh is challenging us to consider more critical questions—across disciplines, between worlds—amplifying our collective voices in powerful new ways.”

“Hugh’s experienced leadership is central to this mission, and his insights into design’s ever-changing ecosystem are essential,” adds Design Observer co-founder Michael Bierut. “This will help us keep Design Observer relevant as we look ahead to the next decade.”

About Design Observer
Design Observer was founded in 2003 by Jessica Helfand, Michael Bierut, Rick Poynor, and the late William Drenttel as a collaborative platform for independent thinking and provocative conversation about design and the larger world, bringing that conversation to an audience including—but not limited to—designers. For more than fifteen years, Design Observer’s commitment has served to provoke, sustain, and elevate conversations about design, from traditional publishing ventures to alternative media projects to podcasts and live events. All of these enterprises are rooted in the original mission to engage a broader community by sharing ideas on ways that design shapes―and is shaped by―our lives.

About Hugh Weber
Hugh Weber serves on the National Board of AIGA, the professional organization for design, and is an advisor to Design for America, a university-based network of campus studios that supports design initiatives for local and social impact. He holds Bachelors’ degrees in Political Science, Public Policy, and Black Studies from Swarthmore College, and a Master’s in Political Management and Strategic Messaging from George Washington University. He lives with his family in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Betsy Vardell
Executive Producer
[email protected]

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