10.21.21
Lee Moreau + Harry West | Audio

The Futures Archive S1E2: The Toothbrush


Do you remember when you learned to brush your teeth? On this episode of The Futures Archive Lee Moreau and Harry West discuss the toothbrush, toothbrushing, and over-learned behaviors.

With additional insights this week from Dr. Scott Swank, Kirsten Ostherr, and Jadalia Britto.

Lee asked Harry: How do you teach new behavior?
That's a much bigger question, isn't it? Because telling people doesn't work. People don't like to be told what to do. And it's not effective to tell people what to do. They will ignore you. And of course, one thing to change in that experience is the object itself.
Lee Moreau is President of Other Tomorrows, a design and innovation consultancy based in Boston, and a Lecturer in MIT’s D Minor program.

Harry West is building a human-centered design and innovation curriculum at Columbia University and working at the intersection of design, data, and behavior change with a focus on developing new ways to reduce consumption.

Dr. Scott Swank is the Curator at the National Museum of Dentistry and assist professor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.

Kirsten Ostherr is the Gladys Louise Fox Professor of English at Rice University in Houston, Texas, where she is a media scholar, health researcher, and technology analyst.

Jadalia Britto is the Senior Global Experience and Innovation Manager at Colgate-Palmolive.


Sign up for our newsletter to keep up with each episode.

If you enjoyed this conversation between Lee and Harry, check out episode one of The Futures Archive. And if you want to watch the commercial we referenced in the episode you can do so here.

Kathleen Fu created the illustrations for each episode.

A big thanks to this season’s sponsor, Automattic.

And to our education partner, Adobe.



Transcript

Lee Moreau
Welcome to the Futures Archive, a show about human centered design, where this season we'll take an object, look for the human at the center and keep asking questions. I'm Lee Moreau...

Harry West
...and I am Harry West.

Lee Moreau
On each episode, we're going to start with an object. Today, that's the toothbrush. We'll look at the history of that object from our perspective as designers who've done work in human centered design, not just how it looks and feels, but also the relationship between that object and the people it was designed for.

Harry West
And with other humans too!

Lee Moreau
The Futures Archive is brought to you by the design team at Automattic. Later on, we'll hear from one of their product designers, Bea Fialho. The Futures Archive's education partner, this season, is Adobe.

Lee Moreau
So I'm bringing you into this conversation and talk a little bit about the toothbrush. Which I know, you know, a thing or two about...

Harry West
A little bit. Yeah.

Lee Moreau
Did you brush your teeth this morning?

Harry West
I did! Twice. Once before breakfast and once after breakfast.

Lee Moreau
OK. Is that typical?

Harry West
That's typical. Yep.

Lee Moreau
Really?

Harry West
For me and for many others, yeah.

Lee Moreau
This is the probably the most bizarre form of introduction to talk about your oral hygiene habits and knowledge. What qualifies you to to speak about this topic?

Harry West
So as you know, Lee, we work together at Continuum, which is a design and innovation firm based in Boston. And at Continuum, we developed a reputation as a company for designing kind of the mundane, quotidian consumer products that most of us don't really think about. So we designed toothpaste, and toothbrushes, and diapers, mops. And by making small, small improvements in the experience of these everyday products, we can in some small way improve people's experiences in their lives.

Lee Moreau
So making people's lives better is also good for the bottom line?

Harry West
It's very good for the bottom line because people will pay for a better product.

Lee Moreau
So who taught you how to brush your teeth? Do you remember that?

Harry West
I don't think anybody taught me how to brush my teeth. And it was only when I was doing a project on toothpaste and toothbrushing for a client in America that I actually began to watch more closely how other people brush their teeth. And I remember what struck me initially was how everybody brushes their teeth in a slightly different way. Some people brush them kind of frenetically, that's my style. Because if it's a routine activity, I just want to get out of the way. And some people brush their teeth in a kind of loving, almost contemplative way. It was it was a moment in the day when they can take some time out for themselves and think about the world, plan tomorrow. And they did that while they're brushing their teeth.

Lee Moreau
So we're going to talk about the toothbrush as an example of a design object that's in pretty much all of our lives that we probably don't think about very much. So we're going to hear from a few different people, some historians, some designers that are going to help us contextualize and make sense of the toothbrush and of sort of teeth brushing more broadly. Now, just to set up everything you're going to hear, you have to understand that the toothbrush is really old. So the toothbrush actually was invented in China, and it was effectively something that was inserted into like a stick at a 90 degree angle in which looks much the same as the toothbrushes that you know and love today. So to kind of start this story, we're going to hear from a curator at the National Museum of Dentistry. This is Dr. Scott Swank, who's at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.

Scott Swank
The modern toothbrush is really not as old as you think. The boar hair inserted into a bone handle lasted for centuries, really. Until World War Two.

Lee Moreau
And so what he's not telling you is that in World War Two, we had a crisis in toothbrushing and the crisis in toothbrushing was that the boar hair that we were using for the bristles was no longer accessible because most of that came from Russia on the other side of the Iron Curtain, right. I don't know if you're aware of the boar hair crisis that we had. Was this something you were aware of?

Harry West
No, I, though— well, I wasn't alive then, but I have even heard of it. But since we're talking history, you mentioned the toothbrush originally invented in China. But what about the miswak?

Lee Moreau
Oh, tell us about the miswak. What's that?

Harry West
So actually, in many parts of the world, they they don't use a toothbrush. They use a stick called a miswak, which is a type of wood that has got a resin in it that cleans the mouth and the gums and the fibers in the stick kind of get between your teeth and remove particles. And traditionally, this is how people in sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world cleaned their teeth. So perhaps it's not a toothbrush, but it performed the same role as a toothbrush. So perhaps it is a toothbrush.

Lee Moreau
I think we should count that as a toothbrush.

Harry West
I think so.

Lee Moreau
We can talk about the form factor in the design and you know how these things may be convergent or divergent, but I'm going with miswak as a toothbrush.

Harry West
Yeah, and that is thousands of years old.

Lee Moreau
So what Scott then tells us about this crisis with with boar hair, is some of the development that that kind of happened in the postwar era.

Scott Swank
Dr. West's Miracle Tuft was one of the early ones in the late 40s, early 1950s, and I mean, they are essentially what we have today.

Lee Moreau
This was basic, you know, sort of engineering problem solving that Dr. West and his crew were involved with, right? It's like, how do I use new technology, integrate it into a form factor that we're kind of familiar with to kind of solve the problem or achieve the same goal.

Harry West
Yeah, it sounds like this is another example of work that was happening throughout the 20th century, where natural materials were being substituted with plastics and other materials.

Lee Moreau
So it's an act of substitution, but the basic form factor was staying the same. So we're basically swapping out materials to serve primarily some of the same outcomes.

Harry West
So perhaps it wasn't really an invention of an object. It was the change in how the object was produced, initially. But then once you have substituted the materials, then that opens up new possibilities because you can change the form, the handle of the toothbrush much more easily because you're molding it and you can have finer control over the shape of the brush element of the toothbrush because you're not limited to what the boar happens to be producing.

Lee Moreau
So we have new exploration in the actual design of the object. But then we also have all the cultural forces that are coming to bear on teeth brushing itself. Right. So it's becoming a more common practice in the second half of the 20th century.

USM Training Video
The majority of you fellas simply refuse to look after your teeth. Let's talk about this. It's the GI toothbrush, the on you were issued when you came into the army. It small with two rows of stout bristles designed to reach any section of the mouth. The teeth you have now are the only ones you'll ever have, and you've got to protect them. Taking care of them beforehand is one of the many factors that will determine your fitness, your will, your ability to win...

Harry West
And this was produced by the army. Is that right?

Lee Moreau
As a as a training video.

Harry West
So presumably the reason they produced this is because they had learned through bitter experience of the importance of dental hygiene. And I do remember my grandfather who was around at this time. What he did was common among many working class people in England around the Second World War, which is: He got a toothache, so he had all of his teeth removed. And from there on, he just used dentures, artificial teeth because that was the simplest solution. It makes me shudder to think of that. But back then, that's what people some people did.

Lee Moreau
Well, the good news, bad news of that is it would have kept you off the battlefield because, you know, in the military, you had to have a certain number of functioning teeth in order to actually be eligible for service.

Harry West
So a toothbrush was strategic back then. An army didn't just fight on its stomach and didn't just march in its stomach, and it marched on its mouth, too.

Lee Moreau
I love this notion that protect your teeth, protect them and you protect yourself. And it's almost like defending the country and protecting the country is correlated with protecting your teeth. It's a it's, it's, pushing it quite far, but it's kind of profound at the same time.

Harry West
And it also suggests that if the army felt the need to produce that infomercial, shall we call it, "instructional video", that this was not common knowledge among the recruits. This was new. Probably wouldn't have to do that as much today, I think. I don't know. It will be interesting to ask that question. Does the army still teach its recruits to brush their teeth?

Lee Moreau
Then we get into the topic of where does new knowledge come from, right? And I think as we look back at history, so much new knowledge does come from new innovation and new exploration in technology thats spawned by the military and by, you know, wartime capacity building, right. So, now I think we look at, well, what's what's what's beyond that, right? So we prepared for warfare, we've prepared for the military and now we need to cascade that to the general population.

Toothbrushing Commerical
Would you like to learn how to have strong, healthy teeth?

Kirsten Ostherr
That context that you have to keep in mind is that until after World War Two, motion pictures were the main source of information and entertainment for the vast majority of Americans.

Lee Moreau
Kirsten Ostherr is a professor at Rice University, and she directs the sort of medical humanities program there and the Medical Futures Lab.

Kirsten Ostherr
So a lot of information that was seen by either governments or the military or educators that seemed to be really important for people to learn, was communicated through these short educational films...

Toothbrushing Commerical
Downward on the upper teeth count to 10.

Kirsten Ostherr
These were intended to be tools of social control in the sense that the broader idea was get the viewers to do something that you want them to do, regardless of whether or not it's really in their best interests. And so in that way, I am not sure how user centered, I would call these really.

Lee Moreau
And that's super provocative, right? So I think the question is like, can we actually have a top down user centered experience? That sounds almost antithetical, right, top down, but also user centered?

Harry West
So it's not necessarily antithetical. Because, for example, around wearing a mask, we believe it is in people's benefit. Most of us believe that it is in your benefit to wear a mask or being vaccinated. We believe it, it is in your benefit. And so if the communication is top down, then I think it is still in your interest and you might you might be able to articulate that it's it's human centered. But whether or not it's effective, that's that's the question.

Lee Moreau
We're going to go back and hear one more clip from Professor Ostherr, because I think that'll take us right back into how we kind of use these behaviors to motivate change.

Kirsten Ostherr
The goals of all of these films, they may have had one goal, such as sell more toothbrushes, but they also had these larger goals that were very much about playing into and reinforcing social norms. And the way to get people's behavior to change was very much through the threat of being ostracized or somehow excluded in some way. And although that approach has been shown to be not particularly effective for public health media, nonetheless, it was really very prevalent.

Lee Moreau
The question is like how do you teach new behavior?

Harry West
That's a much bigger question, isn't it? Because telling people doesn't work. People don't like to be told what to do. And as Kirsten pointed out, it's not effective to tell people what to do. They will ignore you. And of course, one thing to change in that experience is the object itself. That's that's why if we if we look at the objects we interact with in our digital experiences, they're generally quite beautiful, our phones, our computers. The digital experience is a highly, highly designed experience. An almost infinite amount of money and resources went into creating that experience. So there is absolutely nothing that you would want to change about it in the moment.

Lee Moreau
The Futures Archive is brought to you by the design team at Automattic, which is building a new web and a new workplace all around the world.

Bea Fiahlo
I'm Bea Fialho. I'm in Lisbon, Portugal, and I'm a product designer at Automattic...

Lee Moreau
For Bea, joining Automattic men a chance to grow in new ways.

Bea Fiahlo
Before working at Automattic, I was working for a wine startup in Lisbon and I basically designed wine labels and would make the company's websites. What drew me to Automattic was the opportunity to change. For instance, I'm more of a visual designer, but lately I've been working with a lot of product design or more technical UI stuff. I've just had my first theme be launched. I wasn't used to working with developers a lot, and now it's it's a daily reality. And so it's another skill. It's knowing how to communicate and how to review code, get the visual part of it. And because Automattic has so many different designers with so many different strengths and skills, just joining forces is super positive, and I also grow that way.

Lee Moreau
Designing a better web. Join us at Automattic.com/design. That's auto-m-a-double t- i- c dot com slash design.

Lee Moreau
So, Harry, let's let's hear a little bit about how we change the experience of the toothbrush itself.

Harry West
Back to the toothbrush!

Tom Kelley
Every kid's toothbrush in the history of the world has had the same implicit assumption. The assumption always was: Parents have big hands, kids have small hands— and so when you want to make the kid's version, make it like the parents brush only smaller and skinnier. Perfectly logical until you go out in the field until you actually watch humans, little tiny humans wa- brushing their teeth. And what you notice right away, you get a five year old boy brushing his teeth. He's not holding his toothbrush in his fingertips the way mom and dad do. He's fisting it. He doesn't have the dexterity. He doesn't have the fine motor controls that his parents have. And so he's got to hold it like this.

Lee Moreau
Obviously, you recognize that voice probably, Harry. That's Tom Kelly.

Harry West
Of course. Yeah.

Lee Moreau
Long standing partner of a IDEO, from a presentation in 2008. You've obviously done work in this particular domain. But you know, you remember how transformative this was to like, look at an everyday object through the lens of a different audience or a different user type and see it a totally different potential avenue for change or a different outcome.

Harry West
As I was listening to that clip, a different question emerged to me, which is: How come it took us so long to realize that once we had gone from a wooden stick to a an injection molded plastic handle, why did you take us so long to realize that we could now change the form? We could change the shape, we could change the color, we could change the materials. And for decades we didn't. And it's often when you go to an outlier population, the lead users, the people on the periphery of your target market that suddenly you begin to see a new possibility. And so looking at how a kid holds a toothbrush makes you realize, "huh, they hold it differently." And the handle is plastic anyway, so it's easy for us to mold a different shape for that. And then, well, hang on, if you do that for kids, why can't we do that for adults, too? And so that led to this complete profusion, this explosion in new forms, shapes, colors, materials and toothbrush handles over the last 20 years or so.

Lee Moreau
And we can see that same pattern taking place in almost every other consumer object that you can find in a in a store, right?

Harry West
Yeah. And partly that's that's driven by globalization. If we go back in time, companies tended to compete locally. And so the stakes weren't as high. You could have dozens of different toothbrush companies all over the United States producing different versions of that toothbrush. Whereas today, pretty much everything is global and it's kind of a winner takes all economy. And so it's that fierce competition that is driving relentless innovation in every aspect of our lives, everything around our homes, everything in our home, everything at work is relentlessly optimized, refined, and innovated.

Lee Moreau
And so that's changing the objects that we use like in this case, the toothbrush. But what about the practice of brushing itself?

Jadalia Britto
Do I watch people brush their teeth? I do, but not just brushing their teeth. Everything else before an in-between, I'm focused more on how people feel, I'm wanting them to be excited.

Lee Moreau
Jada Britto is a senior experience in-innovation design manager on the Colgate-Palmolive team. I want to hear a little bit about her perspectives on brushing and consumer research.

Jadalia Britto
The most fascinating thing I heard from a little young person in a research study was, we said: Hey, show us how you brush your teeth. And he said: Do you want to see how I brush my teeth when I wake up or when I go to bed? Do you want to see how I brush my teeth when mom told me to brush my teeth and I didn't do it? Like he really started going in further. And so you, you start to realize there's so much more to it.

Lee Moreau
I love that. Like, he's one of the most mindful research subjects I've ever heard of.

Harry West
I am impressed. I want to take lessons from that kid.

Lee Moreau
So she's been doing, you know, human centered research her whole career and knows how to frame up the kind of interview so that she can get the most out of that conversation. So unlike the kind of top down command and control, social control, you know, way of communicating ideas? Is this how HCD or human centered design approaches some of the same problems that the government did in the, in the 1940s?

Harry West
She's trying to use design to make people want to brush their teeth. And if we accept that brushing your teeth is a good thing, which I do, then this is a beautiful example of where commercial success and customer benefit are aligned. And then the human centered design approach is to look at the aspects of brushing your teeth that might be delighting. And we know that things like taste are delighting, so the taste of the toothpaste is a really strong incentive for people to brush their teeth. That, the mouth feel after you have brush your teeth, the feel of the toothbrush in your hand. Is it satisfying to hold? And that's what designers do. We figure out those little cues, those little elements in the experience, and we design them in so that you want to do it so your behavior changes. The design of the experience changes your behavior.

Lee Moreau
So the reason I wanted to talk to you about this, the topic of toothbrushes, is to enter into a conversation about what we call overlearned behaviors. I'm wondering if you could, you know from your experience, tell us what an overlearned behavior is. What is it— what does that mean?

Harry West
And over learned behavior is something— you know, when you're learning a new skill initially, you don't know how to do it. And then you try to learn how to do it. And you struggle, so you have to concentrate and then eventually you become good at it. You don't really have to think about it that much. And then eventually, if you practice it many, many times, you don't even notice that you're doing it. And if you think it's just because those skills are easy, then watch a child try to do it. Watch a child trying to brush their teeth and you realize it's not easy.

Lee Moreau
It's a disaster, basically.

Harry West
Yeah, yeah. But as an adult, you've learned how to do that. You have done it thousands of times and you don't have to think about it. And so instead, what happens is you think about other things. It's something you do. It's a routine activity and then your brain goes elsewhere.

Lee Moreau
This seems like a good thing. Why should we even be talking about this?

Harry West
It is good that we can all, or most of us, walk and chew gum at the same time, and the reason we can do that is because we don't have to think about walking. It's an over-learned activity, and we don't really have to think about chewing gum, also an overlearned activity for many of us. And so we can do that both at the same time. But what makes it interesting for me, at least, to design around overlearned behaviors is because we're no longer aware of them. And so from a subjective point of view, most of us can't report on what it is that we're doing as we're walking or brushing our teeth. We're no longer aware of it. So when you're designing in that space, you have to actually watch what people do. You can't ask the customer to tell you what they do. You have to watch what they do and then design a way to make that experience better for them. And that's why I find those areas particularly interesting for innovation. They give you an opportunity to gain a fresh insight into another human being's life.

Lee Moreau
This notion of over-learned behaviors, we become such an expert in these activities, we don't think about them. But when we have the opportunity to bring people's attention back to these topics, it allows us to see our lives in the world in a slightly different way. But where is that going to take us in the future as the world has become, well much more complex. Some of the things that we have to do every day, those things are changing. You know, there's still the fundamentals, like brushing your teeth, but now there's waking up and checking your social media or like keeping track of contacts and in a much broader understanding of the global environment that we live in. Where is that going to take us in the future?

Harry West
So I think that you are touching on some of the big design challenges ahead of us because if you're not really aware of what you're doing, it's difficult to change it. And as we look at the challenges ahead of us as a society, we are confronted by a lot of overlearned activities. I think of some of the major challenges around the environment, and climate change, social inequity, and probably aging populations. And you might ask, well, what what does that got to do with design? Well, those are all caused by our behaviors, or they will interact with our behaviors. And those behaviors are quite difficult to change. And so the experience that you and I have had designing fairly mundane products and services to get people to change, to switch from a manual toothbrush to an electric toothbrush, to switch from going to a bank to banking online. And we've seen how it has taken decades and billions of dollars of investment to make those really obvious and trivial changes. And now we're asking all of us to make much, much bigger changes in our lives. We're asking people to think more carefully about: Do I need that product? Do I need to make that trip? And so much of what has become kind of almost unthinking. We're going to have to ask people to think about and to take that overlearned behavior, and become conscious of it— and then perhaps make a conscious choice not to do it. When we think about how we intuitively react to people who don't look like us, or we have not brought them into the design process historically. And as designers and as citizens, we are kind of struggling in that process of learning again, how to how to bring people who are not like us into the conversation and to make their needs, wants and aspirations as an important part of designing our future as ours. The fact that we are talking about it suggests that it's not over learned for us, right. We're still like that four year old trying to brush their teeth, as we try to engage in design to reduce the damage to environment and design to reduce inequity. And we're- we're making a mess of it. But we we just need to keep trying and keep practicing until eventually we got good at it.

Lee Moreau
This reminds me, I mean, on a personal level, this reminds me of, you know, trying to quit smoking, right.

Harry West
Yep.

Lee Moreau
So for 15 years, I had an, I think had developed and overlearned behavior of: wake up in the morning and having a cigarette right out of bed. You know, that was just something that I did. I did learn over time that that was probably not good behavior and I needed to change it. But the struggle or the time that it took me to actually change that behavior and make a transition, which in hindsight, I'm like, how did it take that long? I can't even comprehend that. So how do we kind of mobilize ourselves to, as a collective begin to change some of these behaviors, which we've all overlearned?

Harry West
I think the example of smoking actually is a very good one. Because, partly what caused you to stop smoking I would imagine, is cultural pressure. It went from being very cool, to less cool, to oooh, you're smoking?

Lee Moreau
It got to yuck. Yeah.

Harry West
In this society. But there's also been regulation, right. Simultaneously, and that has both been caused by changes in our culture. And at the same time, that regulation then kind of reinforced the cultural change. And so over a period of decades, we've gone from a society in which it was normal to smoke to one in which it is not normal to smoke.

Lee Moreau
Harry, I find this interesting because what you're sort of suggesting is that regulation itself is a form of design.

Harry West
Yeah.

Lee Moreau
Or if not design, it's at least the manipulation of design constraints or the introduction of design constraints. And you know, you don't hear people talking about regulation in those terms very often. But I think that's a very powerful notion, especially when we're thinking about the future and what we're going to need to do to change behavior en masse. That's a powerful design tool, no?

Harry West
Absolutely. And I think that designers need to be more involved in the design of regulation. We leave, we leave that too much to lawyers, which is why we end up with regulation that is too complex and not human centered. It's designed with a lawyer in mind. It's it's like before designers engaged, technology was designed by engineers for engineers, which meant that regular folk found it intimidating and not easy to use. And then we got engaged and we made technology accessible to more people. And so it took over. I do think there's a great opportunity for designers to engage in the crafting of regulation so that we make it not just a legalistic set of rules, but something that can also guide people to change their behavior in a way that's more natural for them. And we're going to have to do that in a hurry because we don't have 50 years right now in order to manage the build up of carbon in the atmosphere. We've got maybe 20 years, so we're going to have to accelerate that process. And I think that's going to require designers designing products and services and also engaging in the regulatory process simultaneously.

Lee Moreau
That is the challenge of the ages.

Harry West
Yeah.

Lee Moreau
I believe.

Harry West
Yeah.

Lee Moreau
And we've all got to get on board with that one.

Lee Moreau
OK, we're going to change gears a little bit now. Every episode of The Futures Archive will end with a prompt, a sort of design exercise for you, the listener, to keep working on the objects and the ideas that we've talked about on this week's show. You'll be able to share your ideas and see what other listeners are thinking about as well, and I'll explain where to do that in a bit. But first, what I want you to do is create a list of directions or a graphic representation, some form of visualization that shows how you brush your teeth so that it could be faithfully copied or repeated by another person. Remember, there's no one right way to brush your teeth, or to do this assignment for that matter, but there might be a right way for you. Please post your directions, your sketches, your visualizations on Instagram and use the hashtag #TheFuturesArchive, all one word. We're going to share some of our favorite responses in our Instagram Story, @DesignObserver. In case you want to test someone else's brushing technique, which I'm sure you're all dying to do. You can also read the full prompt on our Instagram and check out some of our favorite responses to last week's assignment.

Lee Moreau
The Futures Archive is a podcast from Design Observer. Keep up with the show, go to tfa.designobserver.com or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Harry, thank you so much for being with us today. If listeners want to learn more about you or follow you or just pay attention to what you're doing, how might they do that?

Harry West
With great difficulty, I'm invisible.

Lee Moreau
OK, well, then, thank you very much for being with us. Please post your answers for this week's assignment on Instagram using the hashtag #TheFuturesArchive, that's all one word. We're really excited to see what you come up with, we're a little worried about seeing you all brush your teeth, but we think it's going to be really interesting. Oh, and also make sure you follow us at Design Observer on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The Futures Archive's education partner is Adobe. For each episode, you can find supporting materials, including further reading, lesson plans and all kinds of activities suitable for college level learners. For more about Adobe's educational initiatives, follow them at EDEX.Adobe.com. And The Futures Archive is brought to you by Automattic. Thanks again to Dr. Scott Swank, Kirsten Ostherr, and Jadalia Britto for talking to The Futures Archive. You can find more about them and my co-host Harry West in our show notes, as well as links to our archival audio and other interesting stuff. Our associate producer is Adina Karp. Owen Agnew edits the show. Blake Eskin of Noun and Verb Rodeo helped develop the show. Thanks as always to Design Observer founder Jessica Helfand and to Design Observer executive producer Betsy Vardell.



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