blue and black poster announcing Jennifer and Bobby guest lecture

Jennifer Kinon and Bobby C. Martin Jr.

Mar 28 2023

poster by Gloria Jiang

by Natalia Ramirez

It isn’t often that you get the opportunity to come across the brains behind the operations of the brands you see, use or experience so often that you can’t imagine life without them. When you put a group of designers-in-formation in front of the people behind the development of brands and experiences at MTV, WNBA, the Hillary Clinton Campaign, Apple and even our own MFA Design program, you get a room full of people with their jaws on the ground asking for a napkin.

Not only does the work of Bobby Martin, Jennifer Kinon and their team speak volumes because of the reputations of their clients, but because of the quality and commitment to building every story that lies behind the curtain. Their work is at the crossroads of branding, identity, products and culture — with culture being an all-encompassing term that hints at the fact that somehow, somewhere we have all touched or been touched by the reach of their impact.

We spoke about the role of design in both preserving and evolving icons of our culture, about the importance of creating brands that have the capacity to shift with time and the inevitable constant of change, and about generating systems that are equally rooted in history as they are capable of holding on into the future.

Some of their words were key takeaways that cannot be left unsaid:

“The answers are already there. We’re sort of the archeologists that uncover it.”

“You’re not designing for other designers, you’re not designing for yourself, you’re designing for real people out there.”

“Be a master of your subject and be a master of your audience.”

This guest lecture was the last but definitely not the least — and to sum it up, a few words of one of our fellow cohort members:

“I’m shook. This is how you end the lecture series!”

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