Legendary designer Eddie Opara is a partner at Pentagram, a senior critic at Yale, an Englishman in New York, and a designer that codes. At 50, he’s the same age as Pentagram itself. It’s the largest independent design firm in the world. All of its 23 partners create. And if a partner is not doing so well, it’s equated. Learn how being part of Pentagram, his ‘dysfunctional family’, made him a better creative.
On the eve of Eddie’s departure to the US, his father said to him “Design is spiritual. It’s a way of life.” He chewed on that phrase for 26 years. Listen to Verwondering to get a better understanding of what his father meant and how it can inspire your own creative endeavors.
Foto: Harald Dunnink in conversation with Eddie Opara
This eye-opening podcast is a visual journey too. You can view all the designs that Harald Dunnink and his guest discuss, by visiting the show’s gallery – at verwondering.com.
5 gallery highlights from this episode:
When it comes to making meaningful, lasting work, collaboration is key. That’s why we’re proud to share that this episode came together in partnership with the friendly folks at What Design Can Do.
Eddie helped the world champions of the US Women’s soccer team to launch their own brand: rɘ―inc. It is dedicated to equity and creativity, a community of changemakers. Eddie used a lovely, simple and different design trick: turning the most common letter – ɘ – around, to symbolize changing the status quo.
Ben Cohen, the cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s, approached Eddie to work on Ben’s Best, described as “a cannabis company with the mission to sell Great Pot and use the power of our business – including 100% of our profits – to Right the Wrongs of the War on Drugs. Black people have borne the brunt of the war on drugs, being arrested at 4x the rate of White people despite using cannabis at the same rate”.
Michael Bierut, a partner at Pentagram, confessed his fear of color: chromatophobia. He loves black & white. As he once stated “I admire people who can use color with authority. To me, they seem to be able to swim like fishes.” Michael wrote the foreword of Eddie’s book about color: Color Works.
When Eddie saw the Dutch sunflower gilder for the first time when he was living in Utrecht, he was mesmerized. Through a combination of intense craftsmanship and exceptional understanding of production methods, designer Ootje Oxenaar created one of the most iconic and beloved banknotes of all time. From the late 1960s he was active for the national postal service, as head of the Department of Aesthetic Design.