is an independent design, editorial, and research studio led by Jarrett Fuller. Our work takes shape across a variety of media, from books and websites to podcasts and installations and we work with clients large and small, around the world.

In addition to client work, we also produce experimental work, research projects, and original content, including Scratching the Surface, a weekly design criticism podcast;, an online archive of canonical graphic design texts; and other books and speculative projects.

The Design Observer Cooperative's January Newsletter features essay by Jarrett Fuller

Date January 28, 2021
Type Press
Jarrett Fuller penned a personal essay about teaching, community, and care for Design Observer's member newsletter.

The Design Observer Cooperative, the paid member newsletter for Design Observer, recently published a new essay by Jarrett reflecting on his experiences teaching during the pandemic:

I once read an interview with Willie Williams, the set designer for many of U2’s arena concerts, in which he said that he saw his job as facilitating the exchange of energy: energy between band members, between band and audience, and between audience and audience.

That’s how I describe teaching: making a space for energy to be exchanged.

With my students, I can read a room and take its temperature, adjusting my own energy level to match the class’s vibe, varying it as needed from class to class and from week to week: but that’s nearly impossible when we’re all locked in tiny rectangles on screens, spread out all over the world. I had never understood how important getting physical bodies into physical rooms was to my own teaching approach until the pandemic made that impossible. Like each of my students, I was navigating a new reality, my brain pulled in a variety of directions (my partner working in the next room, my toddler often crying between us). There were many days last fall where I felt like I was failing my students. I felt like I wasn’t giving them the time they needed or the mental space they deserved.

How do you exchange energy when you don’t have any left to give?

The whole essay is behind a paywall but may be fully published at a later date.