Ten Quick Questions

AIGA Boston Interviews Three of our Members as Part of Membership Appreciation Month

Over the past month—as part of our membership appreciation celebrations AIGA Boston Board Members Joy Zaykoski and Dan Vlahos reached out to three members of our AIGA Boston community: Chris Pullman, Tammy Dayton, and Tarin Karimbux. With each member, we conducted rapid-fire interviews using a set of ten questions. Below are the ten questions followed by some of our notes, and if you are interested—which we know you are—we have embedded YouTube links to the actual interviews in all their Zoomified glory below. But before you dive right in, we want to make one quick plug: please join us on Tuesday, October 4th, for our annual AIGA Boston Community Meeting.

  1. What (in your opinion) makes the Boston design community special?
  2. How did you first hear about AIGA?
  3. Who is your favorite living designer, and why?
  4. What typeface would you never use for a wedding invitation?
  5. What would be your dream project?
  6. What could designers be doing better?
  7. What do you predict for the future of design?
  8. What inspired you to become a designer?
  9. Favorite source for inspiration?
  10. What was your first job? What is your current role?

Now that you know what questions we asked, here are just a few of the cool things we learned.

Notes on Our Interview with Chris Pullman

Chris Pullman is a bit legendary in the Boston design community. For so many graphic/communication designers, especially in the Boston-area, all roads frequently lead back to Pullman. This is perhaps a product of his leadership at WGBH, Yale, The Society of Printers, and of course, AIGA. Pullman is now in his 56th year on the faculty at Yale, where he is currently teaching Motion Design—a skill he learned on the job at WGBH. He is always ready to “chip in” on all things that elevate and celebrate graphic design in our community. It is worth noting that Pullman won two of the highest possible honors from AIGA. The first was the Corporate Leadership Award (1985) for his work leading design for the Boston public broadcasting network WGBH, and the second was the AIGA Medal (2002) for his achievement as a designer and teacher.

According to our membership database—which we would not call “trusty”—Pullman first joined AIGA in 1971. If true, that would make Pullman our longest-standing continuous Boston member. According to Pullman, he did not move to Boston until around 1973; thus, he may have become a member of another AIGA chapter before joining Boston. But we won’t hold that against him.

Pullman appeared for our interview from his home studio, which, at the time of the recording, was overflowing with his wonderfully detailed, recent paintings of crabs and other sea creatures. 

Pullman believes that the Boston design community is unique because Boston is an extraordinary city. Pullman states that in Boston, “there is so much education and so much technology…and all of them need designers.” He goes on to say that Boston is a city that “makes designers and uses them.”

When asked who his favorite living designer is, Pullman points to Michael Bierut of Pentagram, who was, as Pullman proudly points out, an intern of his at WGBH. Pullman says that Bierut “not only has a gift for design…but has become a spokesperson for the profession.” Pullman describes Bierut as “articulate, funny, welcoming and kind—and he has great ideas.” As Pullman also points out, Bierut was also the co-founder of Design Observer.

Lastly, we discovered some little-known things about Pullman in our interview. When asked what typeface he would never use on a wedding invitation. Chris immediately responds with, Hobo, which upon further investigation, we found out was designed in the early 1900s by Morris Fuller Benton. And when asked about his first “job,” Pullman describes working in a fruit market in Wilmette, Illinois. However, his first “real” design job was designing posters for the Yale Symphony Orchestra.

Notes on Our Interview with Tammy Dayton

While neither of us had ever met Tammy Dayton before our interview, we had long heard that she was a fabulous local designer and a sharp design strategist. When we reached out to Dayton for an interview, we got a nearly instantaneous “yes.” We were so impressed with Dayton as we learned how she has, and continues to contribute to the Boston design and cultural community and beyond. Needless to say, in our interview, we learned much about this hidden gem.

Dayton estimates that she first joined AIGA in the late 90s after studying design at Parsons and later MassArt. In 2003 she founded Moth Design after spending her early career as a designer working on some of the first digitized maps in New York City, and then alongside Clif Stoltze in Boston.

Dayton was born and raised just outside of Boston (in Burlington, MA) and credited her high school art program with first exposing her to graphic design. As it turns out, Apple had donated computers to her high school and, according to Dayton, she was later hired to do freelance work at Pentagram in New York City because she was among the few at the time who knew how to use Photoshop (Photoshop version 1.0 for the record).

Dayton’s love for Boston is evident in many ways. She sees Boston as a vibrant and “smart” city and is particularly energized by the culture and arts scene. Her firm’s work reflects this passion as it has helped formulate brand identities for the MassArt Art Museum, the MIT List Visual Arts Center, and many others.

When asked what inspires her now, Dayton points to Paula Scher, also of Pentagram, whom she admires not only as a designer but also as a female leader in the profession. She also cites Bobby C. Martin Jr. and his firm Champions as someone who is creating new pathways in design. Lastly, she mentions Dawn Hancock, founder of Firebelly—a firm she says is doing phenomenal, smart, thoughtful, mission-focused work.

And now for the fun part. When asked what typeface she would never use on a wedding invitation, Dayton says, “whenever I am asked to do a wedding invitation, I run for the hills”—while admitting that she made a one-time exception for her sister.

Lastly, during our interview, Dayton shared some very fresh and exciting news with us. Outside of Moth, Dayton has been working behind the scenes providing Creative Direction for, and helping to launch Probable Futures, an unconventional initiative that brings together leaders across culture, business, technology, and design, in collaboration with scientists at the renowned Woodwell Climate Research Center.

Notes on Our Interview with Tarin Karimbux

As a new AIGA Boston member, Tarin Karimbux joined the organization earlier this year. Karimbux is one of our most recent vibrant Boston-area members. In our interview, this emerging designer shared his thoughts on design, the future of design—and the importance of design research.

Karimbux holds a B.A. in race, ethnicity, and migration studies (REMS) with a focus on history from Colorado College and is currently working for MullenLowe Boston as a junior designer. He is, in our humble opinion—very cool. Karimbux was brought up right in Boston (West Roxbury). According to Karimbux, his dad is from Kenya, and his mom is from Singapore. His first foray into design was in high school when he began silk screening his own line of tee shirts.

Karimbux sees design as a bridge between the client and the public. He first heard about AIGA from Joe Marianek during his internship for the Brooklyn-based record label Cinematic, and during the time he spent working for the west coast arts and culture magazine Marvin. He also credits Brian Moore, who was his mentor through AIGA’s mentorship program this past year. Karimbux says Moore provided him with great advice regarding his design career.

Karimbux has more than plenty to share regarding inspiration and who inspires him. In our interview, he mentioned Hassan Rahim and his studio 12:01am, who, according to The One Club, deals in “stark, esoteric imagery; it doesn’t recoil from darkness.” At one point, Karimbux says he reached out to Rahim for advice, and they have remained connected ever since. Karimbux also admires the work of Noah Baker, Justin Hunt Sloan, Brian Collins, and Somnath Bhatt.

We loved Karimbux’s rebellious response to the question about what fonts to avoid on wedding invitations. He says he would never use *gasp* a script font. He thinks a better choice for something as special as a wedding might even be a typeface that is in some way bespoke [emphasis ours].

Karimbux would love to do more work for musicians and work on projects that require design research—which is also one of the things that he believes we [graphic designers] could all be doing better. He also believes that we could and should see more original work, or “new visual systems,” as he put it, in the near future.

Lastly, Karimbux shared that he finds inspiration in countless books and magazines. He goes on to mention Sneeze Magazine, The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton, books featuring the work of the late Milton Glaser, and Dilla Time, a book on the life of producer J Dilla.

Post-Spoiler Spoiler Alert and Thanks

That may or may not be all the news fit to share. We don’t know. If, however, you’re still having interview fomo feel free to check out the full interviews below. Or just listen to them, but do not watch, listen and drive—that’s just a bad idea. Moreover, we sincerely thank Chris Pullman, Tammy Dayton, and Tarin Karimbux for their thoughtfulness, generosity, and time. And, of course, we want to thank them and all our AIGA Boston members, for that matter. Are you an AIGA member? If not, you know that you can always change that.

Joy Zaykoski and Dan Vlahos
Co-Directors, Membership Experience
AIGA Boston Board of Directors

Note: These three videos will be posted very soon. Please stay tuned!

By Joy Zaykoski and Dan Vlahos
Published October 4, 2022