Jon Otis on the Imagine a Place podcast by OFS

Design through the eyes of Jon Otis

Have you thanked a teacher lately? Somewhere out there is a teacher that has helped you become who you are today. Well, for so many in the world of architecture and design, that teacher is Jon Otis. Jon is widely known in this industry for so many reasons. He’s on the international board of directors for IIDA, he’s a professor at Pratt, runs his own practice, Object Agency and he’s champion of diversity and inclusion inside the profession of design. In this episode, Jon shares the lessons on design that he never lets a student leave without.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Design careers
  • Teaching design
  • The future of design
  • Design career advice

More about Jon Otis: 

Founder and principal of OlA—Object Agency, a multidisciplinary design studio and design strategy agency whose work includes interior architecture and design, exhibition design, branding and visual communications, product design, web/media design, and strategic consulting; clients include Sundance Channel, Nike, General Motors, Mercedes NA, Corning Museum of Glass, Vitra Design Museum, Tandus l Centiva, George Nakashima Woodworker, American Seating Company, Edelman Leather, Bentley Mills, National Basketball Players Association, St. Nick's Alliance, and various residences for private clients; awards include a Fulbright, a Lusk Fellowship to Italy, and Design Intelligence’s Most Admired Educator in 2009; was guest editor/curator for Phaidon Press’ Room (2014); is active in the AAM, IDEC, IIDA, IDSA, and AIGA, and has lectured at American universities, at industry conferences (NeoCon), and in Canada, Singapore, Finland, and France.

Professor Otis was named IIDA Educator of the Year in 2017. He is also Vice President on the IIDA International Board of Directors and in 2018 Founded the Diversity by Design Foundation (dxdf), a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance educational initiatives that increase awareness of opportunities in design, cultivating a field that actively embraces the diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, nationality, disability, socioeconomic standing, and intellectual viewpoint.

Related Imagine a Place episodes:

Angie Lee: Design is a love story

Stacy Garcia: A pep talk for a life in design

Manny Navarro: Lighten up a little

Watch more from Jon Otis and Imagine a Place: 


  • Doug Shapiro
  • Jon Otis
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