Ira Cummings on art, design and the indescribable freedom

Ira is an Artist, Printmaker, Draftsman and Designer. He is also an author on Medium who writes about design.

I called him out as the first introvert ever invited to the podcast (perhaps, others may just be better at hiding it). But let’s face it, #IntrovertsRule. They are focused, thoughtful, and often bring the most surprising ideas and solutions to the table. Ira is one of them, whom I had the pleasure to work with in the past year on a variety of projects at Arnold Worldwide.

In this one hour conversation with Ira, we talked about design, branding, experiencing the brand as a customer and vice versa — engaging with customers as a brand.

Ira and I are also in the process of rebranding the feisworld podcast. He says:”When my friends embark on something that’s so close to their hearts, I like to help them out!” Ira has been a huge supporter from the very beginning of my podcast. Feisworld isn’t the only one, Ira has helped out on American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), Design Exchange Boston (DXB), Design Museum Boston.

“My interest and love for both art and design fuel the pursuit whether it’s for work, myself, all of none of the above.” — Ira Cummings

Here are some of the core themes and questions of our conversation:

  • Why did Ira help feisworld podcast with its first rebrand? [4:30]
  • What is it like to work as a designer at a big agency such as Arnold Worldwide? [11:30]
  • What does it take to work as a freelance designer and what are some of the design and non-design problems Ira has encountered? [13:00]
  • #IntrovertsRule, how does it play out for Ira as a designer? [14:30]
  • Ira’s origin stories (from a small town in Vermont to Boston). Plus,what does punk rock have to do with all this?
  • What are the art mediums Ira likes to work with and why? [33:00]
  • Ira’s version of the “indescribable freedom” and the most risk he has ever taken [36:00]
  • Brand is about experience (not the logo, or general look and feel) [44:00]
  • How does Ira influence experience with design? [49:00]
  • What are some of the brands Ira finds inspiring — including how Zappo’s CEO turned Las Vegas into startup fantasyland? [51:00]
  • Rapid Fire Questions (i.e. what advice would you give to your 20-year old self? What’s one thing you’d change about yourself? What’s in your go bag? [56:00]

To learn more about Ira Cummings, please visit Ira Cummings’s website, art website (Printmaking, Drawing), or connect with him via Twitter and Instagram.

Lead photo by Liz Linder Photography

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Originally published at on April 6, 2015 by Fei Wu, creator and host of Feisworld Podcast, a bi-weekly podcast available on iTunes,SoundCloud, Stitcher and Google Play.