3 min read

Top takeaways from Avery Trufelman on Articles of Interest and 99% Invisible

Where do you draw the line with nostalgia, which design is stigmatized, and how important is it to be nice? Avery Trufelman, the creator of Articles of Interest, is here to answer all your questions.

3 min read

Our very own Harald Dunnink recently sat down with Avery Trufelman, the brilliant creator and producer of the podcast series Articles of Interest, Nice Try, and many of our favorite 99% Invisible episodes.

It was a wide-ranging conversation, covering everything from the importance of pockets to her favorite interviewing techniques. If you don't have time to listen to the whole episode right now, never fear. We've collected some of our favorite moments below.

Avery took us through her creative journey from her days as an intern for NPR and 99% Invisible until now. She discussed how she grew to be the creative mastermind we all know and love. Here are her thoughts on starting a career, agility in a work environment, and constant self-improvement:

“I had to just go make stuff and make a lot of mistakes and find stories wherever I could. And so I got my feet wet immediately. And ever since it's been the advice that I give to people. I think a lot of people are looking for, Oh, how do I start? Should I take a class? Should I learn? Just make!

And I think where it gets tricky is you don't wanna just put out your first draft right away and say, I did it. I think it's also a balance of just doing it and learning and trying and editing and amending yourself.”

It’s safe to say that discovering the fascination in mundane objects such as pockets or keys is Avery’s specialty. No wonder that happened to be precisely where our conversation led. Here’s Avery’s take on a utopian society where no one needs pockets:

“Why do any of us have any pockets at all? In an ideal utopian society, we wouldn't have any pockets because we wouldn't need keys to protect our stuff. We wouldn't need money.

The other side is you could look at all these objects and see the shortcomings in them and the way they could be better, the ways they were made in exploitative ways or emerged out of our fears.”

Avery during the recording of Memberful Design in Harald's working room at Momkai

On Articles of Interest, we hear from a diverse array of figures. Avery is an exceptional interviewer and we wanted to learn her secrets. How do you get people to spill their guts without making them feel uncomfortable? Here’s the scoop on her approach:

“When you talk about objects or you talk about inspiration, the human story can't help but come through. It does come through because objects are made by people and they, as people, come from somewhere. I find it easier for me, sort of ethically, to ask about objects, and then people can offer up what they want to offer up.”

We all know that fashion is cyclical. What we might not know is what binds this cycle together. Curious to get a glimpse of what it is? On the role of nostalgia in the fashion industry:

“Fashion particularly has a really hard time reckoning with the past. Because fashion is supposed to make us feel good and fashion is built on nostalgia, it is about selling old versions of the past. A lot of the new trends are recycled old trends, and all of that is predicated on the idea that the past was a better place and that people dressed better. Everyone knew how to dress way back then, so no one wants to sell a version of the past that was bad. No one wants to sell rags or images of people in poverty or talk about bad work practices.”

Those were just a few excerpts from our hour-long conversation with Avery Trufelman. You can find the whole episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen. Remember to hit subscribe to make sure you never miss an inspiring guest!