Skip to main content
40,000,000,000,000 DPI

40,000,000,000,000 DPI

By Helen Ip + Justin Carder
40 Trillion DPI is a show about all the ways design manifests. It's about design both as a discipline and a cultural product. Each episode, Helen Ip and Justin Carder (two designers/weirdos/friends) get together to talk about the world through the lens of design. Thanks for hanging out with us!
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo

RadioPublic

Spotify Logo

Spotify

Currently playing episode

Exhausted Emojis, Internet Sex Ed, Water Bottle Semiotics and the Singularity

40,000,000,000,000 DPI

1x
Summer Recap: Cyclopean Fast Food, Negative-Freedom-Algorithm-Training, and (Artificial) Artificial Intelligent Rap-Fluencers
This week, we look wistfully back at the recently passing summer of cyclopean fast food, negative-freedom-algorithm-training, and artificial artificial intelligent rap-fluencers. Summer’s almost over! Let’s get into it!
52:01
September 16, 2022
Silas Munro on Strikethrough! Typographic Messages of Protest
Y'all! We are so excited and honored to have the opportunity to talk with Silas Munro (of Polymode) about the amazing exhibition, "Strikethrough", he co-curated at the Letterform Archive. Strikethrough features over 100 objects (including broadsides, buttons, signs, t-shirts, posters, and ephemera) by ACT UP, Amos Kennedy, Jr., Sister Corita Kent, Emory Douglas, Favianna Rodriguez, Guerrilla Girls, Jenny Holzer, W. E. B. Du Bois, and many many more. Make sure to check out the show, get in on the rad special events they're doing, check out the custom site by Chris Hamamoto, Jon Sueda, and Minkyoung Kim—and pick up the amazing book!—if you can. Thank you to Silas Munro and to Stephen Coles from Letterform Archive for being open to having this conversation!  A few links to resources around protest and design (via Silas): Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture: https://www.nypl.org/locations/schomburg One Archives at the USC Libraries: https://one.usc.edu/ Lohman Center (NY): https://www.leslielohman.org/archive National Museum of African American History & Culture (Smithsonian/DC): https://www.si.edu/museums/african-american-museum Research / writings of Colette Gaiter: https://walkerart.org/magazine/authors/colette-gaiter (profile from the Walker) Center for the Study of the Political Graphics: https://www.politicalgraphics.org/ 
49:01
August 26, 2022
Composures
This week we lose composure over the new Gmail compose button, we vigilante-creep on anono-racist hackers, and we share a newly redesigned six pack (or ten) with a very sweet Japanese businessman who seemed perfectly fine when we left him to catch his train home.
47:36
August 12, 2022
SF Art Book Fair Special!
SF Art Book Fair Edition This week we take a trip to the SF Art Book Fair, a three-and-a-half day book party in a tent—and in the Minnesota St Project. The fair brought out like, hundreds of publishers? Basically it was overwhelming. In this episode we talk SF Art Book Fair, fairs in general, the riso-coil industrial complex, micro-capitalism—and we accost a small number of fair participants with an even smaller microphone in a very busy room.  Thanks to everyone we talked with at the fair: Kaming and Shannon from Inventory Press, Mo and James from Fisk, Danielo from Open Projects Press, Josh from Fulcrum Press, Jemimah from Laguna Collective, Kate and Steph tabling for Gender Fail, Hallie from Mouth to Mouth, Mollie from Irrelevant Press, Sahra and Andrew, current students in the CCA MFA Design Program, Lena and Pete from Night Diver, Chris of Unrealized Archive, Alec from Endless Editions, Renee from Blum and Poe, and Luca and Heather from SFABF.
55:14
July 30, 2022
SF DESIGN WEEK: Panels, Light Snacks, Butterfly Zoos, and Confusing Parties
NEW EPISODE ALERT  This week we take a work vacation at SF Design Week—a five day series of events and gatherings put on by AIGA/SF. We went to a mixed bag of panels, “mixers,” Adobe shit, rooftop captive butterfly zen-office zoos, studio cheese tables, and a confusing party.  AND We have our own first merch! We got so excited about Acquaintance Cards (If you don’t know what an acquaintance card IS—check out our last episode) and we decided to make some of our own. Visit our website at designfreaks.cafe to order your own set of 12 limited edition acquaintance cards, and get really into the world of bespoke dating! 
29:30
July 01, 2022
Surreal Muppet Generations and Primordial Dating Apps
In this week's episode, we jack into the surreal muppet matrix of AI generated image grids—and we take a lo-fi time-trip to the 19th century creation of the world’s first dating app, the acquaintance card. Thanks for listening! 
42:54
June 17, 2022
Earth's Curse (w/special guest Helen Shewolfe Tseng)
What's up! This week, we're excited to be joined by our first ever guest designer/host, Helen Shewolfe Tseng! Helen is an artist, designer, and witch. Her art practice centers inquiry, obsession, and non-linear experience, often in conversation with the ancestral, diasporic, ecological, interspecies, speculative, and cosmic. You can find her work at helentseng.com. We talk with Helen about ancient cursed stones, plagues of spiders, nine tailed fox spirits, youtube brain, cough drops' new look, and the sharing economy to luxury brand pipeline. It's a wild ride! Thanks so much to Helen Tseng for joining us and helping us navigate all this wild energy! If you haven't already, visit our website at designfreaks.cafe! Ciao!
01:04:33
May 27, 2022
36 Days of Bimbo
Welcome to another episode of 40 Trillion DPI! This week, we warm the bench for the social design competition, 36 Days of Type, we dust off our tube tops for the arrival of peak bimbo, we get real at the same time every day for exactly two minutes with the new social app, BReal—and we summon the Sagmeister Tamogotchi from behind a rack of weird infographic Target clothes.  Thanks for listening!
01:01:12
April 22, 2022
Money is Colors
Help the people of Ukraine! Donate to our friend, Anna Sergeeva—a Ukraine-born artist living in NYC, who is sending $$$ for mutual aid projects organized by people in Ukraine. Anna is great and anything you send her way will go to a good place.  Find Anna at: https://www.stopallwar.org/ Anything/everything helps! In other news: Web3 goons are attempting to monetize the very concept of color; Beeple has mounted a physical painted art show for some reason; we talk Ukraine and instant mythologies; and we watch the political poster rise from the design intent graveyard. What a ride!  As always THANK YOU so much for listening. Go to designfreaks.cafe for more episodes.  XO,  Helen + Justin
53:39
March 12, 2022
Trend Bender: 2022
What does 2022 hold for design? On today's episode, we take a look at trend forecasts from around the internet. Is the 90s revival going strong, or going away? Will the much-hyped Metaverse honestly have any impact on anything? How do designers and so-called amateur content creators affect one another's aesthetics? And, what exactly is "Frasurbane?" Plus! We try and make some predictions of our own. Visit designfreaks.cafe for more episodes, and/or follow us on Instagram at @40000000000000dpi or Twitter at @40TrillionDPI.  Thanks for listening!
35:33
February 12, 2022
CCA Strike Primer with Ana Llorente
CCA is going on strike! And we are so fired up about it!!! We caught up with CCA adjunct professor, Ana Llorente about what's going on with the strike, why it's important, and what you as a community member can do to support it!  The strike starts Tuesday morning at the SF campus, with rallies and events throughout the week. Hope to see you there! MORE INFO Follow and support CCA Staff and Adjunct Instagram Accounts @cca_adjunctunion @cca_staff_union Send emails demanding fair contracts for CCA staff and CCA adjunct faculty CCA President, Stephen Beal —> sbeal@cca.edu CCA Provost, Tammy Rae Carland —> tcarland@cca.edu or go here: SEIU/1021 CCA Faculty & Staff Webpage Contribute to the Strike Fund Strike Fund Additional Information SEIU/1021 CCA Faculty & Staff Webpage CCA Strike FAQs CCA Staff Collective Bargaining Summary CCA Adjunct Collective Bargaining Summary CCA Staff Union Linktree Adjunct Faculty Union Linktree
36:58
February 07, 2022
Episode 12: Decorative Jony Ive Plates, Mysterious Chrome Cubes, Fascist A.I., and the Uncanny Copy Valley
Hello! This week, we pay tribute to the majesty of nature with Jony Ive, we stare blankly into block.xyz’s liquid chrome abyss, we go through Spotify’s uncanny copy valley, and we track down Microsoft’s insta-fascist AI twitter bot, Tay. It's a such a journey! Thank you for joining us!  ––– ALSO: The California College of the Arts union is in the midst of a labor dispute with management and potentially may go on strike very soon. If CCA employees do strike, it will be the first time this has happened at a private arts college since 2012. This is a really important action even if you’re not directly involved with this school.  Learn about what’s going on—there’s a piece over at the Chronicle about it, and follow along at: https://www.instagram.com/cca_staff_union/ https://www.instagram.com/cca_adjunctunion/ ––– Articles we reference or are related to this week's episode:  TERRA CARTA https://www.wallpaper.com/design/terra-carta-seal-design-lovefrom-jony-ive Microsoft's TAY AI Bot https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tay_(bot) SPOTIFY WRAPPED https://mashable.com/article/spotify-wrapped-cringe-copywriting BLOCK.XYZ https://www.inputmag.com/design/jack-dorsey-block-blockchain-website-good-vibes
01:02:31
December 13, 2021
EPISODE 11: Costco Influencers, Neopia in Flames, and Crypto-Mirrors
Hello friends! This week, we wander Costco with Chinese influencers flexing their institutional-size muffin hauls; we explore the strange, crumbling metaverse of Neopets; and we gaze deeply into the MLM/DAO, Mirror.xyz. It's a wild ride as usual! Thanks for listening!  Find us on instagram at: @40000000000000dpi Or on Twitter @40TrillionDPI Articles mentioned in this episode: CHINESE INFLUENCERS https://www.vice.com/en/article/dypzny/pose-costco-influencer-photos-china NEOPETS https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/11/03/arts/design/neopets.html?searchResultPosition=3 MIRROR.XYZ https://www.vice.com/en/article/dypzbq/surprise-the-future-of-media-involves-a-crypto-based-popularity-contest-mirror https://decrypt.co/83041/mirror-daos-and-the-exclusivity-problem
46:23
November 14, 2021
Episode 10 (Green): Bad Dad Art Energy and the TikTok Tabloid Myth Machine
Episode 10: (Pink/Green): This episode is actually two episodes! One is pink, one is green. Listen to one, listen to both. Episode 10 (Green): We are made to experience bad dad art with Kanye, Drake and... Damien Hirst (for some reason!) and we follow Gabby Petito’s sad story into the strange world of the TikTok Tabloids. Thanks for listening! Visit designfreaks.cafe for more info! Some of the articles we mention or reference in this episode https://www.are.na/claire-l-evans/corporate-memphis https://qz.com/quartzy/1728767/why-editorial-illustrations-look-so-similar-these-days/ https://www.protocol.com/workplace/why-is-tech-illustration-stuck-on-repeat-ask-the-overworked-underpaid-illustrators https://airbnb.design/your-face-here/ https://buck.co/work/facebook-alegria https://www.humaaans.com/ https://humanipo.app/id/mike.merrill https://humanipo.app/ https://www.wired.co.uk/article/corporate-memphis-design-tech https://ninachanel.com/murals-1 http://www.muzaesesay.com/ https://www.xoanaherrera.com/work https://www.are.na/s-k-y-e/small-cartoon-people-building-big-interfaces https://www.insider.com/gabby-petito-brian-laundrie-missing-found-true-crime-tiktok-2021-9 https://www.vice.com/en/article/pkb5j8/gabby-petito-internet-sleuth-investigation-tiktok-instagram-spotify All our music is from freemusicarchive.org (the best!) Regular Intro Lobo Loco “Last Thoughts” Drum Intro Pika “Drum Solo” Orchestral intro Bach Harpsichord Concerto D minor BWV 1052 Other Chad Crouch, Pilgrim’s Progress Water Features, Age Of Æschylus (Luxury Version) Ketsa, Motion Forward Bio Unit, Solitary Defrini, Obligatory Filler Track Defrini, Acid Grinder Axletree, The Hare in the Moon
40:16
October 08, 2021
Episode 10 (Pink): In Search of Corporate Memphis
Episode 10: (Pink/Green): This episode is actually two episodes! One is pink, one is green. Listen to one, listen to both. Episode 10 (Pink): We follow small people into big interfaces trying to find the fabled location of Corporate Memphis. Thanks for listening! Visit designfreaks.cafe for more info! Some of the articles we mention or reference in this episode https://www.are.na/claire-l-evans/corporate-memphis https://qz.com/quartzy/1728767/why-editorial-illustrations-look-so-similar-these-days/ https://www.protocol.com/workplace/why-is-tech-illustration-stuck-on-repeat-ask-the-overworked-underpaid-illustrators https://airbnb.design/your-face-here/ https://buck.co/work/facebook-alegria https://www.humaaans.com/ https://humanipo.app/id/mike.merrill https://humanipo.app/ https://www.wired.co.uk/article/corporate-memphis-design-tech https://ninachanel.com/murals-1 http://www.muzaesesay.com/ https://www.xoanaherrera.com/work https://www.are.na/s-k-y-e/small-cartoon-people-building-big-interfaces https://www.insider.com/gabby-petito-brian-laundrie-missing-found-true-crime-tiktok-2021-9 https://www.vice.com/en/article/pkb5j8/gabby-petito-internet-sleuth-investigation-tiktok-instagram-spotify All our music is from freemusicarchive.org (the best!) Regular Intro Lobo Loco “Last Thoughts” Drum Intro Pika “Drum Solo” Orchestral intro Bach Harpsichord Concerto D minor BWV 1052 Other Chad Crouch, Pilgrim’s Progress Water Features, Age Of Æschylus (Luxury Version) Ketsa, Motion Forward Bio Unit, Solitary Defrini, Obligatory Filler Track Defrini, Acid Grinder Axletree, The Hare in the Moon
31:36
October 08, 2021
*Sound Bath Journey* with architects Amy Louie and Cooper Rogers of Waters Bathing Collective
SOUND BATH EDITION! This week's episode is so special. We are so excited to share it with y'all. A few weeks ago, we went out to Good Hot Sauna pop up and talked (and sweated) with architects Amy Louie and Cooper Rogers, the founders of Waters Bathing Collective. We had an amazing time roasting and talking with them about maintenance and accessibility and leisure and work. You can read an excerpt of our conversation here. After our interview, we sent them a couple of trippy questions, which turned into this relaxing sound bath journey. So, pour yourself a literal bath, plug in those headphones, and sink into this healing wilderness of steam! Cooper and Amy were so warm and patient and generous and we are super thankful for the time they spent with us. Thank you two! Visit good-hot.com to reserve a spot in their bayside sauna pop up, and thewatersbc.com to learn more about their plans for an accessible, inclusive sauna in Oakland.  Ciao!
29:27
September 17, 2021
Supergraphics in the Suburbs, Wu-Tang Wannabes, and a Trip to a Very Beige Metaverse
Hello! On today's episode, we visit US Government websites in search of pharma-bro Martin Shkrelli's one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang IRL NFT, we think about how design can align or misalign incentives—and we somehow travel through the holes in the giant letters nailed on the side of a suburban house/barn into some kind of utopian/dystopian beige metaverse. It's kind of a Magic (design) School Bus situation. Also, it is a JOURNEY. Thanks for tuning in!  ARTICLES WE TALK ABOUT / REFERENCE https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-sells-pharma-bro-shkrelis-unique-wu-tang-clan-album-2021-07-27/  https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2340210950922/a-q-a-with-the-woman-who-installed-these-2-foot-tall-address-numbers-on-her-house https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7eqbb/the-metaverse-has-always-been-a-dystopia
47:19
August 30, 2021
Sharing Accessibility, Dating App Cafés, Signed Copies of the Internet, and Lesbian Revenge!
We hope this podcast finds you well!  On today’s episode we talk about the sharing economy’s attempt to commodify accessibility, Tim Berners Lee selling out the world (wide web), the Lesbian Avengers re-avenging themselves against corporate greed, and we apply for barista positions at Bumble’s brick and mortar cafe. Wish. Us. Luck.  Shout out to Sarah Schulman, author of (most recently) Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993, for her article on design and protest: "When Protest Movements Became Brands" which we encourage you to check out here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/16/t-magazine/1980s-protest-movements.html In this episode, we also give shout outs to some of our recent faves—including Zine Co-Op HK (@zine_coop on instagram) and the Scott Summers, cartographer-graphic designer of Sonoma's Mountain cemetery walking tour (https://sonomaoverlooktrail.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/2.jpg). Follow us on Instagram at @40000000000000dpi and visit our website at designfreaks.cafe for more episodes!  See you in a couple weeks! —Helen + Justin
42:26
July 22, 2021
Olivia Rodrigo’s Reverse Psychology, California's Vaccine Lottery, and Tripping Over the Cracks in Our Social Cement
Yes! What's up everyone! This week, we're looking at the history of the Parental Advisory sticker design (via Olivia Rodrigo's Sour), we're putting our names into the hat to win the California vaccine lottery, we're thinking about perverse incentives, and we're tripping out on how to create a better, more closely knit social reality. As usual, it's a whole thing! Thank you, thank you, thank you, as always for joining us! 
31:20
June 23, 2021
Font Democracy NOW!
This week, Helen + Justin spend the entire 42 minutes trying to figure out what's going on with Microsoft's quest for a new default font. Along the way, we talk about obsolescence, the extreme skill of type foundries (respect!), the weirdness of corporate PR, and the totally un-neutral process of constructing various neutralities. It. Is. A. Journey. We hope you actively enjoy it (and are not just having it on as a sort of default noise)! Thanks for listening!
42:35
May 26, 2021
Helen's Balloon Trip to Kentucky, The Dangers of Over-Balancing, COVID-Cocoons
Hello friends! This episode is a little different in format from our last ones. Instead of talking about recent design news, we're talking to each other about some exciting recent things we have going on. In this episode: Helen is prepping for a guest facilitator role building a wild balloon palace in Lexington, Kentucky; Justin is over-doing it on balance; and we dream about what it might mean to break out of our COVID-cocoons. Thanks for tuning in! We literally love you all!
39:58
April 23, 2021
Prince Harry’s New Job, Anti-Asian Violence in Atlanta (and Beyond), Filling the Locks of Gun Stores with Glue So No One Can Get In, and California’s Mysterious Privacy Icon
In this week's episode—we are so exhausted! And so angry! We are really just contending with a lot of grief and injustice and fear and disappointment on, honestly—a massive scale. We talk about Prince Harry's new job (and the limits of privilege), Anti-Asian violence in Atlanta (and beyond), the soul-crushing process of "redesigning" "gun control"—and we dig into the mysteries of California's new privacy icon design. Thanks for hanging with us while we work through it all. We love you!  If you're wondering what you can do to support Asian communities experiencing racist violence, please donate to Stop AAPI Hate, and support their work: https://stopaapihate.org/ And take a look at this list that NY Mag put together of fundraisers you can donate to: https://nymag.com/strategist/article/where-to-donate-to-help-asian-communities-2021.html
47:57
April 02, 2021
Amazon’s Problem Facial Hair, Roly-Poly Brain Surgeons, The Ministry of Influencers, + (ugggh) NFTs
In this episode, we talk about Amazon's ridiculous app icon redesign (and the redesign of the redesign); we try and figure out why NFTs—just... why; we imagine some jobs for micro surgeon-bugs on their days off (think, nano-cloud-defense/dot-matrix tattoo) and we talk about the goddamn city of Minneapolis trying to PAY social media influencers to spread city-approved messaging about the trial of Derek Chauvin. It's shady! In fact—all of this is shady this week! Except for the bug doctors. Maybe? Follow us at @40000000000000DPI on instagram, and visit designfreaks.cafe for more info and for our previous episode.
46:16
March 17, 2021
Exhausted Emojis, Internet Sex Ed, Water Bottle Semiotics and the Singularity
Welcome to the first episode of the 40,000,000,000,000 DPI podcast! We are so excited for you to join us! 40 Trillion DPI is a show about all the ways design manifests. It's about design both as a discipline and a cultural product. Each episode, Helen Ip and Justin Carder (two designers/weirdos/friends) get together to talk about the world through the lens of design. Thanks for hanging out with us! If you have any questions about anything, email us at 40trilliondpi@gmail.com or visit our website designfreaks.cafe. WE LOVE YOU!
49:28
March 11, 2021