Dan Formosa consults with companies and organizations worldwide on design and innovation. He was an early proponent of “design for all” (a.k.a. Inclusive Design). He lectures internationally on design, research, and the future of design, and is the recipient of numerous design awards.


Dan holds degrees in product design, ergonomics, and biomechanics. He co-founded the Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He is the host of the very successful YouTube series Well Equipped, produced by Epicurious for Condé Nast, critiquing in a semi-serious way the design and usability of various kitchen gadgets.


He also co-founded 4B Collective, a group focused on design and gender, and recently established ThinkActHuman to reflect his goal of design for a better world.




In this conversation we talk about:

  • Growing up in the 1950's in the US, and seeing segregation and the opposite of inclusion.
  • The superficial design of the television era — designing to increase perceived value, and to increase purchases based on looks.
  • His experience designing on a computer in the 70's.
  • Designing kitchen gadgets.
  • The need for multidisciplinary thinking, ergonomics, psychology, and other fields of knowledge.
  • What makes a good designer?
  • The importance of asking questions and being uncomfortable.
  • The connection of design and religious studies, with meditation and mindfulness as tools for a designer.
  • Design and inclusion.
  • The 4B Collective — gender and design.
  • The model of collective versus agency, and the difference between a process-based approach versus a knowledge-based approach in design.
  • Qualitative versus quantitative metrics.
  • And the death of the brand.


We talked in the middle of April 2022, and I was looking forward to chatting with Dan when I watched his hilarious and informative product review videos he's done with Epicurious, where he takes a kitchen gadget and critiques every aspect of its design, ergonomics, and function. We also had a short prep call before the interview, where it became clear to me what a serious design thinker he is, and how much we can all learn from him. It was really a joy to talk to Dan and explore his way of seeing the world and his unique approach to design.


This conversation with Dan is one of a dozen or so weekly conversations we already have lined up for you with thinkers, designers, makers, authors, entrepreneurs, and investors who are working to change our world for the better in some meaningful way. So follow this podcast on your favorite podcast app, or head over to to subscribe.


And now, let's jump right in with Dan Formosa.




[5:15] Life in the Present

[6:45] Early Childhood Driving Forces

[9:39] A Journey to Design

[16:46] The Joy of Design

[20:18] A Glimpse Into a Designer's Mind

[21:57] What is Design?

[24:27] A Superficial View of Design

[28:06] Ergonomics and Biomechanics

[31:51] Other Types of Knowledge

[33:02] What Makes a Good Designer?

[43:24] The 4B Collective

[53:24] Quantitative Versus Qualitative

[57:49] Death of the Brand

[1:02:13] A Short Sermon