‘As I have moved into my new home, I have been really intentional about using all of these objects that friends and family members have given me over the years, so that the things that I see and touch and surround myself with every day are things that bring me joy and happy memories and help me to feel connected.’

– Dori Griffin, Florida

Dori Griffin is a designer and design historian interested in popular print culture and the narrative construction of social and cultural identity. Her first book, Mapping Wonderlands: Illustrated Cartography of Arizona, 1912-1962, explores tourist maps and the stories they tell about the state’s history, landscape and culture.

Dori has also studied culture through looking at covers of vintage science fiction novels and Japanese travel brochures. She has an MFA in graphic design from the University of Florida and a phD in design history from Arizona State University, so her work has both an academic and hands-on component. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida’s School of Art and Art History, and one of her favourite parts about teaching is seeing the amazing things her students create.

I first met Dori when we were both sixteen-year-old homeschoolers looking for a pen-pal, and although we’ve never met in person, we’ve been pen-pals ever since. She grew up in Chattanooga Tennessee, but her academic life has taken her around the United States. She recently moved to Florida and bought her very first house, which she moved into just hours before coronavirus lockdown began.

I talk with Dori about her work finding meaning in material as different as maps and the covers of science fiction novels, what lockdown is like with just her, her cat Milo and all her Zoom classes, and her resolve to ‘use the fine China’, meaning the objects and useful items family and friends have gifted her in her new home.

Dori Griffin Elsewhere

Dori’s first book: Mapping Wonderlands: Illustrated Cartography of Arizona, 1912-1962.

Her faculty profile at the University of Florida.

Follow Dori’s beautiful Instagram feed for interesting design and typography tidbits, and SO MANY lovely photos of Florida flora:

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Next task: learn everybody’s name.

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You can also follow her amazing students in the Graphic Design and Design & Visual Communications Programs at the University of Florida:

Photos courtesy of Dori Griffin.

This episode features music by Meydän under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

Podcast produced by Sarah Bringhurst Familia on the canals of Amsterdam.