On Social Architecture: Democracy, Design, and New Networks with Eric McDougall

Social interactions are our sustenance, yet increasingly we face a well-documented, widespread, and growing crisis of loneliness and anxiety in society and among people of all strata. Physical space and software, especially where they intersect, play a significant and disruptive role in shaping our experiences for better or worse. Eric McDougall has adopted the term “social architecture” to describe a practice that seeks to provoke dialogue and action to forge connections and drive design strategies that serve to bring people face to face and closer together.

Curiosity and a passion for art, music, science, technology, and design permeate Eric McDougall’s life. After graduating from UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, McDougall worked in the music industry for six years designing shows and serving as a creative director for dozens of global music tours for major artists. Later, he started his own company, McDougall, that produced creative marketing projects, product launches, sales, and branding campaigns for nearly every major Silicon Valley tech giant. McDougall served a two-year stint as Minister of Cool at social game maker Zynga, where he designed Zynga’s San Francisco headquarters, overseeing the company’s global brand, driving the company’s IPO, and establishing collaborations with major artists that drove billions of impressions. He currently heads Black Ink, a design and branding agency in San Francisco that helps CEOs bring creative focus to their vision, including design of branded environments that encourage collaboration and drive cultural transformation. He works with a variety of clients designing global retail and workspace environments. McDougall served on the board of BAMPFA for fourteen years.