MAKR. Jason Gregory

An illuminating interview with one of the most compelling designers you'll ever encounter.
MAKR. Jason Gregory - Autotype

In Conversation...

What brought you to your craft?

I’ve always loved making things and photography. MAKR is simply a project that incorporates all of the things I love and appreciate in one place.

Did you have any mentors? Who or what helped you plant your feet to the ground?

Because I was raised in a home where my mother was an art teacher and my father a builder I had easy access to many of the tools and materials needed to make “stuff”. I almost didn’t have a choice but to be creative.


Other than my parents, there are two other key figures crucial to the development of my brand and work. The first of them being a business and life mentor that helped setup and finance my project in 2007. He has given me a sense of stability, been a sounding board, and has acted as a voice of reason throughout the years. He is removed enough from what we do to have an unbiased approach to problem solving that has been incredibly beneficial.


The other important person is the owner of our main soft goods factory. I wouldn’t be where I am now without the hours of hands-on learning and ability to work freely throughout his massive, state of the art facility. Watching, learning and befriending the people that make this factory function has given me invaluable knowledge and a deep appreciation for the places where things are made.


Where do you turn for inspiration?


For my work, there are usually two very different areas of inspiration; one involving construction and process and the other relating to the aesthetic and conceptual nature of the project.



“Construction and Process” is inspired by the properties of materials, manufacturing techniques, and available tools. Putting an object together is a sequential poem of parts and processes. I try to leverage that to create something new and interesting. Most of what pushes a new product relates to this category.



“Aesthetic and Conceptual” inspiration leans more towards wanting to create things that can exist in a certain idealistic realm; an abstract muse-space that things get added to when I see or experience something great. It always pushes me to do something new and different. It fuels me to make and learn more. Photography, the way people live, and restaurants/cafés are what impress me most often and inform this category.


What’s your (design) aesthetic?


Considered simplicity with interesting construction methods and detailing.


What fuels you outside of your craft? Something completely divorced from your work.


Food and everything that surrounds it. If something is delicious, it’s delicious, no matter how much it costs or who made it. I’m very interested in the anthropological aspects of it; where things originated and how they traveled around the world and developed. I love produce and procedure, the nuances of temperature and texture. Food is my oldest memory of caring and because I was allergic to many things as a child it made me really pay attention to what I was and wasn’t able to eat. Food is obviously one of the great joys of life and I would certainly work somewhere in that world if I wasn’t doing what I do now.


What is your most important rule when it comes to design?


Allow yourself enough time to develop your work. I’m not saying move slowly, I mean don’t settle on a solution quickly. When you take your time and try as many options as you can, you remember each step and use “mistakes” as lessons in the future. It isn’t just about the project you are currently working on, but all of your work moving forward.



What is the best tip you can give a young designer?


Be diligent, take your time, and never stop learning. Everyone around you can be important, learn to recognize who is. You never know where a great idea or ally will come from. Be OK with not knowing the answer. If you are kind, honest, and eager most people will want to help you.


Who is your favorite designer and why?


There are far too many amazing designers to just name one, but here is a sense of where I’m at right now. I really love Margaret Howell and wear her company’s garments almost every day. She approaches clothing as design objects and not just as a fashion - which seems like a more thorough appreciation for the garment and how it’s crafted.


I really respect Lacaton Vassal Architects for the dignity and respect they have for their clients and architecture as a practice.


The “editing” company, Santa & Cole, for their unique approach to running a “brand”. They don’t seem rushed or to chase trends, they just make incredible objects and photograph them beautifully. I also recently discovered the architect Russell Jones and value his restraint, material usage, and detailing. I’m always surprised and delighted by the sophistication of Geoff McFetridge’s paintings and illustrations. I’m also a huge fan of the films and artwork of Mike Mills.


What content are you consuming right now?



Music - Nils Frahm and most artists on Erased Tapes Records, Anne Müller, Ólafur Arnalds, Peter Broderick, Rival Consoles. I’ve been listening to a TON of Ruby Haunt. I really like the new Sam Prekop modular synth album called Comma, Pure X, Old Neil Halstead, some earlier Hovvdy, Mint Field, and Bad Bunny.


I love DIVISARE. It’s an atlas of architecture that is absolutely mind-blowing. Kennedy Magazine and Apartamento are great publications. I like all of the work that Juan Ignacio Morelejo has done with Compost, Sete and Correspondencia. I also really enjoyed the book You and I Eat the Same: On the Countless Ways Food and Cooking Connect Us to One Another (MAD Dispatches, Vol. 1).


What’s your favorite design piece in your home right now?


Strangely enough it’s the piece that’s designed the least. I built a bed frame with a friend about 8 years ago with no drawing or model, we just pieced it together, which never happens with me. The frame is composed of rough sawn, 4 x 10 beams of 100 year-old heart pine that was salvaged from one of the first buildings in our town. It’s bolted together with a crudely welded metal base frame. The end cuts are smoothly sanded but everything else has a rough raised grain. Somehow it doesn’t look rustic, it just exists. I’m surprised by it often.


Where did you study and why did you select that school?


I went to Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida. I was originally accepted for photography because I had been obsessively documenting skateboarding throughout high school and thought that’s what I wanted to do. The reason for selection was proximity, it was close to my family and where I grew up. It was a great school and pushed me towards industrial design even though there wasn’t an actual department for it. I’m a self-learner and definitely developed most of what I do now on my own.


What are your two favorite items in the Autotype Marketplace?



Drawing on “not white” is really nice. All of ITO’s products are very “essential” which I find important in something you are doing work on. I want the design tool to disappear and their product does that.



Sketching with pens is my preferred method and these have a great weight and feel in the hand.
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