Tag Archives: Design

Reflections of the 2013 AIGA Design Conference

I have never been to a design-only conference. Before this AIGA 2013 Design Conference I’ve always had a good excuse. Not enough time. Not enough money. It’s too far. After attending the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) in Minneapolis, hand on heart, I will never make those excuses again.

More than 1,800 professionals and students came from all across the country to the Minneapolis Convention Center, one of the largest in their 100-year history. Being surrounded by a lot of talented people reminds me why being a designer is the best job on the planet.

Designers were here

How can you tell you’re in a room with designers? Many empty coffee cups. And this was at 4pm.

Before I arrived, I set out some goals for myself before attending more than 16 sessions and listening to 50 different speakers. First and foremost, to recharge.

Being a designer requires a lot of self-care and nurturing. Reading blogs, thumbing through industry and design magazines and even walking to work provide a tremendous amount of stimulation. But nothing compares to being in a room with 1,800 designers. I tell you, it’s a great way to focus.

Parts of this year’s sessions were specifically designed for educators. And although I am not a teacher, my second goal was to boost my abilities as a mentor, one of the most components of being an Associate Creative Director. I wanted to be a better mentor not only to fellow designers but also my peers.

Finally, a design conference isn’t complete without some speeches from true legends. Their words of wisdom and their presentation style have always helped me be a well-rounded designer and leader. And I was blown away: Eric Baker, George Lois, Kurt Andersen, Danny Yount and Aaron Draplin to name but a few. These legends are key individuals from diverse worlds: corporate, design, motion graphics, and sustainability.

In honor of the conference theme I have nugget from each of the 50 speakers I heard from and placed them into the three words representing this year’s theme.

Excited beyond belief

HAND

Suzanne Powney of Mississippi State University and Roselynn Newton of Texas State University have incorporated letterpresses in their coursework. Because so many people are visual learners, the interactivity helps the content sink in. This really got me thinking about the role of computers in our work. I am an avid sketcher and for it I feel more connected to my product. As we move more toward digital, I am reminded not to forget my roots. (It also reminds me to start saving money for a letterpress.)

My very first letterpress

I made this myself! (Just added that magenta 0, really.)

HEAD

Jennifer Kinon and Bobby Martin Jr of Original Champions of Design (OCD) based in New York also reinforced something we do every day at the CBD: “Strategy and design are inseparable.” At OCD, there are no dedicated account managers, strategists or production managers. They do it all are from start to finish. I find that it’s a wonderful way to stay engaged. Using the two halves of the brain give you effective communications that really do make a difference.

OCD

HEART

Eve Claxton of StoryCorps presented “Stories and the Art of Persuasion”. A writer presenting to designers? Absolutely. Designers are storytellers and gave me some great insight into telling a good story. She showed us this scene from Mad Men,

then dissected it into these five tips:

  1. Make it personal
  2. Keep it short
  3. Tell the story in a sequence
  4. Include rich details, but avoid jargon and clichés
  5. Stay focused

If you couldn’t be there, take a look at my key takeaways in this SlideShare presentation:

Best taglines [Forbes]

My ECD asked us a few months ago to find a favorite headline for a creative meeting. Little did I know I would run into a treasure of the top taglines from Forbes. When you get there, don’t mind the interstitial… and the 100 million ad placements. Egads.

Business Colors

Through Gizmodo I found this article on the colors of logos. Apparently everyone uses the same couple colors. I used to joke that the national corporate color was either red or blue. Now I have some research to back that up. Check it out for yourself on ColorLovers.

Image: COLOURlovers

Need inspiration for logo design?

In my Twitter feed this morning from Morguefile was this list of 35 Best Inspirational Websites For Logo Design. Check it out!

Keeping warm, carrying on in Wicker Park

I have been seeing adaptations of the “Keep calm and carry on” posters all over the city. According to Wikipedia, these were never produced. Instead their resurgence has been as recent as 10 years ago.

It seems a fitting mantra for me as a Buddhist and for everyone these increasingly unpredictable times. I admire its message but also the timelessness of the design and the typography. A quick search on the Interwebs reveals that P22’s Underground Pro is the closest font. Gorgeous.

If this is all too serious, check out this site instead.

“What Matters Now”

Seth Grodin’s “What Matters Now” acts as a Jerry McGuire-style manifesto destined to change the way we think, as humans or designers. It’s been around for a couple months now, but one of my co-workers sent me a link to a particular page that sorta struck me. I’ve included my favorite quote from it above which in response to what I believe is something I’d like to say to folks who play it safe. Download the full version and read for yourself or check out his blog.

Repower America Wall

Repower America website

This is a bit on the old side, but I love the design of this website. Repower America takes dynamic submissions and puts them all in one place. It’s a great way to show a lot of dynamic information at the same time.

“Objectified”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9E2D2PaIcI&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

I am watching the follow-up by director Gary Hustwit. Objectified like Helvetica gives me much to think about, especially about my own life as a designer.

My favorite quote by designer Karim Rashid is paraphrased thusly:

Out of the million chairs that have been designed in the world, how could there be an uncomfortable chair?

If you haven’t seen it catch it on Netflix or on PBS.

A VERY nice way to do labels on forms

Forms can be SO boring. But how about using some simple programming to get them to be a little more exciting? My co-worker Michael shared this with us designers. It comes from CSS Karma. Check it out.

From: CSS Karma

Much more impressive cup: Shamrock Cup

I cannot wait for a cup like this to be mainstream. Imagine how much less wasteful. As a marketer, what a great buzz piece at a tradeshow or around the office. Actually you could put some cool stuff in a container like this.

Found it on PSFK but you can see the real deal on the company’s website.