Jessica Helfand and William Drenttel
Read Jessica Helfand and William Drenttel's presentation, "Culture is not always popular." Bill and Jessica are partners in Winterhouse design studio. Their work focuses on publishing and editorial development; new media; cultural institutions; and education and literacy projects. Recent clients include the New England Journal of Medicine, Norman Rockwell Museum, Yale Law School, New York University School of Journalism, University of Chicago Press and the National Design Awards.
Friday Focused Sessions

Focused sessions 1
2:30–3:30 p.m.
Choose 1 session from the 10 described below. Sessions are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and space is limited. Please have a second and third choice ready in case your preferred session is full. A second set of focused sessions follows this one with a 30-minute break between.

Bias in web design: Who, what, why, when and where
Aaron Marcus
Geert Hofstede’s classic cultural anthropological study, Cultures and Organizations, identifies five fundamental dimensions of world cultures: power distance; individualism vs. collectivism; femininity vs. masculinity; uncertainty avoidance; and short vs. long-term orientation. Interactive design pioneer Aaron Marcus will define and explain these dimensions and discusses their impact on the design of user-interfaces and information-visualization in web-based communications. His review of various websites will examine cultural bias as well as other dimensions such as persuasion, intelligence and cognition that need to be considered to achieve clear communication in user-interface design.

Designing culture by designing books, or, since we’re neighbors, let’s be friends
Michael Carabetta, panel moderator
Peter Cocking
Barbara Hodgson
Elsa Kendell
Are there differences (or not) between neighboring countries’ approaches to the design of our most sacred cultural artifact, the book? As fellow North Americans, divided by a geopolitical border, do we have commonalities in our aesthetics? Or do our design sensibilities transform at the U.S./Canadian border? Are there perceptible traits that distinguish Canadian from American (book) design? Chronicle Books’ creative director Michael Carabetta will lead a panel that includes books designers Barbara Hodgson, Peter Cocking and Elsa Kendall in a discussion that addresses the demands of respective marketplaces, popular culture and aesthetics on United States and Canadian book design.

One man’s ceiling is another woman’s floor
Erik Spiekermann
You cannot not communicate, especially across cultures. References to professional football fall on deaf ears outside of the U.S. or—worse still—are considered inconsiderate; in some countries, men wear skirts, restrooms are honestly called toilets and not everybody is known by their first name nor speaks English. A global economy needs local communication, and local communication needs design. Renowned information designer Erik Spiekermann will show you the Good, the Bad and the Ugly and may give some tips and hints on how to avoid the pitfalls of cross-cultural communication.

A broader view of design
Dan Boyarski
The graphic design community still holds a limited view of its own work and the impact it has beyond its intended audiences. While we appreciate the fact that we have moved beyond the design of the printed page to physical and virtual spaces, there is little understanding or appreciation for the influence design may have in organizational, social and cultural arenas. Head of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design Dan Boyarski will show two very different examples that illustrate how the practice of design is evolving and effecting change in unexpected ways.

Evolution of graphic design education
Lorraine Wild
Design educator Lorraine Wild will look at the evolution of graphic design education, particularly here in the U.S. A designer’s fate–what they could be, should be or would be–depends upon when they were educated. This influence is evident by following the impact of modernist theory in the 1960s and 1970s. Types of projects, the influence of theory and the complete re-invention of the technologies of graphic reproduction will also be traced as will different waves of influence on the reality of graphic design practice.

The power of design: Old chestnut or current crisis?
Natalia Ilyin
When designers get together, after the first wave of chat about “who-fired-whom,” and “what-the-recession-has-done-to-my-customer-base,” they often end up discussing some variation on the theme of “the power of design.” This conversation may start with the innocent comment, “Why is it that clients and the great American public don’t appreciate design?” But then the talk gets heated, and the conversation goes one of two ways. Either one designer starts the oft-heard harangue that “Clients don’t understand what design can do nor how marvelous we are because we are doing it?” or another sets off on the old trail of “Why doesn’t the American public understand what design can do and how it is being manipulated by the images of consumerist propaganda?” This last being a favorite in the education set. In this talk, author and designer Natalia Ilyin, who has talked both sides of the harangue in her day, takes on the conference’s theme of “the power of design.” She’ll explore what we think it is, why we are so damn preoccupied with it and what it really might be, after all.

Design for Democracy: Tales from the front
Marcia Lausen, panel moderator
Sylvia Harris
John Lindback
Elizabeth Tunstall
As the 2004 presidential election approaches, national attention will no doubt focus once again on the frailties of the voting process. AIGA has been at the forefront of efforts to promote the role design can play in election reform. This panel, moderated by Design for Democracy leader Marcia Lausen, and including the chief state election official of Oregon John Lindback, will survey achievements to date and lessons learned, report on ongoing efforts and discuss the road ahead. Issues to be discussed: What are the barriers to election design reform? How can they be overcome? And how can the progressive and energetic mandate of effective design succeed in the often-stodgy world of election bureaucracy?

Think sideways
Rob L. Peters
We live in a consumptive world of information overload, over-branding and overly powerful hegemonies. For most human beings, the world is a place of imbalance, inequity, injustice and suffering. Designers have an important role to play in forming the future. Design is powerful; it shapes culture and it influences societal values. Design can inform, empower and clarify–or it can obscure, encumber and manipulate. Icograda president Rob Peters will share viewpoints from the worldwide design community and will offer information, observations and predictions in a cross-cultural context. The aim is to encourage questioning, stimulate visionary design thinking and promote effective stewardship.

Typography and the language of culture
Lucille Tenazas
Designers are eminently qualified to position themselves as cultural observers because typography can serve as a barometer of various waves of thinking. Perhaps it is an opportune time to look at the possibility of a visual ligature or a conjoined system of letterforms and images, where the gestalt of a series of letters overrides each letterform’s individual characteristics. Prominent communication- graphics designer Lucille Tenazas argues that it is through a designer’s trained eye that we can establish visual relationships where none existed before, and we can trust that our need for personal expression does not have to be sacrificed in our desire for a common cultural understanding.

Focus sessions 2
4:00–5:00 p.m.
Choose one session from the nine described below. Sessions are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and space is limited. Please have a second and third choice ready in case your preferred session is full.

DUX redux

Terry Swack, panel moderator
Held in June 2003, the “Designing for User Experiences” conference was the first joint venture between ACM/SIGCHI, SIGGRAPH and AIGA Experience Design, establishing an exciting multidisciplinary forum for experience design practitioners, educators and students. Join us as we go in-depth on three of the accepted case studies that are now part of the growing body of knowledge in the AIGA Experience Design Case Study Archive.

Good design = Effective practice
Jason Pearson
What is good design today in the 21st century, as we engage in professional practice across widening cultural, geographical, and economic boundaries? Jason Pearson, director of strategy for GreenBlue, the design think tank founded by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, presents an approach to good design that focuses on the systemic impacts of innovative design practice, not just on the way the world looks, but on the way it actually works socially, environmentally, economically and technically. Examples from projects underway at GreenBlue and elsewhere evaluate the intentional, positive consequences of designer and interventions for the broader systems with which they have engaged.

Designer as entrepreneur
Steven Heller, panel moderator
The designer as entrepreneur is not a new phenomenon—designers have always had more to offer than merely serving a client’s needs. But in recent years designers have been more actively developing small businesses and cottage industries to fill the needs of certain audiences—from books to furniture to clothes to all manner of small branded products. This panel, moderated by design author and historian Steven Heller, will survey some of what’s being done, and how to bring good ideas to market.

Tax design in Australia
John Body
Jim Faris
Tony Golsby-Smith
Darrel Rhea
A bold initiative for design in the public sector is underway in Australia. Supported by the highest levels of government, this effort seeks to apply methods from traditional design disciplines to the problem of creating sustained excellence in the Australian taxation system. The effort goes far beyond tax forms. Launched after the Review of Business Taxation in 1999, it has had the goal of creating an integrated design capability for tax policy, legislation and administrative processes. John Body leads Integrated Administrative Design at the Australian Taxation Office. Tony Golsby-Smith has been a key consultant to this effort since its inception. Dick Buchanan, Jim Faris and Darrel Rhea have advised on the project and were keynote speakers at past ATO conferences.A

Protecting creative rights in a global marketplace

Jaqueline Famulak
Frank Martinez
The global economy expands the dimensions of a problem that designers have always faced: protecting their creative property rights. The issue is a critical one and seems to be increasingly challenging as technology facilitates the ease with which your work and others’ can be exploited without permission. AIGA has taken a strong position in protecting designers’ rights and, as an essential corollary, assuring that designers respect the rights of other creators. AIGA’s special counsel, Frank Martinez, and the president of the Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft, Jaqueline Famulak, will address what designers should do, as both creators and clients for creative property, to protect rights into the future. Questions and examples from the audience are encouraged.

False notions about the center of the universe
Leslie Becker, panel moderator
Greg Blue
Xiao Yong
On a trip to China earlier this year, California College of Arts and Crafts graphic design chair Leslie Becker inquired about the population of Xian, the now famous city in central China that is home to the Terracotta Army. She was told that it was a “small city” of about five to six million people. Being from a small city (New York) herself, she was embarrassed by her lack of knowledge of the enormity and complexity of China. In Beijing, she had the good fortune to meet Chinese graphic designer, educator and magazine editor Xiao Yong. Yong will join Greg Blue for a panel discussion that will deepen our understanding of design and design education beyond our sheltered, western horizon.

Designing a sustainable future
Ed Quevedo
This session, presented by sustainability expert Ed Quevedo, will review the role of the designer in achieving a sustainable society, focusing on the contributions that the design community can bring to the pursuit of sustainability, the key challenges we face in our pursuit of being a more sustainable society, and the skills, business models and organizational innovations we will need to pursue to create organizations, markets and nations more aligned with sustainability.

How to create a “solutionist-oriented” studio
Michael Braungart
Janine James
Janine James and Michael Braungart will discuss ways to transition your practice to what they refer to as a “solutionist-oriented” firm where work is not only socially and environmentally responsible, but also profitable and produces long-term value for clients. Designer and scientist respectively, Janine and Michael will talk about how their interdisciplinary collaboration has helped transform both of their practices and has led to more meaningful and appropriate design solutions.

Designing the sustainable self
Stuart McKee
In “Designing the Sustainable Self,” design educator Stuart McKee will examine how graphic designers have historically validated class-based identities in the products they design, reinforcing the notions of upper class vs. lower class or blue collar vs. white collar. He will also discuss how the imperative for sustainable design is creating a new, ostensibly responsible class of graphic standards that challenges the existing class-based identities. By asking the question “What kinds of public identities does sustainable design create?” Stuart will also investigate how the new visual language of sustainable design undermines the authority of class-based design, and whether it has succeeded, thus far, in overturning the cultural values that people associate with exclusivity and wastefulness.

Systems thinking for designers
Terry Irwin
Is the trend toward specialization in virtually every discourse a positive or negative development and how is it affecting the field of design? This focused session examines how discoveries in the study of living systems may hold great relevance for designers from a variety of disciplines. MetaDesign founder and conference program director Terry Irwin will discuss how her interest in living systems theory is influencing her own design process and teaching, and how her interest in this new field prompted her return to school. She is currently enrolled in the masters program for Holistic Science at Schumacher College in Devon, England, an international center for ecological studies.

Integrating futures research and design
Andrew Zolli
Futures research is a powerful tool for understanding, planning and designing for our rapidly changing world. By exploring alternative futures in an organized way, organizations can identify new opportunities and anticipate new challenges, better allocate their resources and make better decisions. Yet few designers understand the tools of the forecaster’s trade. In this session, design strategist and author Andrew Zolli will discuss various approaches to scenario planning that can be applied to strategic planning, branding and design issues.

Citizen brand
Marc Gobé
Leading brand strategist Marc Gobé claims: “Brands don’t belong to corporations but to people.” In an economy where brands are under attack and consumer and employee loyalty is at its lowest, Marc Gobé, author of business bestsellers Emotional Branding and Citizen Brand, believes that the only road to success is to connect emotionally with people. Marketing in the 21st century will not only be about market share but also about mind and heart share. In his talk, Marc will address the importance of the emotional connection a brand can establish with consumers; analyze changes in consumer behavior, the impact of the Millennium generation and the powerful influence of the female consumer; help evaluate the emotional identity and responsibility of brands; and shed new light on the concept of corporate responsibility.

©2003 AIGA | the professional association for design | credits