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.
Saturday focused sessions
Focused sessions 1
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.
Living higher on the food chain: the power of design research
The distinguished brand/identity designer David Canaan has wryly observed that
“the role of the designer is no longer simply to educate the rest of us
about good taste.” Designers who can harness the power of research will
live higher on the food chain, both as independent contractors and within organizations.
A designer who knows how to deploy research appropriately betters the odds for
a successful, even delightful, match between an audience’s needs and desires
with a product, service or experience. Good design research can unite all aspects
of an enterprise and align the goals of every contributor. Research happens
throughout the life cycle of a successful design and of an effective designer.
Brenda Laurel’s talk will focus on how research can make design more muscular
as a practice and as a profession.
Better living through typography
In lean times, graphic design can find itself considered a discretionary investment.
So why is it that against the backdrop of a flagging economy, typeface designers
Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones are doing their best work ever? During
the last recession, Hoefler and Frere-Jones learned that the most significant
typefaces aren’t borne of caprice or vanity, but arise from the compelling
need to solve practical problems. For fifteen years, their work has focused
on providing measurable benefits to clients, and has helped to create an environment
in which fine typography has become essential. The strategies they’ve
developed for helping clients conserve economic, human and environmental resources
are now more relevant than ever.
Used Blues by Studio eg: A case study in creative reuse
As designers in the 21st century, we need to ask the question: “Where
do our raw materials come from?” As citizens of a finite, crowded planet,
we must ask: “What can we do with all the trash we’re creating?”
At Studio eg, the guiding principle has been to look creatively at materials
commonly thought of as trash, and to discover new uses for them. The Used Blues
project is one such undertaking, redirecting thousands of pounds of hard-to-recycle
architectural blueprints out of the waste stream, and giving them new life as
marketing materials, notebooks, envelopes and bulk paper. Studio eg designers
Erez Steinberg and Gia Giasullo will discuss the process of developing a system
for transforming waste into beautiful and useful products.
Protecting creative rights in a global marketplace
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 (CAAST), Jacqueline 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.
Designing for life
The great challenge of our time is to create sustainable communities, designed
in such a manner that their ways of life, businesses, economies, physical structures
and technologies do not interfere with nature’s inherent ability to sustain
life. The first step in this endeavor must be to become “ecologically
literate”; the second step is to move from ecoliteracy to ecodesign. Fritjof
Capra will expand on his theories for a smaller audience and engage the audience
in the discussion.
Give us hope!
Students from five post-graduate programs have been invited to design and present comments and/or solutions to living and dealing with the uncertainty that exists in today’s culture, economy and environment. Generally speaking, we never know what tomorrow brings. Uncertainty is constant. But, there is always the search for solutions and tools for living productive and meaningful lives. These students have been asked to help us (the audience) cope with life. Most of all, they have been asked to give us some hope! Following the presentations, there will be discussions with representatives from the programs. Post-graduate programs participating
are: Fabrica (Italy), Sandberg Academy (Holland), Institute without Boundaries (Canada), CalArts (USA) and Yale (USA).
From products to the profound: designing an organizational sea change
As designers grapple with the diverse challenges of our modern condition in
business, society, and the environment, design seems uniquely suited to help
us find our bearings. Our challenge is to boldly design for sea change—marked
transformations both rich and lasting. Designer and consultant Lauralee Alben
will share the story of a cultural sea change that reached from the research
labs to the store shelves to the spiritual depths of a product development organization
in Procter & Gamble. It began as a quest to build a sustainable innovation
capability that balanced quality products with quality of life. It continues
on today, sometimes through uncharted territory, with design as its compass.
Cultures of violence, cultures of peace: Anti-war graphics in a digital
This session examines the history of American post–World War II anti-war
graphic design, and how designers have used their skills to create powerful
messaging in opposition to war. Using the last Gulf War as a case study, Plazm
designers will analyze how digital media has changed the fundamental manner
in which we observe, analyze and consume conflict and violence as well as how
it changed the graphic environment of Gulf War protest efforts, both in the
US and abroad. Joshua, Niko and Pete will also discuss anti-war.us, a new site
they are developing to collect and distribute anti-war materials to other graphic
designers as well as to activists all over the world.
Companies should–and will–be judged on their behavior as rigorously as they are judged on their products. Learn how to separate truth from jargon as Tim Davis brings clarity to a complex subject, and gives designers the knowledge they need to form intelligent, responsible partnerships. Don't wait for your clients to tell you it’s something you need to understand. Lead the way.
30-minute break between focus sessions
Focused sessions 2
Choose one session from the eight described below.
Wowhaus shares their unconventional design process: a multisensory, experiential
approach that taps resources outside the technological realm. Through hands-on
exercises (including a tasting of local fruits in season), Wowhaus invites you
to explore tools and inspiration found in everyday life.
The best of poster design from around the world
Steff Geissbuhler, panel moderator
Can we still think big and handle large formats, or has our little screen spoiled
our ability to think to scale? Is there still a need for the poster? Can you
display them anywhere (post no bills)? What about communicating an idea at a
glance—while zipping by in a car, subway or bus—from across the
street, partially obstructed, in the fog, at dusk? Come and see the very best
in poster design from the most important designers around the world. Too much
talk? These designs will knock your socks off!
Design as a life skill
Eames Demetrios will weave a presentation from various facets of his recent
far-flung design-related endeavors, including his Eames Primer book, his alternative
universe www.kymaerica.com, the Powers of Ten enterprise, his authenticity consulting
work and his ongoing directorship of the Eames Office. Together, the ideas will
give a sense of the value of historical understanding for the contemporary designer,
but, just as important, suggest that design is not just a professional skill,
but a life skill.
Design education and the future of design
Doug Powell, panel moderator
In order for the dramatic and powerful new ideas being presented at this conference
to flourish, they must first take hold at the point where designers are being
molded. This session will address the question, What is the role of design in
the 21st century from the point of view of our current model for design education?
How can a system already stressed by crises in curriculum, enrollment and staffing
respond to this new vision? A panel of top educators and designers moderated
by AIGA national board member Doug Powell will discuss this and other questions
with plenty of opportunity for audience involvement.
Sustainability in practice, from a design, paper and production perspective
While environmental responsibility is a well-established mindset, integrating
these values in design is challenging. This panel will discuss their successes
in incorporating sustainable principles into design projects for leading corporations
such as Gap, Hewlett Packard and IBM. The panelists will take you through the
steps of how to incorporate sustainability into the communication materials
you design, starting from the strategy and design phase, to the choice of paper,
through to the print production phase. The panel will also share some key findings
from recent studies of North American business attitudes, trends and issues
toward environmentally responsible design, publishing and packaging. In conclusion,
the session will use the AIGA Conference Program brochure as a case study. Attendees
are invited to sit down and discuss the paper, printing and design of the AIGA
conference program brochure, as a sample of a sustainable design, with the authors
of the piece; Jeff Mendelsohn, New Leaf Paper; Michael Hodgson, PhD Design;
and Bob Lewis, Anderson Lithograph.
The value of craft and tradition
This is a session for people who love typography and fine printing. Excerpts
from a recent film by Jim Faris about the legendary printer and typographer
Jack Stauffacher will begin this session. Chuck Byrne will then discuss with
Jack how his background in the historic craft of typography and traditional
book design merged with his interest in Modernism. The resulting philosophy
has led Jack Stauffacher to produce books and experimental works of integrity
and great beauty.
The nature of design
David Orr will explore indepth and with the audience how most of our ecological
problems result from design failures, and will make an eloquent and passionate
plea for design in more appropriate and responsible ways.
Managing the design studio of the future
The challenges of the future are not just economic, environmental or creative.
We all know clients are demanding faster and faster responses. We also know
that technological improvements both enhance our capacities and demand that
we remain current on the new, new software. This session will bring in experts
from Creo and Adobe who are conceiving new ways to manage the creative and work
processes of the studio more effectively. They will share their vision of the
studio of the future and will discuss the systems they have developed to address
your challenges. Both Creo and Adobe are eager to hear how attendees envision
their needs in managing the creative process in the future.
Images and cultures: the challenges and sensitivities
Getty Images’ Denise Waggoner and Lewis Blackwell must deal daily with
one of the challenges that has become so evident in recent years: in a global
communication environment, the images designers use to enhance the power of
their work in one culture may carry just as powerful an offensive message in
other cultures. What are the dimensions of sensitivity that a designer must
develop in order to work effectively in this global economy?