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.

Designers are incredibly powerful. We have a hand in creating the communications, experiences and artifacts that shape our world and growing influence on decisions affecting the quality of life for millions of people. We make the mundane easier; we can delight the spirit; we can make things function better; we can help others understand the implications of choice by the way we see problems; and we can help all people to communicate among themselves better. These contributions will always be important; today, in a world struggling against itself and its environment, they are absolutely critical.

This year's national design conference will focus on the role of designing and designers in the 21st century. Speakers will discuss designing for our culture, economy and environment in the beautiful city of Vancouver.

We have developed three content areas for the conference which better enable us to examine the potential power of design:

As the makers of artifacts, messages and experiences, designers are powerful creators of culture as well as participants in it. Our speakers will examine the collaborative and cross-disciplinary aspects of designing in the 21st century and will ask questions such as, "What is the designer's social responsibility on both a local and global level?" and "how can designers use words and images to improve understanding across different cultures."

Speakers like Katherine McCoy will examine the responsibility designers have to help preserve cultural diversity.

How can designers better communicate the power of design to their clients? How are designers playing a key role in helping business to develop more effective, appropriate and responsible products and services based upon a "triple-bottom-line" concept? The triple-bottom-line concept encourages businesses to measure success in terms of three factors: profits, people and environment. Speakers will look at the bigger role designers have to play in helping to shape a new economy and to position design as a strategic imperative for business.

Brenda Laurel will show us how her graduate students at Art Center are working with businesses to bring more responsible products to market.

Our speakers will give us a deeper understanding of the concept of sustainability and discuss how design and designers can play a crucial role in addressing problems that threaten our very survival: loss of biodiversity, pollution, deforestation and global warming to name a few. You''ll hear from a variety of speakers with "sustainable" design firms who will discuss how they are designing differently with sustainability at the heart of their design process.

Internationally renowned physicist and environmentalist Fritjof Capra will give us a better understanding of "how the world works" based upon his new book The Hidden Connections. This segment of the conference will ask, "If designers better understood how the world works, could we create more effective and responsible solutions?" David Orr, chair of environmental studies at Oberlin College and proponent of educational reform, will introduce universal principles for design that could serve as the basis for a redesign of both design education and professional design process. You will hear from a variety of speakers with "sustainable" design firms who will discuss how they are designing differently with sustainability at the heart of their design firms who will demonstrate that design sensitive to resource constraints is an opportunity, not a burden.
©2003 AIGA | the professional association for design | credits