Awesome Design Camp materials created by Little & Co.
I just returned home from an amazing weekend—Design Camp at picturesque Grand View Lodge. I learned a lot and I slept very little. There is nothing like the camaraderie that exists among designers. The weekend was most excellent. Here are the highlights:
Aaron Draplin—Aaron is a designer based in Portland and owns his own studio called Draplin Design Company (DDC). Words to describe Aaron: down-to-earth, teddy bear, clever. Aaron started out his presentation by passing out free pens and “Field Notes” notebooks to the audience (smart). Aaron connected to the audience on a few levels:
- The Nice Guy Level—for giving away free stuff
- The Intellectual Level—for having interesting things to show and tell
- The Emotional Level—by showing his softer side by sharing his love for his dog, girlfriend and parents.
- Again with the Nice Guy—for showing design work he did for free (or little pay) because he was so passionate about the company/people/cause AND design.
Since Aaron did such a great job connecting with the audience, selling posters and self-branded tchotchke was not difficult. The audience became Aaron’s raving fans and wanted to support him! I even bought a $15 poster from him. I have no clue where I’m going to display it, it was an impulse buy. (You, too, can buy Aaron’s merch by visiting his site.)
I found his presentation of work interesting but my take-away is about sales—not design. As designers, being sales people is an important part of our jobs. Everything we create is made for a reason, and we have to be able to explain it to get buy-in from our account team and clients.
The Draplin Poster: Pretty much everything up to May 27, 2009
From Left: Myself, Aaron Draplin, Sarah Hoehn
DJ Stout—DJ works as a partner for Pentagram’s Austin, TX office. Pentagram has a very interesting set-up. The company is made up of 16 partners in offices around the world. All 16 partners are equal and there is no top dog. Pentagram doesn’t have account people. The partners take care of all aspects of the business, from pitches to concepts, the partners do it all. DJ’s office employs designers, interns and an office manager. Pentagram isn’t just a graphic design company. They offer design services in graphics, identity, architecture, interiors and products.
In his presentation, DJ shared magazine designs and logos. Through these projects he showed that the client doesn’t always know what they want (even if they think they know). We as designers need to take the time to tell our clients what is possible.
From Left: Myself, Sarah Hoehn, DJ Stout, Bakula Nayak
Ellen Lupton—Ellen works as a designer, educator, curator and writer. Her presentation was based on her book Design Your Life. (Click here to read my review of the book!) Ellen is adorable, witty and hilarious! Getting the content of her presentation is easier than you think—buy her book!!! Click here to buy on amazon.
From Left: Sarah Hoehn, Ellen Lupton, Myself, Bakula Nayak
Hush—David Schwarz and Erik Karasyk co-founded Hush, which creates design, animation and interactive content. Their presentation was a kind of “would you rather…” for the design world. But instead of, “Would you rather become ill with the swine flu or eat a live, fury, six-legged tarantula,” their presentation was about design:
- Should you position a brand where it wants to be OR always be truthful to the brand?
- Less is more versus more is always more.
- Production constraints shouldn’t stifle creativity VS. don’t design what you can’t produce.
- Should you do whatever the client wants OR challenge your clients?
- Is it nothing without great execution or is it all about compelling ideas?
- Is the process more important than the final product?
- Find your own style VS. style is fleeting, design respects the brand.
- God is in the details OR don’t sweat the small stuff?
- Promise everything. OR Pick two: fast, cheap or good.
- If you want to do it right, do it yourself versus two minds are better than one.
- Take the time to prep OR just do it?
- There’s creative opportunity in every project OR you’re defined by the projects you don’t take as much as the by the projects you do take.
- Would you rather make it beautiful OR make it meaningful?
Detail shot of the beauty surrounding Grand View Lodge
Geek Girls—Nancy and Meghan did a workshop about social media. My biggest take-away? Don’t jump into a social media strategy unless you are ready to:
- Continuously work on it (biggest mistake is to stop or be inconsistent)
- Be real, genuine, authentic.
Visit Nancy and Meghan’s awesome blog called the Geek Girls Guide.
Lichens growing on a stick.
Jason Lindke—Jason is a designer for Aveda and did a workshop about sustainability. Here are his 12 Questions to ask before buying or designing:
- Do I need it?
- Can I do without it?
- Can I borrow, rent or buy used?
- Is it designed to minimize waste?
- Can it be smaller, lighter or made from fewer materials?
- Is it durable or multi-functional?
- Does it use renewable resources?
- Is it’s reuse practical or encouraged?
- Is the product and/or packaging refillable, recyclable or repairable?
- Is it made with post consumer recycled content?
- Does it use toxic materials? If so, can it be used with less toxic materials?
- Is it available from a socially and environmentally responsible company?
Chris Sheehan—Chris is a commercial photographer who gave a workshop on collaborating with photographers. The most important things to know when having a photo shoot are: get perfection in the camera instead of wasting time on post-production, communicate clearly with the photographer and set expectations (no one is a mind-reader), have pre-production meetings and art directors need to be on set.
Keith Gilbert—Keith is an Adobe Certified Instructor. He presented the top ten things every designer needs to know. My favorite tip is a collaboration feature that allows you to share your screen with up to two other people (similar to Go To Meeting except that it’s free!) To share your screen visit acrobat.com and use your Adobe ID to sign in (if you don’t have one, don’t worry—Adobe Ids are free, so sign up!). Click on the “Meet” button. Keith teaches seminars in the Twin Cities area all the time, so check out his site and sign-up for the next one.
Going to AIGA’s Design Camp was totally awesome. If you’re a designer who lives in the midwest, don’t miss it next year!
Pantone Bingo. Very important note: When playing Pantone Bingo, a winner may not simply yell "Bingo" but that winner must instead call out "Pantone Bingo" or the win is null and void.