2011 See Change Conference: Karin Fong, Jon Forss, Ian Adelman, Paul Nelson, Jeff Johnson, Doug Menuez, Margo Chase, Matthew Atkatz
Friday was quite the day! My brain and notebook are plum full of tidbits shared at the 2011 See Change conference.
Going the Distance, Herman Miller, Dead Man on Campus, The Cat in the Hat, Boardwalk Empire. Karin Fong of Imaginary Forces dazzled the audience with her opening sequences and animations. When Karin’s designing an opening sequence, her goal is to bring people from the everyday realm and transport them into the story. She not only concentrates on creating something vivid in imagery—but she tries to get into people’s hearts. Without realizing it, I have admired Karin’s work from afar. When Boardwalk Empire premiered last year, one of my first comments to my husband was how great is the opening sequence. It was fun to get the inside scoop on the creative process Karin and her team went through to create it. Her team first imagined showing bits and pieces of the Boardwalk itself, rich in imagery and complete with old fashioned music. HBO gave the team feedback that they didn’t want to see a montage of the show—it wasn’t necessary to duplicate what the audience will see each week in the series. HBO wanted to see something more metaphorical and depict the idea of change since it’s a core theme in the show. Karin and her team started to look through the lens of liquor. The opening sequence starts sunny, moves into a storm and then shows the aftermath. The finished product is amazing and emotional. Watch it here.
Ever been asked as a designer, “What’s your style?” Jon Forss of Non-Format spoke about, “The Wheel of Style.”
- Avant Garde: excitement because you’ve made something new!
- Hot: your new idea is getting attention
- Established: you are winning design awards
- Mass market: people are paying you a ton of money for your idea
- Cliché: you are being copied. Everyone is doing it.
- Re-invented: you take your idea, turn it on it’s head and end up back at the top of the list with avant garde!
A good example Jon gave is the Apple iPod and the Braun T3 Pocket Radio. Nostalgia turned re-invented.
In fact, this interesting article says Apple didn’t just get their iPod styling from 1960s Braun products.
How to be as a designer by Ian Adelman of The New York Times:
- Remain uncertain and be open to new patterns
- Learning how to draw is learning how to see
- Set-up is everything: create a way for yourself to work
- Think about how to make things work better
- Stay curious
During Ian’s presentation, I especially enjoyed seeing his amazing dioramas and paper cut outs:
I love innovative photography. I first saw Paul Nelson’s bird photographs on Minnesota Original (if you haven’t seen this before, it will quickly become a favorite! It airs on PBS and you can also watch online here.) Nelson’s love of birds began on his wedding day when he and his wife released an owl! Paul became enamored by the illustrations in Audubon books and wanted to find a way to photograph small birds that usually fly too fast for him to capture on film. He innovated an outdoor photo studio in which tagged birds are released through a shoot. When the bird flies through a laser beam, the shutter is tripped. Super cool. Check out his commercial work here and the bird photography here. To support Paul’s bird project, purchase prints and postcards on the Wild Birds Flying website.
Each time I hear Jeff Johnson of Spunk Design Machine speak, I think, “Wow. That guy is so cool.” He doesn’t just design pretty pieces for his clients, he comes up with strategic solutions that make his clients money. Galactic Pizza has monetized their pizza box. Formally, all Galactic Pizza boxes were bound for the landfill, with too much grease content to be recycled. Galactic Pizza boxes are now worth a $1 off your next order. The pizza company collects the boxes along with their restaurant food waste, which is then hauled away and turned into mulch compost. Another Spunk client is Principle Six which is a co-op of co-ops! Together, the co-ops are able to purchase food in larger quantities, and the economies of scale mean they buy more for less and can therefore make more money. Principle Six has a hall of fame of products. By simply labeling these products, already on shelves in co-ops, there was a reported 2% raise in profit. Check out Spunk here.
Martha Graham said, “No artist is ever satisfied. There is no satisfaction, ever, at any point.” However, Doug Menuez still strives to create meaning in life through photography. He said, “Through the act of taking a photo, I learn who I am.” Doug’s career started as a photojournalist, traveling 200,000 miles a year. The man has been all over the world and has photographed some amazing stuff. All the travel and being away from his family burned him out. Instead, he began shooting advertising photography, but to the same effect. Doug began to only show work he loved in his portfolio, leaving out the shots that he thought would get him business. Doug learned the secret to happiness was the power of no. Saying no to fear. To soul-killing assignments. Saying no to categories. He realized, “I’m not for everyone.” His goal is to “find beauty.” He photographs the story of human beings, looking for quiet moments of interaction as well as gestures and human behavior. The summary? Simply get paid to do what you love. Doug is selling his photography stock at menuezarchiveprojects.com
“Never say oops. Say: ah, interesting!” Margo Chase was a delight to listen to. In her early days, she was pegged as the go-to designer for vampires, dragons, skulls, witches and tattoos! She has done work for Madonna, Cher and Prince. Additionally, she designed the logo for Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Lao Tzu said, “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you’re heading.” Margo needed to change direction. Although famously good at being the vampire expert, she wanted to do more than decorate things, she wanted to design things. She began doing work for Matteo, a luxury linen company, a small company that she taught how to act like a big one. A new identity led to designing the actual linen product which lead to designing the interior of their show room. Margo said she didn’t know how to do product or interior design prior to working with this client, but if someone was going to pay her to do something, she would learn how to do it! She said, “Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it!” Through her work with Chinese Laundry, a shoe company, Margo learned never to assume clients understand design. The brand identity of the company was a mess, with name recognition difficult due to the number of names within the Chinese Laundry brand. Nothing tied the sub-brands together. Margo suggested that all brands starting at the top go by “Chinese Laundry” and all brands utilize a humming bird illustration to tie them together to the parent brand. Go to Chase Design Group’s website to see amazing work!
Matthew Atkatz of Crispin Porter + Bogusky shared twenty guidelines for interactive design:
- Never assume a consumer is interested in what you have to say.
- Provide value.
- Every interaction is an opportunity to build love for a brand.
- Viral is a verb and not a noun. Viral is the result of making something great.
- Don’t be intimidated by technology. Ground your idea in a human need or behavior.
- Sometimes the framework is just as important as the story.
- Share your ideas. The days of working alone on a project are over.
- Don’t be afraid to admit you need help.
- Hire a specialist. You can’t know everything.
- When brainstorming, say something stupid.
- Stay open minded.
- Don’t fall in love with your first idea.
- Save ideas: put them in the deep freeze for later.
- Don’t wait. If you have a good idea, do something with it. It’s not a matter if someone else will come up with the same good idea, it’s when.
- Prototype: move beyond the idea.
- Iterate: work out the kinks. See it. Touch it. Play with it.
- Add magic.
- Don’t be afraid to fail.
- There is no substitute for hard work.
Matthew also shared the top five next technologies:
- Social indexing (Bing, Google and Yahoo are doing it)
- Cloud computing (Google Chromebook)
- Gestural interfaces (think Xbox Kinect but on a bigger scale)
- Near field technology (all your devices will communicate with each other)
- Natural language processing (the computer named Watson)
Big thanks to The University of Minnesota and AIGA Minnesota for organizing this great event! And thanks to Best Buy for sponsorship!