BADG to TEH FUTUR : AIGA NEXT : Diary Five : The Storm
This post was begun in a state of near-death (metaphorically and alcohol-relatedly speaking) by its author and completed at a later date. Sorry for the delay but one’s health has to come before one’s blog! Good photos and reports of second-base debauchery from the DO party inside!
Well I’m up and it’s time to blog out yesterday, the first top-to-bottom full day of the conference. Good lord I’m tired, and off the top of my head I can’t remember much of anything, except finally prying a business card out of Joyce Rutter Kaye. Good news, though, it seems I had the foresight to take a crapload of notes.
Friday began with the announcement that Bruce Mau had to cancel so he could take an emergency client trip to Hong Kong — good thing I saw him speak in Omaha last week. Michael Bierut came out briefly to show some behind-the-scenes clips of Command-X, which was mostly the students sitting around regarding the disgusting-looking sausage-wrapped pancakes, or pancake-wrapped sausages. Anyway they look nasty. At that point Kurt Anderson came out and stated one of his favorite magazines is Scientific American (really) which drove home my previous assessment, only switching from History teacher to Science teacher.
Jenine Benyus had the unenviable task of being the first speaker following at night of hard-partying by 2,000 people who would probably rather still be in bed. Her presentation on Biomimicry — the studying of nature for design solutions — was actually quite awesome. Later someone (Pash? Justin?) described her as “so hungry for her work she almost started eating it on stage,” and that kind of passion could make anything sound good.
Next up was Paul Budnitz, designer of toys and things and owner of Kid Robot, and they are apparently the shit with the kids. His bright green shirt set the tone for a bright, colorful presentation titled “Creativity and Risk,” which was billed as how to fuel your creativity against burnout and create your own design product business. Or something like that; anyways they should have called it “Here Are Some Really Cool Things I Have Done” and it would have been more accurate. Don’t get me wrong though, it was really cool stuff, and I would totally buy some of it if they would ever make more than 100 of any given item.
Then it was time for the breakout “affinity” sessions. The first group of 10 or 15 choices didn’t hold anything I felt was of a major, practical use to me in my day job (something I was feeling the conference was quite lacking at that point), so I popped over to Falling Object Lessons about sustainable design, which has become a sort of passing hobby for me since I have a hard time convincing people that our short print runs will make an impact on the environment. Unfortunately, I missed over half of Valerie Casey’s wonderful presentation to help shepherd a project out the door back home in Omaha, over the phone. But what I saw was great; informative, useful, and even funny in places.
Then lunchtime, where I had a complete and utter meltdown about said project back home, and caught up on some blogging. Is that meta? Blogging about blogging? Had lunch with Pash and Steve and headed back. Around this time a caught up with Donovan, Tom, and Adam, who were painfully slow in working their way to Colorado by using some ancient technology called “roads.”
When I returned to the conference I decided to make good on my promise to Joyce to attend her session, 200 under 30 about Print’s New Visual artists from ‘98 until now. It was good follow-up on what they are up to and how they were selected (they are nominated by a group of 300 designers). Like 20/20, it was great to see so many young designers making a difference in the world.
My favorite part is the guy in the middle of the top row throwing up The Shocker. Look out!
Then it was back to Command X, which I am going to stop writing about until the finale, because pretty much everyone knows how it ends at this point.
So skipping over that we were all treated to a stunningly inspirational presentation by Marian Bantjes that she called The Unexpected Nextness. Like some of what we covered in our podcast interview with Marian, she covered her career to this point, with its ups and downs and disappointments and now her meteoric rise to stardom (well, relative to designers; my mom still doesn’t know who Marian is. Probably have to have her over for dinner to rectify that) The presentation was so good when I saw her afterwards I gave her a huge hug, and she said “so are you going to blog about it?” It is also of note that Marian employed the second tactical usage of the F-Bomb at the conference. And bravo for it.
Following that were Christopher Nieman, a fantastic illustrator, who gave a fun presentation of his work and viewpoint on design/illustration which included a heartwarming children’s book (2,000 people simultaneously saying “awwww…) and the best slide of the conference:
Then Momus came out, rocking an eye patch, and sort of talked about texture. I say sort of, because it kind of meandered across several topics. That was how the day ended, and then: Design Observer party. Let me tell you something about a Design Observer party. You go into something like that thinking “Surely a party thrown by Design Observer will be a lot like their site: Formal, sophisticated, dark (colors), and good conversation over a glass of wine. You would be a huge idiot, and like me, oddly overdressed. Design Observer parties are bootie-shaking singles-hooking dance-jamming PARTIES, and I was caught off-guard by the level-11 awesome.
When we arrived Debbie Millman (and later Laurie Rosenwald) was rocking the turntables and I found myself doing a repeated lap from one side of the bar (dance floor and better drinks, including a hotter bartender — fellas you know what I’m saying) and another, more casual side with no dance floor but comfortable couches and the ability to hear yourself talk. In between them was a hallway complete what I dubbed the “Make-Out Area” where from multiple reports of second-base shenanigans flooded the rest of the party. All in all I must say this would have been a terrific party for single people and a good time for us non-singles to people watch. This was a totally killer party and anyone who missed it for steak dinners just totally missed out on an awesome time (there was a strong wink-wink-nudge-nudge there, if you missed it). Also big ups to my new friend Liz for spilling my drink and buying me a new one. Well played.
Also, at this point, Donovan, Tom, and Adam finally arrived. Afterwards and for no apparent reason we walked the mile+ back to our hotel. In the morning, my constitution will have finally reached its breaking point.
Later: The climactic end to Command-X! More presentations that include practical knowledge! Confusion and more shenanigans! Better photos! Check back later as our/my coverage concludes-ish!