Download with AIGA DC

DOWNLOAD the second event of the AIGA DC Design Week could also have been named REDEFINING DESIGN. The interactive roundtable discussion that included Andrew McClellan of Fleishman-Hillard, Karen Zuckerman of HZDG, Jefferson Lui of AKQA, Stefan Poulos of Pappas Group and moderator Bill Colgrove of Threespot was in downtown DC at Corcoran College of Art and Design Auditorium. The designers provided an inside look at recent interactive projects.  In addition, they gave the audience an inside look at what it means to be a designer today.

The case studies were for major clients like The SYFY Channel , Volkswagen, Bloomberg Government, The Federal Trade Commision and Cuisine Solutions but the discussion kept coming back to the idea that the designer today is a storyteller and a problem solver – not just an image maker.

Jefferson Liu of AKQA talked about how designers make information interesting. They take geeky things and make them cool by distilling complex ideas into accessible stories.  His message was don’t be driven by the medium but by the idea and about how you can take the message to the audience. He warned against a “If I build it they will come” mindset.  Another approach is “You need to take the fight to them”.  Or better yet – “Advertising doesn’t need to be advertisng”.  It can be something else. – Like an interactive game!

Karen Zuckerman of HZDG has a mantra that says it all. “JUST MAKE IT COOL!” Design today is an integrated process that includes a website, social media, mobile, blogging as well as print.  Be open minded but also flexible and willing to try new things.

The HZDG client, Cuisine Solutions had minimal brand presence. They worked closely with them to redefine their look and presence so that they could reach a new broader audience. Karen clarified the role of wireframing for me by advising that it should inform the design process.  The design begins after the wireframing process not before.

Andrew McClellan of Fleishman-Hillard talked about passion and creating media that matters that will lead to business value but also social change.

His key ideas were:

  • Focus on communication and problem solving.
  • Design process can lead to unexpected results.
  • See the results from the user perspective.
  • Design as strategy includes building a connection between customer needs and enduring value.

Some of his inspirations include:

The work of Jonathan Harris

AIGA: Jonathan Harris Video

His books recommendation were:

10 Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley

Change by Design by Tim Brown

A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

Stephan Poulos of the Pappas Group wrapped up the presentations with a primer on “lessons learned along the way”.

He talked about crafting the design experience but also about the importance of trying new things through sketching.  He showed very cool photos of works in progress and provided great designer-to-designer tips like organize everything you see – you’ll become a better designer that way – Be open minded and remember that the early part of the design process just might bring up more questions! Expect the unexpected.

  • Designers are thinkers, problem solvers and architects of experiences.
  • Design is now more then ever an integrated process.
  • Design is not one thing or one media but it is about creating interaction!

Great talk!  Thanks AIGA DC!


One thought on “Download with AIGA DC

  1. I like that designers are much more empowered now and it’s interesting how the role has changed (from what little I know about it). I think this makes the occupation much more conducive to artists who have the ability to affect society through creativity that builds community (and also moves product).

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