Digital Print, Design & Happiness!

The DSEE Digital Print and Design Conference held some surprising charms last week. First due to some untimely fog in the Washington DC area, the keynote address by Stefan Sagmeister was moved to 4 in the afternoon not the scheduled 9:15 am.

Digital Print & Design Conference 2012What could have been a uncomfortable situation was saved by the outstanding Decoding the Power of Cross-Media presentation with Droga5. Hashem Bajwa and Neil Heyman provided a case study in creative smarts with a detailed discussion of the project, Decode Jay-Z with Bing.

With Decode Jay-Z with Bing, Droga5 engaged in what they called “method advertising”. The Droga 5 team immersed themselves in the culture of hip-hop. The result was a marketing campaign for Jay-Z’s biography ,“Decode”, that was fused with a campaign for Bing. It all derived from the hip-hop technique of sampling.

They took the book campaign into the locations of Jay-Z’s life by printing out large scale pages from his book and installing the pages in the locations described on a particular page. Using the bing engine, they created an interactive location-based game that required users/players to visit the page in order to play.

Later in the afternoon, Jake Lefebure of Design Army shared that his team starts projects with a sketch and they scan and save them all. I felt validated. I love to sketch and visualize on paper.

Another tactile item of note is that Design Army’s work requires them to keep a great deal of storage space since often they prefer the look that comes from a real environment and real props rather than something that is manipulated on the computer. They are very particular about the projects that they take on which include extensive photo shoots for the Washington Bride & Groom Magazine.

When Stefan arrived, the weather had cleared. He talked about his happiness project and shared some footage from his first documentary, “The Happy Film”. His ideas about taking a sabbatical every five years and how that can actually benefit you financially was of interest to the audience of overworked Washingtonians.

He also was the third designer/artist of the day to talk about how it important it was to start the design process away from the computer.

” There is something about being trained in design mechanically that sets up a need for problems to be worked on in three dimensional space not the flat screen. “

A key example was a Levi’s campaign where a pair of jeans was deconstructed and an image of a fly was constructed from buttons. Fun and certainly tactile!!

Thank you to the sponsors for the inspiring content and happy day!