Design Thinkers 2013, Day 2

1) Robert Fabricant
VP of Creative at frog design (NYC)
"Mission-driven Innovation"
  • good design is good, celebrated
    • i.e. Twitter is loved, valued because of its simplicity
"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." -Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Airman's Odyssey
"People shouldn't really have to think about an object when they are using it. Not having to think about it makes the relationship between a person and an object run more smoothly... design dissolving in behaviour..." -Naoto Fukasawa
  • frog design's Collective Action Toolkit 
    • booklet for people in developing nations to create their own change
    • learn to solve problems, build new skills, gain knowledge WITHOUT being told how
    • quote from participant "the ideas were in our head all along..."
  • *challenge assumptions of HOW you work - embrace new mindset
    • partners do not = clients (create good will!)
    • seek problem spaces
    • align your interests with the project/client
    • be patient
    • be explicit about your values, objectives - transparency
  • strive to find the intersection of social value and business value
  • never underestimate the power of your craft

2) Michael Gough
VP of Experience Design, Adobe
"If You Have a Brain, You're Creative"
  • "we are ALL creative"
  • liabilities of creative class:
    • never comfortable with one answer
    • never "done"
    • often focus on "insignificant details"
  • benefits of creative class
    • ask awkward questions
    • ability to empathize
    • give form to ideas
    • made connections
    • *can visualize potential outcomes
  • Gough on creative process:
    • Deduction - process of reasoning from one or more general statements
    • Induction - process of reasoning in which the premises seek evidence (inherently uncertain)
    • *Abduction - creatives look for ways to MAKE it true
  • Gough on analog vs. digital
    • true creativity does not happen in the tools / on the computer
    • "drawing makes imagination tangible" 
    • drawn idea / picture is literally worth a thousand words

3) Lara McCormick
School of Visual Arts (NYC), Cooper Type, author of Playing with Type (Rockport, 2013)
Hand-lettering workshop

My sketches from the hand-lettering exercise:
And a more refined version:

4) Cyrus Highsmith
Senior Designer at Font Bureau
"Similar, but Different"
  • good reminder - final usage of type is out of type designer's control
  • get the "idea" into every letter - tell a story with your typeface
    • -the better your story, the better your typeface
  • draw, draw, draw - figure out stuff by drawing
    • -blind contours - draw the shape of SPACE
    • drawing letters informs drawing everything else
  • your work is like a river - always there, changing, flowing - similar, but different.

5) Peter Mendelsund
Associate Art Director of Alfred A. Knopf Books, Art Director of Pantheon Books, Art Director of Vertical Press
"Cover: The Art of the Jacket Designer"
  • *Mendelsund was a classical pianist until age 30 (!)
  • on book jacket design
    • should evolve while reading
    • should act as a pnemonic device, a souvenir of the journey
  • advocates self-initiated projects - complete creative control
  • how to subvert the approval process
    • earn & demand respect
    • stand up for yourself and your ideas
    • don't be afraid to prod people a little
  • Final thoughts:
    • "it has to be beautiful (whatever that means to you)"
    • things should look different than the rest - stand out
    • *"Design less."
    • do your best work from comp #1
    • Triage your work and manage your time accordingly

6) Morag Myerscough
Studio Myerscough (UK)
  • do you what you believe in - do what you really like
  • allow personality into your work (you don't have to keep reinventing yourself)
  • embrace where you came from - use it!
  • don't be afraid of colour!
  • do work that makes people feel better
  • SHOW the possibilities
  • Love what you do.

7) Karin Fong
Co-founder, Imaginary Forces
"Heroes: Super, Design, Real and Imaginary"
  • referred to Joan Ganz Cooney, co-creator of Sesame Street - "edu-tainment"
    • education + entertainment
    • teach through stories
  • the art of film titles
    • connect disparate ideas in a memorable way
    • create a bridge from the everyday to the story
  • don't get too committed to an idea
  • get to the core and work outwards
  • *Make the new thing - do what hasn't been done before.

Day 1 here.

Thanks again to Janine at UPPERCASE for this amazing opportunity. You can also check out the blog post over on the UPPERCASE blog.

All photos property of Christopher Rouleau - please request permission to repost. Thanks!