DesignThinkers 2015, Day 2

2.1) Austin Kleon
Designer,, Austin, TX
"How to Steal Like an Artist"
  • in high school inspired by Green Day Insomniac album art - collage work by Winston Smith
  • as a class assignment, wrote a letter to Winston Smith (in Microsoft's ransom font) - got a handwritten, 12 page reply - changed his life
  • interested in redacted newspapers - "CIA haiku" - blackout poems
  • soon discovered this concept was NOT unique; previously done by:
    • William Burroughs
    • Brion Gysin
    • Tristan Tzara
    • Caleb Whiteford et al.
  • nothing is original; therefore, steal everything!
  • stealing has been used or endorsed by many artists:
    • Pablo Picasso "Art is theft."
    • David Bowie "[I'm] a tasteful thief. The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from."
    • Woody Allen
    • Kurt Vonnegut
    • Bob Dylan
    • TS Eliot "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal."
    • Francis Ford Coppola "Ripoff everyone you meet."
  • imitation is not flattery; transformation is flattery
  • take what you know and share it
  • learn, teach - repeat
  • just keep telling yourself: it's art.

2.2) Manuel Lima, New York, NY
Author: Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of InformationThe Book of Trees
"Visualization Metaphors: Unraveling the Big Picture"
  • we are in a data deluge
  • similar transition happened in the Middle Ages
    • overhaul in book production
    • cheaper printing created
    • emphasis on classification and organization
  • beginnings of visual communication - graphics replacing text
  • search for universal language
  • form vs. function - should be no distinction
  • TREES = source of
    • food
    • medicine
    • energy
    • shelter/wood
  • TREES = visual metaphor for
    • virtues/vices
    • consanguinity
    • geneology
    • law
    • knowledge/science
  • trees vs. networks - tree metaphor can no longer handle the complexity of the modern world
  • the 21st century is characterized by organized complexity (Warren Weaver)
  • the brain should be seen as "an orchestra" (not a series of compartments)
  • humans do not conform to rigid structures
  • tree = spider = centralized - can be destabilized by removing source
  • web = starfish = decentralized - any part removed only grows back
  • value of multiple viewpoints (Thirty-Six View of Mount Fuji)
  • networks/"networkism" - new visual trend/meme - seen in art - emerging as a zeitgeist

2.3) Chris Dixon
Design Director, Vanity Fair, New York NY
"Telling Stories with Words and Pictures"
  • job at Adbusters - learned through trial and error, experimentation, flow and pace of a magazine is like a film
  • job at New York Times - learned about quick turnarounds (9/11)
  • job at New York Magazine - learned about making photographic solutions

2.4) Sebastian Padilla
Co-founder, Anagrama, Monterray + Mexico City, MX
"Going Fast to Nowhere"
  • as a child, had ADD, was not passionate about design
  • graphic design was the easiest program to get into
  • was CURIOUS
  • embraces "Mexican happiness", camp, and colour palette ("Mexico invented colour")
  • experimented with "norm-core" for taqueria rebrand
  • success = balancing small clients (interesting) and large (well-paid, good exposure)
  • no harm in admitting "I can't do it on my own"
  • you can do just about anything if you find someone who has/values
    • energy
    • diversity
    • sharing
    • principles
    • skills
    • trust

2.5) Michael Lejeune
Creative Director, Los Angeles Metro
"The Power of Staying Put"
  • "stay put" = let something grow and blossom
  • LA was awarded "worst traffic in the country" 25 years in a row
  • campaigns begin to address this - ie. "what do you see when you're not driving"
  • "Stay put to learn your corps."
    • know your team, your people, your community
    • replace out-of-the-box solutions
    • "design works"
  • "Stay put to change your corps."
    • everything is an opportunity for clarity
    • do what is not expected
  • "Stay put to be where you are."
    • Metro campaign "the agency of MORE"
      • more savings
      • more lanes
      • more jobs
  • "Stay put to see the future."
    • you are not fully committed until you are full committed
  • "Stay put to be valued."
  • "Stay put to rock."

2.6) Paddy Harrington
Founder, Frontier Magazine, Toronto, ON
"A Field Guide to Creative Adventuring"
  • "Make it big and put it in the middle." -Bruce Mau
  • the number of objects an average human can hold in working memory is 7 ± 2 (George Miller)
  • memory power (rational brain) decreased when faces with emotional decisions
  • we live in saturated environments where we are bombarded with information
  • the tree vs. the web - combine the two?
  • Frontier = part magazine, part studio, part ventures
  • power of making something you can hold
  • "Christian Bale-ing it" - turn problems into opportunities
  • "calm makes calm"
  • finds inspiration from NFB archives
  • find what you love – no matter what it is – and embrace it
  • take creative risks - the promise of BETTER
  • balance risk taking and protecting your job
  • most people in the world have no idea what it's like to create something NEW

2.7) Frank Chimero,, Brooklyn, NY
"Design is Borderlands"
  • things Frank didn't do:
    • draw the cartoon
    • write the original LinkedIn email
    • write original caption
    • write Atlantic article, etc.
  • things Frank did:
    • heroicly and geniusly copy and paste some text
  • apply this lesson to daily client work - be more humble, modest, turn down bravado
  • drop the baggage, ego
  • design as method of decoration
    • got bored - became "sad clown designer"
    • change frame of reference - do something different
  • design as manner of construction
  • design as process of articulation
    • earned through self-reflection
    • give yourself space to learn, room for doubt, self-ignorance
  • doubt should not be feared but welcomed
  • from doubt comes opportunity
  • find a place for doubt in the designer's toolbox
  • accept "I don't know"
  • "sometimes a rose can grow out of bullsh*t"
  • how can you find what you don't know...
  • the question is more important than the answer

Day 1 here.