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Book design competition results

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 07, 2008

The AIGA has posted their 50 Books/50 Covers selections from 2007. It’s worth fighting through the stupid Flash interface to check out these covers (click “View the 365:AIGA Year in…” and then on “Book design”). The covers are on display in NYC until 11/26/2008. (via book design review)

We Work Remotely

This year’s AIGA Holiday Party features an

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 02, 2007

This year’s AIGA Holiday Party features an auction conducted by Mr. John Hodgman to benefit a design mentoring program for NYC high school kids. Also, free wrapping paper.

Without the associated covers, this list of

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 26, 2007

Without the associated covers, this list of the AIGA’s 50 Books/50 Covers winners for “outstanding book and book cover design produced in 2006” is pretty useless. (Anyone want to track all of these covers down? I’ll host (or link to) the results on kottke.org.)

Update: Photos of the covers and books are all available on the AIGA Design Archives site. No permalink tho. :( (thx, tbit)

Fresh Dialogue 23 is an upcoming AIGA NY

posted by Jason Kottke   May 16, 2007

Fresh Dialogue 23 is an upcoming AIGA NY event (May 29) that will focus on the increasingly common phenomenon of the former audience lending a hand in designing their own experiences. Speakers include Stamen’s Eric Rodenbeck and Ze Frank. (thx, khoi)

Winterhouse (along with the AIGA) is sponsoring

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 26, 2006

Winterhouse (along with the AIGA) is sponsoring an award for design writing and criticism. There’s a main award ($5000) and a student award ($1000). Be nice to see some Web design writing in there.

AIGA Voice has an interview with Peter

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 12, 2005

AIGA Voice has an interview with Peter Morville about his new book, Ambient Findability. A question from the interview that everyone responsible for a web site should be asking themselves (emphasis mine): “Can [people] find your content, products and services despite your website?” Love that.

Slideshow of the biggest emerging design trends

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 21, 2005

Slideshow of the biggest emerging design trends according to Murray Moss. This came out of a presentation at the 2005 AIGA Design Conference, which presentation (and audio recording) can be downloaded on the AIGADC resources page.

AIGA Design Conference podcasts

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 29, 2005

The AIGA has podcasts and presentation materials up for some of the speakers from the Design Conference (my full coverage here). Several of the main stage speeches are up, as well as backstage interviews with some of the participants. In particular, I would recommend:

These aren’t just for designers; they’re perfectly fine for non-designers as well. Here’s the RSS file with all the resources…it should work well with your favorite podcasting software or newsreader. It’s great that the AIGA is making these presentations freely available…you’re getting a lot of the conference for free here. If I remember correctly, not even O’Reilly offers the presentations or podcasts for download after their events like Etech.

Update: Wrong again! IT Conversations has several podcasts from the last Etech conference. (thx tim)

And, the rest of the (AIGA Conference) story

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 20, 2005

Here’s a sampling of the rest of the AIGA Design Conference, stuff that I haven’t covered yet and didn’t belong in a post of it’s own:

For more of what people are saying about the conference, check out IceRocket. There’s a bunch of photos on Flickr as well.

Stefan Sagmeister

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 19, 2005

I quite enjoyed Sagmeister’s presentation on happiness…where else but a design conference would you find a talk on that topic?[1] Early in, he suggested that visualizing happiness with design is easy (photos of someone laughing or a smiley face will do it) but that creating design that provokes happiness in the viewer is something else entirely. He then shared three designs that have made him happy recently:

Sagmeister wrapped up his talk with a list of things he has learned and how he’s used that list in a recent series of projects:

“Complaining is silly…” is my favorite, both as advice and his implementation of the design. A few of these are in this video shot by Hillman Curtis.

[1] Ok, maybe at a clown conference, but still.

Conference sketches

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 18, 2005

At the beginning of the conference, sketchbooks were distributed to every attendee. We were urged to sketch our thoughts during the sessions & panels in our books and then tape the results onto the Sketch Wall in the Design Fair. As I was too busy typing into my virtual sketchbook (plus, I can’t draw), I left the drawing to others, but I did head down to the Design Fair to see what other attendees had done. Here’s a couple I found interesting:

Juan Enriquez

More cowbell

In addition to the sketches, the wall was also being utilized more generally for graffiti, both written (with marker and paint) and created with the tape used to fasten the sketches to the wall. Here’s a favorite bit of tape graffiti (tapeffiti?):

I [heart] undo

That would make a great tshirt.

AIGA conference badges and programs

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 17, 2005

As part of my ongoing series of thoughts about conference badge and program design (Poptech 2004, Web 2.0 2004, PopTech 2003), here’s a quick review of the AIGA conference badges and programs. The badges are pretty good. Both first and last names are printed in large type for easy glancing and the schedule fits in the badge holder.

AIGA badge

The badge lanyards are not the usual string/cloth, but a simple length of thin hollow plastic tube that’s looped together with a small piece of plastic that fits inside the tube like so:

Badge lanyard

If the lanyard is too long (as they often are at these things) and your badge is hanging down to your belt buckle, just grab a scissors, cut a bit off one end of the tube, and stick it back together. The program is a small thick book which I’ve left in my hotel room the entire time, preferring to rely on the Web site for event descriptions and the smaller schedule that fits in the badge holder for times, room numbers, etc. The schedule is actually not a booklet, but a series of folding pieces, one for each day of the conference, so when Friday is over, you can take the Friday schedule out of your badge holder and leave it behind, which is kind of handy.

Friday round-up

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 16, 2005

Some miscellaneous bits I haven’t had a chance to post yet about the conference:

More tomorrow, already the last full day of the conference.

Need your help

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 16, 2005

Are you at the AIGA conference? Are you taking notes? Are those notes on a computer or posted to a blog? There are several sessions going on at a time now and I’m trying to get to as many as I can without, you know, going insane. If you’ve got notes (especially from sessions I didn’t get to) and you don’t mind sharing them, send them along and I’ll put them up on the site. If you’re blogging, send your links or post them in the comments below. Thanks!

ps. Did anyone go to the yoga at 6:30am this morning? What percentage of the participants were hung over? Was everyone in black?

20 courses I didn’t take in design school

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 15, 2005

As part of the conference within a conference for students, Michael Bierut listed 20 courses he did not take in design school (I think I got all of them):

Contemporary Performance Art
Traffic Engineering
The Changing Global Financial Marketplace
Urban planning
Sex Education
Early Childhood Development
Economics of Commerical Aviation
Biography as History
Introduction to Horticulture
Sports Marketing in Modern Media
Modern Architecture
The 1960s: Culture and Conflict
20th Century American Theater
Philanthropy and Social Progress
Fashion Merchandising
Studies in Popular Culture
Building Systems Engineering
Geopolitics, Military Conflict, and the Cultural Divide
Political Science: Electoral Politics and the Crisis of Democracy

His point was that design is just one part of the job. In order to do great work, you need to know what your client does. How do you design for new moms if you don’t know anything about raising children? Not very well, that’s how. When I was a designer, my approach was to treat the client’s knowledge of their business as my biggest asset…the more I could get them to tell me about what their product or service did and the people it served (and then talk to those people, etc.), the better it was for the finished product. Clients who didn’t have time to talk, weren’t genuinely engaged in their company’s business, or who I couldn’t get to open up usually didn’t get my best work.

Bierut’s other main point is, wow, look at all this cool stuff you get to learn about as a designer. If you’re a curious person, you could do worse than to choose design as a profession.

Lonely in a packed room

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 15, 2005

I’m sitting in a huge room filled with ~2,000 people at the opening remarks of the AIGA Design Conference and there’s no single other person on Bonjour (formerly Rendezvous) in iChat:

Lonely Bonjour

I may be the only person in the entire room with his laptop open. Instead, everyone is listening to the speakers. Like Jeff, I’m torn: is this lack of a back channel a good thing or does the presence of an online component of a conference make the experience more rewarding?

Timeline of the AIGA Design Conference. Nicely

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 15, 2005

Timeline of the AIGA Design Conference. Nicely done little Flash movie.

Design and Fenway Park

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 15, 2005

One of the pre-conference events was a talk at Fenway Park followed by a tour of the ballpark. Janet Marie Smith, VP of planning and development for the Sox, kicked things off with how the team (especially the new management) works really hard to preserve the essential character of Fenway while at the same time trying to upgrade the park (and keep it from getting torn down). She talked about the advertisements added to the Green Monster, which was actually not a purely commercial move but a throwback to a time when the Monster was actually covered with ads.

Lots of talk and awareness of experience design…the Red Sox folks in particular kept referring to the “experience” of the park. One of the speakers (can’t recall who, might have been Jim Dow) talked about how other ballparks are becoming places where only people who can afford $100 tickets can go to the games and what that does to the team’s fan base. With Fenway, they’re trying to maintain a variety of ticket prices to keep the diversity level high…greater diversity makes for a better crowd and a better fan base and is quite appropriate for Boston (and New England in general), which has always been an area with vibrant blue collar and blue blood classes.

Janet also referred to the “accidental” design of the park. Like many other urban ballparks built in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, the placement of the streets constrained the design of Fenway and made it rather an odd shape….these days larger plots are selected where those types of restraints are removed. And over time, the game has changed, the needs of the fans have changed, and the fire codes have changed and the park has changed with the times. In the dead ball era, the walls of the stadium weren’t for hitting home runs over; their sole function was to keep people on the street for catching the game for free, so the Fenway outfield ran over 500 feet in right field — practically all the way to the street — where there’s now 30 rows of seats. Jim Holt observed that American butts have gotten bigger so bigger seats are called for. Fire codes helped that change along as well…wooden seats, bleachers, and overcrowding are no longer a large part of the Fenway experience (save for the wooden seats under the canopy).

The design talk continued on the tour of the park. Our guide detailed how ballparks are built around specific ballplayers. Yankee Stadium was the house that Ruth built but it was also seemingly (but not literally) built for him with a short trip for his home run balls to the right field wall. Boston added a bullpen to make the right field shorter for Ted Williams. Barry Bonds does very well at PacBell/SBC/WhateverItsCalledTheseDays Park. And more than that, the design of Fenway also dictated for a long time the type of team that they could field, which had some bearing on how they did generally. Players who played well in Fenway (i.e. could hit fly balls off of the Monster in left) often didn’t do so well in other parks and the team’s away record suffered accordingly.

AIGA conference prep

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 13, 2005

In preparation for the AIGA design conference[1], I’m looking over the session descriptions and speaker list. The theme for this year is “Design”, which seems a little broad but somehow appropriate given how much design has been taken up by the press (especially the business and tech press) recently as something Important and the design profession may be in need of a little wagon circling to figure out how to effectively explain design to someone who is all fired up about incorporating it into their business process because they read a blurb in Fast Company about Jonathan Ive and the iPod.

My knowledge of and involvement with the AIGA up to this point has been fairly minimal, which either makes me the ideal person (fresh eyes!) or a horrible choice (head up ass!) to cover their design conference. I’m particularly interested in learning how they’ve incorporated the fast-changing disciplines of Web and digital design into the mix. When I was working in Minneapolis as a Web designer in the late 90s, my company got me an AIGA membership, but I never used it because although they were trying to be more relevant to those of us working on the Web, my perception is that the AIGA was still largely a graphic design organization and I was finding more of what I was looking for on Web design sites like A List Apart. Now that the Web design profession has matured (and Web design practitioners along with it), it seems to fit better with where the AIGA is going (and vice versa). After all, design is design, no matter what word you stick in front of it.

So, back to the speakers list, I’m looking forward to hearing from Michael Bierut, Lella and Massimo Vignelli, Steven Heller, Matthew Carter, John Maeda, Peter Merholz and Jesse James Garrett from Adaptive Path, Ze Frank, Stefan Sagmeister, Steff Geissbuhler, Caterina Fake, and Milton Glaser (but no Malcolm Gladwell or Errol Morris, both of whom I swear were on earlier speaker lists), some of whom you may recognize from past mentions on kottke.org. They’ve also added some sessions in response to Hurricane Katrina on design, safety, risk, and disaster management, which is an excellent use of the opportunity of having a bunch of designers in the same place.

If you want to follow along with the complete conference coverage here on kottke.org, here’s the AIGA 2005 page. As I mentioned previously, I’ll be opening up comments on most posts (incl. this one), but will be active in gardening off-topic and trolling comments.

[1] I just realized all these URLs are going to break when the next conference rolls around in two years or so, which is disappointing. Would be nice to have something like http://designconference.aiga.org/2005 that would permanently point to this year’s festivities. Bloggers like permanent links (well, this one does anyway).

Covering the AIGA Design Conference 2005

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 09, 2005

From September 15-18, I will be attending the AIGA Design Conference in Boston. As an experiment (for both the AIGA and me), I will be covering the event at their request[1] on kottke.org. I’ll be covering the conference as a blogger, but the easiest way to think about it in terms of a conference is that I’m a speaker[2]…a sort of roving speaker with the readers of kottke.org as the audience and my topic is the conference itself.

As usual, I have no solid plan as to how this is going to work exactly, but I’m looking forward to seeing how the conference goes and adapting accordingly. I’m hoping to provide a moving snapshot of the event so that readers of kottke.org can follow along fairly well without being at the conference. I’ll probably have comments open on most posts so hopefully those reading along at home and those reading along at the conference can have some dialogue, with each little world spilling over into the other a bit.

One other quick thing…if you’re going to be at the conference and plan to blog it, let me know…I’ll definitely be linking to other people’s stuff. I’m sure Design Observer and Speak Up will be covering things pretty well. I’ll also be watching Flickr and del.icio.us for links and photos…I’d suggest tagging relevent entries with aigadc2005 for easy aggregation.

More next week as the conference draws near.

[1] Disclaimer: Kottke.org’s budget for covering out-of-town conferences with costly entry fees is limited, so I’m exploring other ways of gaining access to be able to bring you some interesting content that you might not get otherwise. The AIGA is a curious organization and they’re looking at various ways of using weblogs, so they asked me to come and blog the conference as an experiment. To make it economically feasible for me to be there, they are paying me a small speaker’s honorarium and putting me up in a hotel.

In talking with the AIGA about this, they’ve made it exceedingly clear that I’m to consider myself independent and write whatever I want about the conference, which is pretty much what I intend to do. If I thought the hotel room and honorarium would be a problem w/r/t my objectivity in covering the event, I would have declined them both. The bottom line is that if money were no object (if the conference were free and took place entirely within walking distance of my apartment), I’d want to go and write about it anyway.

[2] Although I will also be appearing on a related panel about blogs, journalism, and design with Steve Heller, Michael Bierut, Armin Vit, and Jen Bekman.

Update: I’ve changed the first paragraph slightly, from “covering the conference as a blogger/journalist” to “covering the conference as a blogger”, which under the circumstances is more accurate. I am not a journalist in this instance or any other.

Results from the Digital Information Design Camp

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 05, 2005

Results from the Digital Information Design Camp run by MIT Media Lab and the AIGA. They should have worked on their interface/information design a little more…you wouldn’t know that there’s a ton of student work to view by looking at the front page.

AIGA’s Design Annual for 2005

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 14, 2005

AIGA’s Design Annual for 2005. Lots of good work in there; I saw the book design winners on display in NYC last fall.