Wednesday, October 13, 2010

AIGA Design Camp Report

AIGA is the professional organization for Graphic Designers. Notably, they're very supportive of students who are entering the field. Recently, several of our students had the opportunity to attend the AIGA Design Camp.

John Vorwald, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at UW - Stout, Co-Director of the AIGA Minnesota Education Committee, and AIGA MN Executive Board member attended the AIGA's 2010 Design Camp in Nisswa Minnesota with a group of UW - Stout design students. It marked the 30th anniversary of the conference.

In the Autumn, designers from all walks of life and from across the country converge on the lakes and woods of Northern Minnesota for AIGA's Design Camp. This year, the 30th anniversary of Design Camp, kept the tradition alive and well. This year, around 20 Stout students (including myself in the dual role of Stout educator and AIGA Board Member) mingled with their peers from other schools and got a chance to interact with professional designers in a number of presentations, workshops, and impromptu events.

IDEO's Roshi Givechi inspired the students with ins and outs of a structured creative process in both her talk, and at the student luncheon. During the luncheon, students from all across the region grouped together and created ideas for an inter-car communication system. In little more than 30 minutes each group had a list of ideas, and had one really crazy idea and one practical concept.

Both speakers: Frank Chimero and Karim Charlebois-Zariffa went into detail what keeps them active, creative, and innovative. They shared a parallel concept that creativity and inspiration don't happen as some kind of epiphany, but must be worked through. This was a great message and lesson to students as they advised to search for different ways of thinking outside of our comfort zones to maintain creativity with the subtext that it's still very hard work. The results of those concepts and hard work made for some great examples to inspire and stir everyone in the audience.

Following in that theme of craft and creativity was Doyald Young, veteran type designer whose focus on craft has lead to some amazing script type. His process follows in the same vein as the others: hard work will out and will result in some amazing stories. Through Doyald's lecture, students saw how important iteration and process can be for improving their work, as well as the volume of iteration that happens before the final product arrives.

Workshops throughout the weekend were a great mix of topics, from copyright rules for designers and print-making, to exploring the future of the web and design. Students came away with work, knowledge, and inspiration. These things are the point of Design Camp: to learn, collaborate, and recharge ourselves as designers so that we might go back out into the world and create the best design possible.

Roshi Givechi -
Doyald Young -
Frank Chimero -
Karim Charlebois-Zariffa -

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