Thursday, April 17, 2008

Keynote - Thursday

After the 3am wakeup - finally fell back asleep around 5am. And promptly overslept.....

Presentation: Things I've Learned in my Life so Far
Presenter: Stefan Sagmeister

A video of the approximate talk can be found at the TED website.

Design for Music - record covers etc. Design for music industry right now - not a great business.
- "Tough to do gutsy work in an industy ruled by fear."
- Also includes building "identity", logo
+ Didn't want to do a representation of a building (Casa de Music).
+ Koolhaus building - still a logo (very distinctive) - look from all sides (6 total)
+ Added color - scanned an image (in this case - famous picture of beethoven) and gave color to logo to match the logo.
+ No set color - depend on the image
+ neat thing - all advertising can come out of it and communication.
+ Something simple can become very distinctive

Socially Responsible Design - group that wants to cut 15% of pentagon budget and move to education
- This particular group has funding and a chance of succeeding
- Direct client happy to experiment - can try out lots of stuff. Multiple ways to represent the same idea.
- Inflatable graphs
- A TV commercial (Mos Def) (
- Lots of vehicles (3 little pigs) Anchor forced to explain what about
- Easy to get volunteers to drive these things

Corporate Design - not passionate about this, but $$$$
- Corporations have clear hierarchy, makes it easier to design
- Beginning to enjoy it more - how to be created
- Took entire photography and illustration budget and spent on cover (indented) - so can then shoot the cover under different lighting conditions.
- 1 idea - multiple, slightly different iterations.

Every 7 years - close studio and that an "experimental year"
- Fernand Adria (chef) - open 6 months, experiments 6 months
- Found for himself - a different quality to a year when you explore where there is no pressure.
- The need applies to most professions where creativity a role. From 5 minutes in the morning or 20% of time to pursue own stuff to sabatical year.
- Lots of things come out of those years
+ Reorg of studio
+ All studio does have to do with promoting and selling, 5% the actual work in. Thought it was a bit out of whack
- Because not available - unavailability can create desire. Good number of clients more willing to give jobs with unprecedented freedom.
Unlimited freedom can be a very difficult thing to deal with.
- Took a list of things, then pick one and made it the 6 double spread pages.
- Surprised got very good feedback and a number of people asking for prints.

- Interest came because it was personal

In many fields connected with design (form / function), much has become mechanical. THere is room for a subjective point of view (follows with what Mark and Brent were saying during yesterday's conversations)
- Can be good. Can be stale
- Audience may not realize that a person behind any creation - design. "The machine makes the newspaper."

Often republished - as republished more, the quality of response improved..
- Often redesigned by the person.

2nd client Paris - we have billboards - do something
- Took big camera through arizona - took one picture every day.
- Put up so one vantage point of in sequence (again, one line of things he learned)
- (Became something of a regular schtick)

Everybody Thinks They Are Always Right - basis of conflicts.

- 1st iteration ( Esquire Mag tokyo) - peeing in the air (which turned out to be the main advertiser)
- 2nd iteration in scotland - 1 word per city (same phrase)
+ Wanted to create media event. 1 big inflatable monkey per city with a word.

The monkeys made it around.
Bali's reaction to 2002 bombing. Encouraged everyone to look within vs. external retaliation.
- Everyone involved now in prison. Done quietly.

US reaction to 9/11. External retaliation
- Few in prison
- More died as result of reaction

Helping Other People Helps Me
- Did light boxes for this one
- Sign painter at end of 19th century - you were a graphic designer

Form and Content
- 1st thing a designer will do is relate the form and content
- Try to separate it sometimes

(at this point he loses his powerpoint. We know how you feel!!!!!!)

(He started being successful because of the personal)

Started the diary when 12. The ideas came out of that. (like most of us - there are years missing).

In Business Week - best addition to business life was keeping a business diary. He tried to do both - but his life is too fuzzy.

Friday morning exercise (or saturday morning exercise).

(For me - this is what the blog serves.) A reflection tool


If I want to explore a new direction professionally it is helpful to try it out for myself first


Self-censorship is the reason why he feels he does mediocre work rather than the client's demands.

This video shows some of the process behind one of his contractual installations.


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