The Memphis Top Five

It's hard for me to know where to start when thinking about the AIGA Design Conference I just got back from. So I did what I do best, I made a list—The Memphis Top Five. Enjoy!

5 Four Secrets to Typographic Success by Allen Haley, Monotype Imaging 
Haley, director of words and letters at Monotype Imaging, gave a great seminar on using typography to your advantage. He laid out the four secrets to typographic success—Get Noticed, Create Romance, Be Provocative, and Build Commitment. But to be more specific, some of the things he spoke about were: keep type simple, use punctuation to make a statement, use scale to your advantage, engage your audience by involving them in some way, and be sure not to forget the details (margins, kerning, rags). I came out of the session with a brain full of good advice and captivating layouts.

4 DaviButler, Vice President of Global Design, The Coca-Cola Company
You might recognize David Butler as the face on last month's Fast Company cover. In his five years at Coca-Cola, Butler has put the company back in its place as a forward thinking, design-driven organization. This venture includes advertising, packaging design, brand development, and international outreach. He spoke about his holistic approach to design solutions. Instead of thinking of a design solution as “the next big thing,” he urges designers to step back and review the entire system in which the design will live. It's amazing to think about the scale in which Butler works... Coca-Cola is a $68 billion dollar brand.

3 Hatch Show Print
The guys from Hatch Show Print were a highlight at the conference. Along with hosting a session and speaking on the main stage, Jim Sherraden, manager and chief designer at Hatch Show Print, set up a hands-on area for attendees to print their own posters and t-shirts with woodblocks. Hatch Show Print has been around in the 1880's... undoubtedly a historic American tradition, known for their woodblock and letterpress posters. An incredible fact: they don't carve new type blocks for current work—they still use the original woodblock letters from the turn of the 20th century.

2 Command X: Season 2
“Command X: Season 2” was the live graphic design reality show that took place on the main stage, for three consecutive days. Seven designers were chosen to compete, taking on a series of design challenges and presenting their solutions to the entire audience. Each design challenge had a deadline of 24 hours.

This competition was so fun to watch. I liked seeing how distinct each designer's approach to a challenge was—some were witty, some were serious, some were simply to the point. The competition was hosted by Pentagram partner Michael Bierut. The judges included Bonnie Siegler of Number 17, Chip KiddPaul Sahre and a few guest judges.

1 Stefan Sagmeister, Sagmeister, Inc.
Sagmeister spoke on the main stage of the conference and pretty much convinced all of us to take a year off. He oftens speaks about his year-long sabbaticals, which take place every seven years. He uses this time to refresh, think freely, and create art. This past year, he was in Bali, and he gave us a sneak peek into some of the project he's been working on. Maybe one day, I too can take a year off and “refresh.” Watch a similar presentation by Sagmeister here.

I could probably go on and on about everything, but... I won't. Hope this post leaves you with a little bit of inspiration on this rainy Thursday. |DBK

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