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Posts Tagged ‘Bonnie Siegler’

Official UnBeige AIGA NEXT Roundup

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Even though we still can’t get that Command X theme music out of our head (damn you all, Open, Agoraphone and The Plasticines!), we’ve finally had a few days to contemplate the AIGA NEXT conference in its entirety. Although we had a slight peek at the innerworkings while serving on the planning committee, in the end we were just sitting there in the audience watching, as surprised (and/or delighted) as you were. Here are the highs and lows:

Command-ing the lead: We admit, we had our doubts about a “Project Runway” for graphic design. But not only was Command X the highlight of the conference, it gave great insight into how design actually works–and how fast, funny and brilliant designers are. Winner Nichelle Narcisi‘s incredible finale also ended the conference on the perfect teary, triumphant note.

Talkin’ ’bout my generation: Maybe it was simply in line with the theme (“Next”), but we can’t applaud this conference enough for shifting attention to the youngsters. The brilliant Command X forged seven new young superstars and the 20 one-minute presentations that opened the first night were all by up-and-comers (and better than we ever remembered). It was great to see the older and wiser take a backseat to youth for once.

Someone get this guy an agent: Drew Carey should not have gotten Bob Barker‘s gig on “The Price is Right.” That job should have gone to a man who is long overdue for his big showbiz debut, Michael Bierut.

Everything in moderation: Golden-voiced Kurt Andersen was the best moderator we’ve ever seen at one of these things. Witty, efficient and blissfully deadpan, Andersen asked incredibly intelligent questions tempered with just enough cynicism to keep things real.

Three people we’re running away with: Janine Benyus, Marian Bantjes and Alex Steffen wowed us with solutions that proved great design is natural, personal and sustainable, and, in the end, always–always–beautiful.

You can’t win ‘em all: Of course, there were a few duds. Momus‘ mainstage presentation was probably brilliant but unfocused to the point of befuddlement. Wrapping a design conference with an awesome visual application that doesn’t work on Macs was a big mistake. And even though it made good diversity efforts, the lineup was incredibly New York-centric. One might even argue specifically SVA-centric.

Worst information graphics: Upon entering the Denver Art Museum for the closing party, guests were handed a map which hinted at treasure troves of food and drink stashed in various corners of the galleries. Never mind that the Denver Art Museum is a perplexing heap of angular ADD (Daniel Libeskind must design like he talks), the ambiguous map forced us to mount great expeditions in search of circulating lamb lollipops and the elusive chicken potstickers. Luckily, the martini bar was in plain view.

Best party: Duh.

Best overheard quote in design history: When another designer worried that a former employee may have been bipolar, Dana Arnett brought perspective to the situation: “Bipolar can work, though. They present one idea, then they present another totally different idea. It’s great for clients.”

Sure to see traffic spikes this week: Design Observer lead with the most overall impressions, mentioned in many affinity sessions, at least seven times on the mainstage, and in all the conference materials as a sponsor. Second place goes to Very Short List, which got two plugs on the mainstage (Andersen is a founder, ahem).

Okay, we get it, you’re Democrats: We stopped counting the anti-Bush attacks after we hit the number of years he’s been in office. We know that designers are traditionally left-leaning. But any Republicans in the audience would have been pretty darn uncomfortable, and we’re not sure that’s altogether appropriate.

On the other hand…: There was something to the fact that the same day Al Gore won the Nobel Prize, one of our own jetted up there to work closely with him on his Alliance for Climate Protection. Or maybe that because of AIGA, people across the country will be be voting on redesigned ballots next election. Or maybe it was just AIGA president Sean AdamsJFK-like good looks. Whatever it was, we swore we felt a huge shift happening in the world of design, and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

All UnBeige AIGA NEXT coverage.

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Command X: Get Out the Vote

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Here we are at the final round of Command X, the world’s first graphic design reality show held live at the AIGA NEXT conference in Denver, Colorado. Because we know you’re wondering, yes, judge Brian Collins is back, and got to hang out with Nobel Prize-winning Al Gore yesterday in San Francisco to work on his Alliance for Climate Protection, which is coincidentally the organization that will benefit from his Nobel Prize money. Collins told us that the media was swarming outside his hotel when he got there, but Gore still made time to take the meeting. Oh, he has Ghirardelli chocolates for everyone. It’s just like the Hershey store.

Back to the show and the challenge: to get 18 to 26-year-olds to vote. It’s a much more sober round. Kelly Dorsey, usually very funny but this time quite serious, had a nice subversive logo. Matthew Muñez was articulate again, but a bit loose in his concept.

Beginning with a great audience participation gimmick, it is Nichelle Narcisi‘s “except you” campaign that brings down the house, in a stunning standing ovation before Michael Bierut even does the applause-o-meter. He says he was expecting something more like…sausages? Narcisi is quick: “You like that Helvetica, don’t you?”

***Deliberation***

Noreen Morioka‘s been bawling since she had to make her decision. Emily Oberman and Bonnie Siegler are playing their “American Idol” roles to a T. Collins promises to turn his and Morioka’s flirting with Muñez into a dinner (what we wouldn’t give to be at that affair). Morioka will not stop crying. Bierut: “There’s no crying in graphic design.”

Matthew Muñez gets second place.

Kelly Dorsey gets first runner up

And of course, Nichelle Narcisi wins.

All AIGA NEXT coverage.

Command X Adds Major Comic Relief and Insults Denver Football Fans

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No surprise at all, but Michael Bierut is extremely funny when takes the stage as the Heidi Klum or Tim Gunn of graphic design (you take your pick) in his hosting duties for the design reality show “Command X” which will unfold throughout the AIGA conference. Judges are Brian Collins, Noreen Morioka, Emily Oberman, Bonnie Siegler and seven young designers will be eliminated one-by-one.

The assignment gave them a week to design a new logo for the Denver Broncos. Surprise guest judge is the art director for the Broncos, Annie Hellerstein. Both Morioka and Collins hit on participant Matthew Muñez after his rather eloquent defense of his work, and there are multiple snot cloud discussions based on the nose spray trajectory of huffing horses.

Scott Gundersen and Mike Burton go buh-bye. But where’s the catchy cut line?

Next challenge: Jimmy Dean Pancakes & Sausage packaging redesign. Collins declares it delicious.

All AIGA NEXT coverage here.

79 Short Essays Gets Very Short Listed, But They Still Want Michael Bierut to be the Capital of Lebanon

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We were jazzed to see one of our favorite books skyrocket to the top of the VSL charts. But even here, in this online world founded by peeps who we assume actually know and like the Man With the Most Chronically Misspelled Name in Design—Kurt Andersen, Simon Dumenco, Emily Oberman, and Bonnie Siegler—they can’t make it through the entire entry without spelling his name wrong at least once.

All together now: B-I-E-R-U-T

Command X Deadline Extended to July 16

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Thriving as we do on backstabbing, catfights and tears, why else do we think applying for AIGA’s Command X, the live graphic design reality show, is such a great idea?

· You can get comped admission to the NEXT conference.
· You might win a shiny new copy of CS3 and a shiny new $1000.
· You will be hazed by none other than host Michael Bierut.

If that doesn’t entice you, we’ve also just got the judge lineup so you’ll know who’ll be administering the spankings: Brian Collins, who will be serving clam chowder between rounds, Noreen Morioka, who will be too wasted to know what’s going on anyway, and Emily Oberman and Bonnie Siegler, who, as everyone knows, can be bought.

The deadline has been extended to July 16 so apply today. Send checks, money orders or Prada gift cards to Number Seventeen, 285 W. Broadway, Room 650, NY, NY 10013.