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Posts Tagged ‘Chris Hacker’

More Highlights and Reflections From Cause/Effect

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It must be some kind of record: 70% of the speakers at the one-day AIGA NY conference Cause/Effect brought us to the brink of tears. But until the end, we really weren’t sure why.

We even found ourselves pretty much speechless at one point. The presentation that went beyond words, meaning a blog post really couldn’t do it justice, was Alan Jacobson’s powerful work on a memorial in Rwanda as part of the Barefoot Artists program. Read up on the project on their site and don’t miss a chance to catch Jacobson present in person.

Although we missed Steven Heller‘s propaganda parade, Seymour Chwast‘s poster-rama and Mark Randall discussing the Urban Forest Project (catch coverage over at Core77), we have more detailed reports about Carin Goldberg, Bobby Martin, Frank Baseman, Phil Patton, Nicholas Blechman, Marc Alt, Scott Stowell, and Chris Hacker, who were truly all great.

All the young designers were stars. Seth Labenz and Roy Rub presented the fascinating results of their experiment “Uniting.” And the final panel of the day, a three-fer of social entrepreneurship had the always delightful Randy Hunt and his Amazing Project, and two extremely eloquent show-stoppers: Kristin Johnson‘s Practical Small Projects, bringing solar energy to Mali, and Lara McCormick‘s Stop and Start Over (another Sappi grant winner!), an addiction recovery site and community that’s designed to appeal more to the young audience looking for help.

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The only minor disappointment was the One Laptop Per Child presentation by Lisa Strausfeld. Cute as they may be, we got little, if any, insight into how the laptops really work, and we’re still not sure why the beautiful interface is appropriate for kids who have never used a computer, especially since a CBS News story showed kids easily using regular laptops. Also puzzling was that they did no testing of the interface with African kids. They had just gotten their shipment of laptops that day, so maybe they need to play around with them some more before presenting again.

But overall, the day was expertly assembled and orchestrated by chairs Mike Essl (who doubled as an on-stage tech guy) and Emma Presler (wearing a tres snazzy scarf). We noticed a similar thread running through both Cause/Effect and Designism 2.0 (without the “banal-retentive,” of course): The most striking projects were really not about design in the traditional sense, echoing Milton Glaser‘s sentiments at Designism about the dissemination being more important than the device. In fact, we thought, these people didn’t really act like designers at all. More like MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipients, Nobel Prize winners, UN ambassadors. And that realization was simply overwhelming.

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Chris Hacker: Sustainability Expert, Smooth Operator

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We never tire of hearing sustainability guru Chris Hacker talk about his design work at Johnson & Johnson. We even saw him back when he had just left a similar position at Aveda, when his presentation was still called “Green is the new black,” which he doesn’t call it anymore, he says, because, well, we’re sure you understand why.

Although it was great to see how his work for this gigantor corporation is really making an impact–they’ve reduced, re-sourced and redesigned packaging for so many major products already–we were much more, um, intrigued by his work on the new KY brand: Intrigue.

J&J decided that since KY was so often applied to intimate situations, they’d rebrand a segment of the market to stimulate that growth. The redesigned bottle–which is, of course, sustainable–has sexy graphics and a very hot marketing campaign. And, get this: It’s designed so that even in the dark you can feel around the bottle to figure out how to open it. Hacker says he can vouch for that. “I’m going to embarrass myself, but it’s a really wonderful product,” he laughed.

All jokes aside, KY Intrigue is now the number one lubricant at most major chain stores like Target. Talk about market penetration.

Phil Patton and the Case of the Red Cross

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Another speaker at today’s Cause/Effect, Phil Patton expounded upon his AIGA Voice article “Whose Cross to Bear?” about the ubiquity and meaning behind that little red cross. So iconic is the shape that furniture and fashion have embraced it, and the cross itself has become pretty much the universal symbol for just about everything: Blue Cross, the green cross, the New Mexico flag. And then of course, you have the crossover from Swiss flags to Swiss Army Knives.

He reported on the ongoing battle between Johnson & Johnson and the American Red Cross over use of that iconic little symbol. Yes, J&J actually sued the Red Cross for the rights to use it earlier this year. The case hasn’t been settled yet, although we wonder if another of this afternoon’s panelists, Chris Hacker, in charge of design at J&J, can enlighten us on that.

A Very Good Week In NY This December

It’s getting to be that season again when all the naughties and nices you’ve accumulated during the last 12 months start to count towards your end-of-year rewards. And if you’ve found yourself a little heavy on the naughty, there is a chance to redeem yourself before it’s too late. Actually, two. If you’re in New York between December 13 and 15 you could attend two big-name events focused on socially-responsible design. After immersing yourself in so much do-gooding, maybe you’ll even get moved to the nice list.

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Designism 2.0, December 13: The second go-round of this now-annual event at the ADC features three sessions. First, SEE, a survey of young’uns making a difference: Ellen Sitkin, Andrew Sloat and Ji Lee, moderated by yours truly. Then, TALK, the panel of masters including Milton Glaser, Janet Kestin, Elizabeth Resnick, Tony Hendra, and Vanity Fair columnist Michael Wolff, moderated by Steven Heller. And finally, ACT, a real-life call to action by Idealist.org to start work on immediately. All details here (scroll down).

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Cause/Effect, December 15: This full-day student-oriented conference orchestrated by AIGA NY brings together a dozen voices explaining the effects of their design in action. Lisa Strausfeld, Phil Patton, Chris Hacker, Seymour Chwast are among the luminaries, and Steven Heller will moderate this one, too (the man is a machine). Registration is only open for students (AIGA members or not) at the moment, but will open to AIGA members on 11/26. All details here (including those nice illustrations by Brian Rea).