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Posts Tagged ‘Debbie Millman’

Pablo Ferro, Carin Goldberg, Doyald Young Awarded AIGA Medals at Legends Gala

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(All photos by George Delgado except above right, by NY Portraits)

Even the most severe recession in recent history can’t keep great design down. “No matter how bleak the situation into which we have been thrown by the global economy—it does offer opportunities. Designers need only invent them,” said AIGA president Debbie Millman in a speech welcoming guests to the annual AIGA Design Legends Gala, held earlier this month at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. “By understanding our living and working context, we blow open avenues of opportunity and innovation not yet charted or explored.” The highlight of the design star-studded evening was the presentation of the 2009 AIGA Medals to designers Pablo Ferro, Carin Goldberg, and Doyald Young.

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AIGA medalists past and present take to the stage.

Steven Heller presented the medal to Ferro, draped in his signature red scarf, for “introducing narrative and nonlinear dimensions to design for films, changing our visual expectations, and demonstrating the power of design to enhance storytelling,” while Paula Scher did the honors for Goldberg, who was lauded “for her exquisite ability to join intelligence, craft, and an eye for the evocative image in designing iconic pop-cultural and literary artifacts, and for her commitment to design education.” Young, who just turned 83, was recognized for “demonstrating the power of a lifelong love of the craft of calligraphy, type, and graphic design, for his contributions as an author, and for his dedication as an educator” and received his medal from Deanna Kuhlmann-Leavitt. JetBlue and Patagonia took home the the AIGA Corporate Leadership Award, and 22 designers from around the country were honored as AIGA Fellows.

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Chip Kidd to Rock “Design Matters” Today

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Crank up your Harmon Kardon SoundSticks, Debbie Millman tells us that Chip Kidd will be playing some music by his band Artbreak on today’s “Design Matters“!

His debut performance back in December got a nice write up on NYMag.com (which gave us yet another comparison to ponder: “Go-Gos meet Joy Division”?), so to commemorate the radio debut of this legitimate rock star we’ve included this Tiger Beat-worthy shot here for you to print out and put on your wall. Plus you know “Design Matters” is a call-in show, right? So maybe he’ll take some a capella requests? 1.866.472.5790

You can listen live at 3pm EST here, see all the other options for tuning in, or podcast it for later…perhaps Artbreak’s the Cars meet the New Pornographers meet the Go-Gos meet Joy Division breed of rock can to accompany you to the gym.

“Design Matters” Season Five Schedule Announced

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Effervescent host (and quite the hostess as well) Debbie Millman has leaked the new season of “Design Matters” to UnBeige first, kicking off January 18 with our Man of the Year, Chip Kidd. Graphic designers, writers, illustrators, authors, scientists, editors, a Nobel Prize winner and many, many UnBeige favorites will be featured on the show, which, incidentally, was voted a “favorite podcast” on PSFK’s IF Marketing Podcast survey. Tune in every Friday at 3pm to hear these fine voices:

January 18: Chip Kidd
January 25: Eric Kandel
February 1: Kurt Andersen
February 8: Vaughan Oliver
February 15: Jonah Lehrer
February 22: Petrula Vrontikis
February 29: Stefan Bucher
March 7: Laurie Rosenwald
March 14: Jeffrey Zeldman
March 28: Abbott Miller
April 11: Robynne Raye
April 18: All Music Show with DJ and Designer Michael Hodgson
April 25: Lawrence Weiner

Full bios for each guest can be found below.

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Designism 2.0 Recap: Michael Wolff Devours Panel, Glaser Eloquently Defends Design, Dove Real Beauties Not Ugly Enough

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The one MILLION dollar question. Photo by Core77.

A Wolff In Designer Clothing
In a city of thousands and thousands of designers, Vanity Fair columnist Michael Wolff might want to look at hiring some protection for the next few weeks. In his role as the “media critic” at last night’s Designism 2.0 event, Wolff told fellow panelists (including Milton Glaser) that “no design” was a better solution than the “banal” work they produce. While his comments elicited anger from the crowd–and more than one Dr. Evil comparison–he injected some much-needed debate to an otherwise self-congratulatory night. As Brian Collins told us later, “That’s why I brought him here.”

Let’s back up a bit though. ihaveanidea liveblogged the evening, opening with crappy weather and an earlier panel we moderated starring Ellen Sitkin, Andrew Sloat, and Ji Lee (who were amazing, by the way, and we wish they could have taken the stage with Wolff at the end to show him some “banal”). Tony Hendra, wearing his WGA strike shirt, gave the annual manifesto with searing wit (a portion of which can be found on the Huffington Post). Then, with Steven Heller moderating, Elizabeth Resnick presented posters from the Graphic Imperative, Janet Kestin presented the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, and Glaser presented his Darfur campaign and new work for Iraq refugees.

Then It Got Ugly
All the panelists joined Wolff onstage as he line-item lambasted design. The world is full of design, he argued, and everyone is trying so hard to be disruptive that everything disruptive is boring. What’s more, “everyone can do design,” he said. “So everyone should stop it.” While abrasive, it was effective, says Core77′s Robert Blinn says in his review: “Wolff asked the question that none of the designers in the audience truly cared to address: ‘Could anything truly new be said, or were we simply barraging a saturated audience with information they already had?’” Glaser, a gentleman to the end, began his first rebuttal, “I have to respectfully disagree with you.” The crowds roared. Glaser explained, that as he now tries to design campaigns to help causes, it’s less about what it looks like and more about how to get the word out. That’s still “design.”

But as the conversation shifted to the effectiveness of design for social change, the topic became Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty (ironically spearheaded by Designism ringmaster Collins at BIG) and Kestin took some serious grilling by audience members Laurie Rosenwald and Debbie Millman for not having “ugly” enough girls in the ads talking about poor body image perception. (Later we sat between Rosenwald and Kestin at dinner…awk-ward!) The whole issue about whether or not it was authentic, or just another ad, or even appropriately executed, was battled out on and off stage. Although not exactly the most provocative topic to dwell upon, it did give us the best quote of the night, courtesy Wolff: “Well, I know a lot of ugly people who think they’re really good-looking.”

Moving On
The moment of irony that killed us, however, was when Heller asked Wolff what design was powerful to him. Wolff said that the only great moment for design were the posters of the 60′s and 70′s. This was as Glaser, creator of many of them, and founder of another design device during that period, a magazine, that has not only brought about real social change, but also pays at least some of Wolff’s salary, sat right beside him, having just explained work that was every bit as simple, driven and arresting as those posters, but used technology, storytelling and global partnerships. Great, it’s easy to say that “something” different needed to be done, but say that design has never been able to evolve past print work done 40 years ago? That’s ludicrous. We think Wolff should be commissioned to write a review of the upcoming MoMA show, Design and the Elastic Mind, which shows how cutting-edge design is used to bring abstract ideas into the public embrace.

However poorly he presented his case (“He was sloppy,” someone near us said) we can’t say we really disagreed with anything Wolff said (except, of course the “banal” part). Something different does need to happen. Afterwards, in the ACT portion, three groups commanded the mic to pitch their causes–Sappi Ideas that Matter, Corbis’s ADC Award and free images for pro bono projects, and idealist.org–and a new social networking site, Designism Social, will be launched. But were these pitches–sponsors, really–enough to launch anyone into action over the sushi and Sapporos afterwards? We weren’t sure. We guess we have to wait until Designism 3.0

But we did like Wolff’s alternative for blindly leaping into a cause. “Stay home, read a book. Read a lot of books. Then, when the urge becomes irresistible, then do something.” Even Dr. Evil was right sometimes.

More photos and coverage at Core77, Graphic Design Forum, Daily Heller, uncivilsociety.org, and ihaveanidea.

High Monkeys, Low Expectations at Stefan Sagmeister’s Wolfsonian Installation

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“Everyone Always Thinks They Are Right” declared the giant inflatable monkeys on the roof of the Wolfsonian, seven stories above Miami Beach (and fresh from Scotland as part of a world tour). Inside, approximately 2250 martini glasses filled with a surprisingly good orange gin concoction were arranged into the words “Low Expectations,” with custom swizzle sticks printed with “Are a Good Strategy.” And a loop of film showed the rest of the illustrated maxims from Stefan Sagmeister‘s book Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far.

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The only question we had for Sags was this: After going through the process of bringing so many things he had learned in his life to life, had he learned anything new? “I’ve learned that I still learn things, but at a much slower rate,” he laughed. He also said he gave his students the choice to skip their last assignment and make their own list of things they had learned.

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Of course our darling Yves Behar was there, and chatting with Eames Demetrios to boot. Jeffrey Deitch breezed through briefly but with purpose–another exhibition of Sagmeister’s work will open at Deitch Projects in NY in March. New Yorkers represented: Steven Heller (he curated the installation, but assures us he was not the mixologist), Lita Talarico, Deborah Buck of NY gallery Buck House and Janet Froelich, creative director of the New York Times Mag. Design journos represented, too: We chatted up Fast Company’s Linda Tischler, Janet Eastman of the LA Times and AIGA Voice managing editor Sue Apfelbaum. And Debbie Millman and Marian Bantjes (that’s her with Sagmeister) jetted in early before appearing in a “Design Matters” about the 2008 Publikum calendar at the Wolfsonian on Saturday.

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By the time we left, the ‘e’ and ‘x’ of ‘expectations’ had been gulped, but refills were quickly secured by martini shaker-wielding assistants nearby, and the crowd continued to swell. As guests exited, they were confronted with a parting message: “Material Luxuries Are Best Enjoyed in Small Doses,” as printed on a custom-made Kate Spade tote bag, so they could take a few words of Sagmeister’s wisdom home with them.

AIGA NY Holiday Party to be PC-Compatible

AIGA NY has opened their annual holiday party up to the masses, so what was once a simple party for AIGA members will now be the THE/ NEW/ BIGGER/ ANNUAL/ AIGA/ NY/ HOLIDAY/ DANCE/ PARTY/ FUNDRAISER/ SPECTACULAR on December 9. And might we also add FREE FOOD/ GRIND-O-RAMA/ PASS OUT ON STAIRS/ SAY INAPPROPRIATE THINGS TO YOUR BOSS/ HIT ON DEBBIE MILLMAN.

In addition to the usual tradition of designer-designed gift-wrap given to all attendees (along with a free drink, cha-ching!) there will be an auction, presided over by none other than author, mole man expert, and Windows-running impresario John Hodgman. Up for bidding are some tasty, tasty treats, like a private tour of MOMA’s Design Department by Paola Antonelli and Christian Larsen, custom calligraphy by Marian Bantjes, and the item we’ll be sending in a field rep for: Michael Bierut‘s Voice for Your Phone Greeting.

Really? He has to say anything you want him to? And you get to record it?

Debbie Millman’s Party Packs the House

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As we lamented that we couldn’t be there to toast Debbie Millman‘s book release (and revealed we were drinking ourselves to sleep instead) one faithful UnBeige reader had the presence of mind to document the evening. Jonathan Selikoff got three shots, including one of Millman basking in Massimo Vignelli‘s charm above (those Vignellis sure do get out a lot). He also tells us that just as Simon Williams gave a nice, rambling toast on behalf of Millman, there was a chant of “Debbie! Debbie! Debbie!”

Also spotted by our informants: Paul Sahre, James Victore, Felix Sockwell, Rodrigo Corral (who designed her book’s cover), Khoi Vinh, Scott Stowell and Emily Oberman, plus a report that in the elevator on the way down, a woman said that if a bomb had gone off in the room, the NY design scene would cease to exist. Sounds like our kind of party.

More pics…

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Be a Design Cast Checks In With Published Author Debbie Millman

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Since we couldn’t be there in person to congratulate Debbie Millman on her new book at her big soiree tonight, we figured the next best thing was to load up her most recent interview with the Be a Design Group boys and raise a glass of champagne all by our lonesome. Okay, fine, we drank the whole bottle. We didn’t want the champagne to go flat.

The roles are reversed here from her usual gig, with AIGA conference Gonzo journalist Nate Voss and Donovan Beery asking the tough questions and Millman providing the answers, which run the gamut from Hershey’s to Einstein. Congrats, Miz Millman, we virtually toast your many successes.

Deadline Extended Until Midnight For People’s Design Award Voting; TOMS Sandals Still Leading

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Except for a few nominated oddities including the Prince guitar, last year’s People’s Design Award sponsored by the Cooper-Hewitt barely blipped on our radar; the Katrina Cottage won quietly and all was well. This year we’ve got quite a sprint to the finish line including some finalists we know and love, and when it was announced that the deadline would be extended until midnight EST tonight, our inbox got flooded with emails from designers begging us to vote for them, or more impressively, endorse them.

While we cannot legally endorse any one project, here’s a quick update that we hope will inspire you to vote. TOMS shoe has held its lead for quite some time now, while the Floating Pool has stayed steadily afloat at second. Good Magazine has moved into third, and Global Green finally cracked the top five, edging out the Life Straw. The iPhone, Brush and Rinse, and “Design Matters” are other notables in top ten, with the surprise hit “Everything is ok” project dropping to 11 (Anyone else see it in Denver?). It looks like the heroic beer-rewarding efforts of Design Observer didn’t help; they slipped to #14.

Putting the blatantly self-promotional aspect of this contest aside, let us just say it’s great to see so many people campaigning for anything design-related. But it certainly looks like we’re in for a Sandal Scandal. TOMS shoes certainly have a great story behind them, but whether or not it’s “great design” is being battled out in over 100 comments. Some people are attest to the comfortability and construction of the shoe, while others are begging people to forget how they look and focus on the concept. Ah, the beauty of crowd-sourcing.

Update, 11:23pm EST: OMG! Debbie Millman‘s “Design Matters” sprints ahead of Brush and Rinse; Design Observer is back at lucky 13. How is it that we just now noticed all the bizarre comments on their entry?

The winner will be announced at the gala on Thursday.

Dirty Dancing Observer Party

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Sometimes at these conference things it’s nice to escape the pristine white hallways for a hot, filthy little basement packed thick with grinding graphic designers. Where legends of print, stage, screen, the airwaves, and a movie about graphic design take the stage for guest DJ sets. Where you not only don’t know which body part is being violated by which person’s gyrating sweaty loins, you don’t care because Kevin Smith is playing Prince and you just gotta dance, dammit. Oh yes, this was the Design Observer party.

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Head DJ Smith with Debbie Millman, throwing out a little J-Lo.

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Laurie Rosenwald was anything but “tired”; Gary Hustwit, who spun his own real records, prepares to take the stage.

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Host Michael Bierut looking dapper, Bill Drenttel (we can call you Bill, right?) becomes possessed by the demons of the dance floor.

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Randy Hunt gets jiggy; Marian Bantjes‘ hot bow-topped boots.

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Dancemaster David Womack takes a break to compare tans with Nik Hafermaas; Eric Heiman can’t control himself.

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