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Posts Tagged ‘Eric Heiman’

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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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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Advice to Design Students: Shower, Shave and Spellcheck


Advice For Design Students from UnBeige on Vimeo.

So our several hours of silence yesterday were due to our role moderating the student conference at AIGA’s NEXT conference. Thank you so much to Gail Anderson and her tips on how to keep your portfolio roach-free; Allyson Lack, Jennifer Sukis and Pamela Zuccker of Principle for an inspiring talk on working from three different cities; a memorable shot of both Adam Brodsley and Eric Heiman with shoulder-length hair; Garth Walker and his Plumber’s Butt; and Adrian Shaughnessy‘s soul-ful closing.

To deliver the wit and wisdom of the rest of the dozens of designers milling about, we got some of their musings on film. Behold our gift to design students everywhere.

All AIGA NEXT coverage here.

California Design Biennial: The Party

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Sure, it was tough to tear our eyes away from award-winning white walls of the Pasadena Museum of California Art, but it was a breezy Saturday night just begging for some alfresco design discourse. So after making careful note of the objects and the graphics of the California Design Biennial, we proceeded upstairs to the roof, which provides one of the best Stella Artois-drinking environments in Southern California.

Juror Michael Worthington held court with a bevy of CalArts faculty and grads, including Penny Pehl, James Moore, Caryn Aono and new Green Dragon Office hire Leslie Sun. On a more serious note, the salt-and-pepper-headed Sean Adams discussed hair styles with perpetual brunet Mr. Keedy.

A gang of our friends from the north (San Fran) were looking especially tanned and relaxed (no doubt due to an afternoon soaking up some much-needed sunshine). Eric Heiman and Adam Brodsley of Volume chatted with Jeremy Mende about dinner plans. Christopher Simmons and Stefan Bucher traded Y Conference notes at a nearby table.

Sadly, there was no sign of The Man With the Golden Curls in the house, but we did get to meet two of our local design heroes, the man behind the mighty mustache, Geoff McFetridge, and Atwater Pottery‘s Adam Silverman. Mine designer (and 2007 Project M participant) Tim Belonax had some hero-worship of his own going on, representing with a McFetridge “I’m rocking on your dime” tee. And to end the evening on a perfect Hollywood note, we met the delightful Constance Zimmer, aka Dana Gordon, Ari’s worthy foil on Entourage. What can we say? Nothing like great design to lure a crowd of the best California has to offer.

Project M at the Rural Studio Heats Up

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Two planes and 30 degrees Fahrenheit away from our LA environs, we are coming to you live from Greensboro, Alabama, located in the now world-famous Hale County, home of the Rural Studio, and also this summer’s ground zero for the design-for-good program Project M. John Bielenberg (that’s him up there in the orange) and eight young designers have been cooking up ideas for making a difference here since June 1, with a steady stream of advisors shipped in regularly to invigorate and inspire.

Swiss designer Thomas Sevcik blew in for a day, Adam Brodsley was here a few weeks back, and his Volume partner Eric Heiman is here now, with Brian Collins rumored to be peeking his head in next week (en route to China, perhaps?). Erik Cox and Christopher Simmons are also headed this way, and we were thrilled to have Washington University architecture dean Bruce Lindsey here for the weekend, who was former head of the Rural Studio.

First, some shots from our orientation, including the HERO Knowledge Cafe (a housing resource center for the county) above, which is serving as M’s base of operations.

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My First Time: A (Mostly) Graphic Designer’s Top 10 ICFF Highlights

Here at UnBeige we were looking for our own special ICFF angle. Instead of sending an insider-y New York industrial design freak to the show, we decided to send the polar opposite: A happily outsider-y San Francisco graphic designer (who also just so happened to study architecture way back when). Eric Heiman, principal at Volume, put together this top ten list of what caught his impartial eye (in no particular order):

1. The new colors for the classic Eames lounge wood chairs in the Herman Miller booth. That yellow looks good enough to eat, gosh darnit.

2. Speaking of which, the Herman Miller booth: What could be more fun than giant interlocking Eames cards? House of cards contstruction by BBK Studio.

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3. Doctors (or least people who play them on TV) do have style: Lisa Edelstein, of TV’s “House,” cruising the floor looking for new wares in which to store all those medical journals.

4. Wood veneer bags at Monacca. Mmmmm…Hideo Wakamatsu, our love affair is over.

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5. Mike and Maaike‘s juxtaposed: religion bookshelf. Furniture as arbiter of spiritual tolerance. Now that’s California dreamin’ for you.

6. Council–a Bay Area-and-beyond collaboration between Derek Chen, One and Co., Mike and Maaike, Arik Levy, and Khodi Feiz–my favorite new furniture collection of the show.

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7. Walking down the British design corridor and hearing all the different United Kingdom accents bespeaking the value of their design wares. “Bloody great, old chap.”

8. Designer foosball tables from RS Barcelona. All that was missing was the global ICFF tournament draw.

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9. Botanist’s fusion of bent wood veneer, powder coatings and a little bit of wispy, earthy motifs.

10. Thanks, God, no more of those tacky Tommy the Train bedspreads for the kids: Boodalee’s “big designs for little dreamers.” No, they don’t make them in king or queen-sized yet, so you adults will have to wait.

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Sister Corita’s Spirit Rocks On

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Last night we were blessed to be invited to the book release party for Come Alive! The Spirited Art of Sister Corita at the Hammer Museum near UCLA. You remember we’ve sung Sister Corita‘s praises here before, and it was pretty inspiring to mill among the true believers–everyone was in a good mood. Photographer Joshua White described hanging out at the Immaculate Heart studio while shooting all the images for the book, and hobnobbed with Volume’s Eric Heiman, who’s in town working on the catalogue for an upcoming John Lautner show at the Hammer. We also met author Julie Ault, who we asked to sign our book with her favorite Sister Corita quote. “Okay, but it’s ‘wet and wild,’” she warned us, echoing one of Corita’s most famous serigraphs. We thought that was pretty appropriate for our splashy, soulful Sister.

Appropriately, there will also be a Sunday service to celebrate Corita: On March 11th, there’s a screening of a Sister Corita documentary, followed by a panel discussion with Julie Ault, Samuel Eisenstein, Baylis Glascok, Helen Kelly, and Lorraine Wild at the AFI’s Goodman Theater from 1 to 4pm. RSVP to Sasha Carrera at sashaihc(AT)pacbell.net.

Adams, Heiman and Vanderbyl Are Lovin’ It

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Three designers we love will be at the Skirball in LA tonight ordering all in attendance to “Design What You Love.” Sean Adams, Eric Heiman and Michael Vanderbyl will usher in this Valentine’s season with a presentation about what makes their hearts race. We think we heard Adams mutter something about “Cops: Too Hot For TV” but we’re not sure.

If that’s not enough to love, remember that the Skirball is where that rad Saul Bass show is currently up (featuring a never-before-seen 22-minute montage of his titles), and we also hear that Mohawk will be buying drinks. Why? Because they love you.