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Posts Tagged ‘Nichelle Narcisi’

Rich Silverstein Visually Blogs for HuffPo and You Get to Critique Him

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Bloggoddess Arianna Huffington writes that there were two people at the Google Zeitgeist gathering that stuck in her mind: Sustainable South Bronx’s Majora Carter (who we admired in Aspen) and Rich Silverstein, who showed clips of the most powerful moments in radio, TV, and film.

In fact, Huffington was so taken with Silverstein’s mastery of powerful messages, she asked him to contribute something that would “help the Democrats” in the upcoming election. Three posters with the slogan “Haven’t we had enough? Democrats ’08″ are posted for your approval, so if you’ve got some feedback for Silverstein (or maybe if you never got that job at Goodby and are chronically bitter), just post a comment below the posters. He’ll be reviewing the comments and posting revised ones after Thanksgiving. Although we’re not really sure of the quality of feedback he’s getting; at this point most of the 798 comments are just partisan laundry lists. Personally, we like this approach better.

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Everyone Is Reading Nichelle Narcisi’s Article, Except You

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We were among those whooping and hollering (and, oddly, fighting back tears) when Nichelle Narcisi brought the AIGA NEXT conference to its feet with her Command X-winning pitch for motivating young voters. But as we clapped, we were also stuck wondering…how in the world are we ever going to convey this magic moment to our UnBeige audience?

Turns out Narcisi has written a piece on Design Observer, “Except You,” outlining her strategy, defending her approach, and—most importantly—showing some examples of how her campaign could play out. Read it while imagining an auditorium of 2000 designers roaring in approval.

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.

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: Jimmy Dean Challenge

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We snapped this shot of the Command X kids in action during their grueling 16 hour cram to rebrand the Jimmy Dean Pancakes & Sausage. We also got this shot, of sausage in action:

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During tonight’s presentation the crowd was rolling. Here’s our favorites, by Matthew Muñez:

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And Nichelle Narcisi‘s. Yes, that’s a cowgirl riding a sausage on a stick:

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In the end, with Michael Vanderbyl standing in for judge Brian Collins, who was called away on official business (emergency clambake?), Elaine Chernov and Ryan Smoker are booted. Big group hug.

Next assignment: Get people aged 18-24 to vote.

All AIGA NEXT coverage here.

Four or Five Things You Need to Know About the AIGA NEXT Conference

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In a few weeks we’ll be maneuvering the ole UnBeige wagon over the Rocky Mountains and into Denver, Colorado, home of AIGA’s NEXT Conference. There’s still time to register, although at this point if you haven’t convinced your boss you’re worth the $1050 ($850 for members) there’s not much time left for your door-to-door “Dimes for Denver” campaign.

Seeing as we will be there, and seeing as we seem to know a few things about the innerworkings of AIGA, here’s a few things you should look for when you’re there. Or when you’re sitting at home reading about them here.

· The seven young designers picked to participate in Command X, a live graphic design reality show unfolding in real time and hosted by Michael Bierut are Mike Burton, Elaine Chernov, Kelly Dorsey, Scott Gundersen, Matthew Muñoz, Nichelle Narcisi and, our favorite, Ryan Smoker.

· We’ll be making sure no one scares the students, yakkin’ about this here blog and–are you sick of us yet?–discussing design writing.

· Should you be awake, you can also gather ’round a table with one-half of UnBeige on Friday morning at the unseemly hour of 7:45am.

· There will be a gigantic party Friday night hosted by Design Observer, featuring a triumphant return to the dance floor by William Drenttel.

· If you get bored, there’s plenty of beer right around the corner.