I had a fantastic time in Denver at the AIGA Next Conference. The overall them of the conference was “what’s next” and we were filled with design inspiration of many varieties that I hope to apply in our work at Going Interactive.
The first full day of the conference started with a superbly enlightening speech by Janine Benyus, author of “Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature” and founder of of the Biomimicry Institute. I had never heard the term “biomimicry” before then, but now I think it is a term the world needs to know. Basically it means mimicking nature’s processes to create sustainable replacements for resource wasting tasks. Benyus brought to our attention to facts such as that nature uses only five polymers to create all it’s natural hard surfaces, whereas we humans use 350 – making recycling very difficult. She also showed a concept Mercedes car design that was based on mimicking a yellow pufferfish’s body. The final car model supposedly gets 70 mpg! Here wrap up message for all of us to “get quiet, use your cleverness to listen to nature, emulate, then say thank you.
The next highlight was the “Creativity and Risk” session by Paul Budnitz, found of Kidrobot, the world’s premiere creator and retailer of limited-edition toys and apparel. Budnitz spoke his creative strategies and collaboration with a variety of contemporary artists. I was also enlightened by KidRobot’s “gallerist” approach to product releases – offering only limited numbers of any toy or clothing piece – they instantly sell out and become collectible. It was also interesting to hear him talk about how and why they turned Walmart down for offers to produce and carry their toy designs.
From there I tremendously enjoyed “Music Packaging in the iPod Age” by Neal Ashby, principal of Ashby Design, and Matthew Curry, principal of Imagefed. These guys delved into something Going Interactive already felt was coming – the interactive packaging of music (as opposed to just old CD packages and still frame jpgs). They showed some great examples of what music packaging could look like on an iPod touch (if only Apple will put the Flash player on it!). Now a music artist can and should have a full content interactive media packing to their music.
The next day revealed an awesome presentation on interactive design and how control is passing from designers to design consumers. This session was by Khoi Vinh, design director at the NYTimes.com. He spoke to the fact that design consumers are demanding control over the way design solutions look, behave,, respond to their needs, and even over how design is delivered.
These were just some of the highlights of an incredible two and half days of design related sessions. Thanks AIGA for putting on an awesome national conference!
– Doug Davenport Jr.