by Barbara Silverman
If you missed this year’s conference you missed some fascinating talks. In the trendy new venue called The Midway, located in the Dogpatch area of San Francisco, Carolina DeBartolo kicked us off with a discussion labeled Fitness, Firmness and Delight. In her talk she sited ancient Roman architect Vitruvius, whose design principles dating back some 2000 years are still relevant today. Vitruvius’ principals as she defines them – Fitness, Firmness and Delight translate to useful, usable and desirable. Without any one of these elements, in any proportion, a design goes from good to bad. Her message seems relevant as today’s designers consider the entire user experience. Maybe nothing has changed?
Carolina was followed by Dava Guthmiller of Noise 13 who brought on a panel of her own clients to discuss How We Experience Food as Users and the relationship to Good Design. Again, it’s about the user experience and how life and style are used to build a lasting design.
Mark Holmes took us on a journey through his career as he discussed Using Design as a Flotation Device. He demonstrated a fascinating parallel experience to how technology and design aligned and have influenced opportunities. Starting on a Mac 2 designing newspaper sell sheets he migrated to designing games in the mid-90s, and later to Pixar to Google. He took us through the process of color choices for the Pixar movies and how they were chosen to reflect specific emotions at an unconscious level.
Daniel Dejan from Sappi, returned to our conference once again with a fascinating talk on the overlook sense of touch and how it affects the brain. He went on to examine how media shapes the brain, and consequently the way a brand is perceived. This is undoubtedly something we are bound to hear more about in the future.
Kristy Cameron from Starbucks shared a lively talk of the process she used to redesigning a global brand and how company values were a critical element to this process.
Other speakers included Jen Tank of Huge Design. She also referenced history as she mentioned Plato’s 2,400-year-old idea on the importance of beauty and the role of the designer to remember why we do what we do. Tanner Christiansen discussed The Myth That is Inspiration. More on his topic was published on Medium and referenced in another article in VMA Digest. Elle Yaven helped us understand the value of creating awareness of our everyday habits and communications to get the best out of ourselves and others. And last but not least let us not forget the research that was shared by Megan Slabinsky of the The Creative Group. It seems our industry is alive and thriving!
As we approached the closing of the day’s talks Michael Osborne and Jared Erondu compared notes on their careers as the legend and the millennial. They both left us amused and awed by their observations and accomplishments.
After an inspirational day that fired up creativity, an evening of fun and fellowship was in order. Guests and exhibitors mingled, greeted old friends and colleagues and made new ones.
If you’d like to see more, the photos are here.
Barbara Silverman is the Director of Education at VMA (firstname.lastname@example.org).