PUBLISHERS NOTE: INHOUSE DESIGN ANNUAL PREVIEW
GDUSA's American Inhouse Design Awards
Annual will be published soon — in print in late July
and online in late August. This competition is the original,
the largest, and has emerged as the premier showcase of
first-rate inhouse projects chosen from more than 4,000
entries. A couple of thoughts on this year's program, and
the state of inhouse design, follow.
It Takes Courage
For a brief period in the 1980s, CBS News anchor Dan Rather
signed off on the evening news with the stentorian farewell
"Courage!" It seemed stilted and pretentious and
just plain weird — as did Mr. Rather at times
— and the practice soon disappeared. Oddly, during
this year of economic discontent, his call to action keeps
drifting back to me. 2009 should have been a year of growth
for the design disciplines: great design is a great
differentiator for businesses and institutions, and study
after study shows that companies which invest in their
brand during a downturn emerge stronger when the next upturn
comes. Sadly, few clients are showing foresight and fortitude,
and few creatives have found the strength or leverage to make
the case. Reticence is the rule, bravery and enterprise the exception.
Which is what makes this year's group of inhouse award winners
so very special. Yes, as in past years, they are primarily
honored for their outstanding work on behalf of their
clients. And, yes, as in past years, the victory is sweet
because the path to a successful design solution is often
steeper for inhouse designers than for counterparts at
independent agencies. But now add a new factor: courage. In
a terrible and timid time, these winning designers and
departments have found the courage to raise their heads above
the crowd, to keep pushing themselves, their clients, their
managements, their brands and, ultimately, their organizations
forward. Ever forward. Such a course is not for the faint of
heart and they deserve all the recognition they can garner.
Maybe Mr. Rather was onto something after all.
Sweeping Inhouse Change
The Inhouse Awards Annual also incorporates, each year, the
results of a survey of the award winners. This year, the topic
could not be more topical: how to deal with change in good
times and bad, as well as how to be ready (if and when) the
econony rebounds. In brief, we found that inhouse design
professionals are facing sweeping change. For a variety of
reasons, including staff reductions, tighter budgets, new
technologies and shifting business objectives, the scope of
design work is evolving. Two-thirds of respondents say their
responsibilities have changed in the last year; nine-in-ten
expect their role to change again in the next three years.
Resistance Is Futile
Does the inhouse team welcome change and move forward, or
resist it and falter? Turns out a crucial factor is the
manager, and the example he or she sets. Effective leadership,
it seems, creates confidence. To those surveyed, leadership
in this context means: explaining the nature of the impending
change and its effect on each member and the group; involving
the team deeply in the process; providing ongoing support and
resources to meet new demands; running interference with
upper management; and encouraging the use of organizational
tools and strategies to become more efficient.
Good Faith Effort
The survey's conclusion: Change isn't always easy to understand
or integrate, but inhouse designers on the whole seem to be
making a good faith effort to embrace it and work through it.
And despite the day-to-day stresses and pressures that change
triggers, 88 percent of those surveyed said they think working
as an in-house designer will be a "promising" career path in
the next five years. As one respondent put it: "Prove yourself
through your work, be dependable, and find a company with a very solid foundation."
About That Upturn
As for the eventual rebound, the survey suggests that inhouse
designers are look ahead, try to anticipate what's around the
next curve in the road and preparing now. Among the common
suggestions for staying ready: keep innovating and getting
out into the world to see what others are doing; broaden
individual and departmental skill sets; tackle new technologies
and marketing tools such as ecommerce and social media; document
how the team adds value to the company; and work hard and stay
sharp, even if it means creating projects during slow
periods. The final observation: learn, learn, learn, because
knowledge, within the organization as elsewhere, is power.
The 2009 Inhouse Annual will be a keeper;
we hope you enjoy it.
— Gordon Kaye
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GRAPHIC DESIGN NEWS
Debbie Millman, branding expert, respected voice, and lively
presence in the graphic design community, takes the helm as
president of the AIGA. At the same time, several new directors
have been elected to the 15-person national board of the
organization, and the board has crafted a new AIGA mandate
for a new era. Outgoing president Sean Adams will remain
involved in an ex officio role. An indepth look at these
developments in our next enewsletter and the September GDUSA magazine.
The National Advertising Division, Council of Better Business
Bureaus, has asked Domino's and agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky
to change or discontinue promotional claims regarding the "Oven
Baked" sandwich line. Domino's has been claiming its sandwiches
beat the taste of Subway's two-to-one in a national test. Challenged
by Subway, the NAD found that consumers might interpret Domino's
claims too broadly — while the taste test only applied to
specific sandwiches, consumers might believe the results applied to all Subway sandwiches. The NAD recommended that the commercials "be discontinued or
modified to make a more limited taste preference claim..."
Book As Sculpture
This catalog that was produced by gdloft PHL for The
Philadelphia Design competition, sponsored by the local
AIGA chapter. It looks at the idea of "book as sculpture." Using
a variable printing program, each cover is a slightly different
shade of color from the last one, following the pattern of
ROYGBIV. Each catalog is entirely unique and, yet, when they
are stacked, the spines create a seamless spectrum that evokes
a sculpture. Creative credits include art direction by Allan
Espiritu and production by Allan Espiritu, Mike Sung Park,
Christian Mortlock, and Matt Bednarik.
A Pratt First
Pratt Institute celebrates the first endowed professorship in
its history. The Marc Rosen Distinguished Visiting Chair in
Design professorship provides funding to allow Pratt to bring
stellar designers and lecturers to the school to promote
interdisciplinary education in design. The professorship builds
on Rosen's legacy in packaging design, emphasizing the connections
between product, packaging and branding. Pratt President Thomas
F. Schutte promises speakers who bring "the most brilliant and
cutting-edge thinking in all fields of design."
BRIDGEMAN: BUILDING A BETTER SITE
The Bridgeman Art Library has built a better website for fans
of the popular source of fine art, historical and cultural
images. In addition to major infrastructure upgrades which
increase search and download speed, the web development
team has enhanced the lightbox interface and developed
better search filters and results sorting capabilities.
You can find out more about it by visiting the site or by
checking out the July enewsletter - The Bridgeman Buzz -
features American collections and artists in honor of
Independence Day. Shown here: George Washington takes
command of the Continental Army.
MORE DESIGN NEWS
Give Them Credit
Inspired by the success of nutritional labeling, graphic
designers and AIGA Design for Democracy directors — David
Gibson, Sylvia Harris and Carla Hall — have developed a
Credit Card Facts box. It represents a call to the federal
government to enhance its efforts to regulate credit card
industry disclosures by requiring a well-designed, easy to read,
citizen-friendly format for this vital information. The New York
Times ran an image of the label, and the rationale for it, as
an Op Ed on Sunday May 24.
That's The Ticket
In the world of online event ticketing, big and national is not
necessarily better. So when Grammy nominated Patrick Lamb
decided it was time for an alternative, he teamed with
Oregon-based Quango Design + Marketing to improve the online
ticket buying experience for consumers. The result: Tickets
Oregon. The redesigned online portal uses the latest technologies.
Turkey Hill steps up to the plate with two new ice cream flavors
that celebrate the New York Yankees: Bronx Bomber Sundae and
Pinstripe Brownie Blast. With the goal of capturing the spirit
and utilizing the colors of the Yankees brand, Brandesign of
Monroe Twp. NJ utilized two different Yankee logos to maintain
brand consistency yet establish clear flavor segmentation. Soon
after, the firm was commissioned to design a special edition
commemorative package for the inaugural of the new Yankee stadium.
Pedestrian-centered improvements to the Brooklyn Bridge, a
light installation at a bus terminal in Hell's Kitchen, and
supergraphic portraits of Irish literati at the Dublin Airport
are among the winners in SEGD's 2009 awards program. These
projects, notes Peter Dixon of the New York consultancy Prophet
SEGD officials, show how "we can design urban interventions
that dramatically improve some ignored parts of the public
environment." The 40 winning projects can be seen at...
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TAKE FIVE! CAREER TIPS FROM THE
THINK TWICE BEFORE YOUR NEXT MEETING
According to a recent survey of executives, 28 percent of
meetings are a waste of time. Here are five signs that a
gathering may be going nowhere:
1. Everything But The Kitchen Sink Is Being Covered.
Agendas are useful, but one that is lengthy or unfocused could indicate
that not all of the information will be relevant to every attendee.
2. It'll Take More Than An Hour.Meetings that are
scheduled for more than 60 minutes have a tendency to meander as
people's interest level fades.
3. The Attendee List Goes On And On. When a
participant list is extensive, it may signal an overly ambitious
meeting, or one where people are being invited as a courtesy, rather
than because they need to attend.
4. There's A Large PowerPoint Deck Involved. Visuals
can be useful for reinforcing information, particularly for designers.
But an extensive PowerPoint presentation could signal that there's a
lot of ground to cover and perhaps you'd be better served reviewing
the information on your own.
5. It's A Habit. Routine meetings can become, well,
routine. If regular gatherings have grown stale, consider suggesting
that they be held less frequently.
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GRAPHIC DESIGN EVENTS
July 31. Chicago IL. Deadline for submitting works for
the Society of Typographic Arts Archive 09. Judges are Kelly
Kaminski, Yang Kim, Scott Thares, Rick Valicenti, and Armin Vit.
August 26-28. San Diego CA. Creative Freelancer Conference
helps designers, copywriters, photographers, illustrators and
other creative freelancers build a strong and healthy business.
September 11-16. Chicago IL. Print professionals convene at
the McCormick Place exhibition center to attend PRINT 09, the year's
largest and most comprehensive global graphic communications
exhibition and conference.
September 15-17. New York NY. HBA Global Expo at the Javits
Center. It features packaging materials, components, design and
production in the beauty space — personal care, fragrance,
well-being and cosmetic industries.
September 17. New York NY. The AIGA Design Legends Gala takes
place at the Waldorf-Astoria. The annual fundraising event honors
those whose work defines the design profession as we know it.
September 19: Santa Fe NM. Join Maggie Macnab, Joel Nakamura
and John Langdon for a half-day seminar that explores the relevance
of symbolism to effective and engaging visual communications.
September 22. Baltimore MD. Marketing Survival Strategies
for the Attention Economy, presented by Jeremy Epstein. It includes
education about using social media as a marketing channel.
http://www.baltimore.aiga.org or email@example.com.
September 22-24. Nashville TN. 2009 SFI Annual Conference.
Speakers include Brian Dumaine, Fortune Magazine; Michelle Desiderio,
National Association of Home Builders Research Center; Craig Hanson,
World Resources Institute; Sean Ross, The Lyme Timber Company; and
Scot Williamson, Wildlife Management Institute.
September 22-24. Atlanta GA. The 5th Annual Sustainable
Packaging Forum, a looks at responsible business solutiions and
sustainable packaging. Among the topics: sustainability as a driver
of economic innovation.
September 24-25. Houston TX. Association of Professional
Design Firm Leadership Forum: Rethinking Firm Compensation. Consultant
John Gleason looks at how our firms are compensated. At the Hotel Zaza.
September 26. Denver CO. Annual showcase of the Art Directors
Club of Denver. It takes place at the Sherman Events Center.
September 29-October 2. Chicago IL. NPTA Alliance Convention.
Each year leaders of the paper and packaging industry — distributors
and suppliers alike — meet, network, plan for the future, and
September 30. New York NY. Printing Industries Alliance (PIA)
has scheduled its annual Franklin Event at Pier Sixty at Chelsea
Piers. "Over 500 CEOs and senior executive decision makers attended
this event last September — and we expect the same this year,"
says Event Chair Diane Romano of HudsonYards.
October 8-11. Memphis TN. AIGA National. "Make/Think" is the
2009 AIGA Design Conference, exploring the dual roles of designers
as makers of beautiful things and strategic problem solvers.
NOW ON GDUSA.COM
2009 Color Forecast
2009 Logo Trends
2009 Print Design Survey
GDUSA Pantone Store