Wednesday afternoon I was footloose and fancy free. My smartphone clued me into nearby restaurants, and I wound up at Famous Sam’s sports bar. No curbside appeal whatsoever…passing by the place, I would have just kept on walking/driving/cycling, but the food was very yummy. I could only make it through half of the turkey wrap and sweet potato fries.
Bloated and swollen from lunch, I retired to the poolside at my uncle’s house…
And sent the above picture to a couple of friends back home with a note reading something to the effect of “wish you were here?” I’m mean…it’s no secret.
Uncle Ray treated me to a delicious steak dinner that night as an early birthday treat…thanks again Uncle Ray!
The first day of the conference registration opened at 9 am, and I was there right on time. I passed out my ATCs and had a wonderful conversation that I wish could have continued for another hour or two. Around 11 I had to excuse myself to check in for the Downtown Studio Tour.
The tour was initially going to take us to four studios, but another was added at the very beginning of the tour. Our first stop was at MM Identity Lab where they served us a lovely lunch. They had some of there work on display, but the real focus of the stop was the refurbished warehouse in which they were located. It is one of many throughout the Phoenix area reclaimed and repurposed by Michael Levine.
A few photos of the 605 E. Grant Street building:
|Mike Levine telling us a little bit about the warehouse.|
Next stop on the tour was P.S. Studios. Again, their work was on display for us (it was a treat to have a look at their work up close), but the main story was the building they occupied. The building was built by an architect as their own office, and much of it was still intact…desks, shelving…just about everything. Ecologically appropriate for Phoenix, most of the building was below ground level, but the interior atmosphere was anything but cavelike because of the windows from ground level up all the way around the building. Sorry no photos of my own to share, but if you go to their “About Us” page, they have a link to a slideshow about their office and the architect, Al Beadle. They did have a nice little surprise for us…a gift bag with a small toy. As a holiday treat for their clients they send out little toys each year. They gave me the bird…
Next Stop on the tour was After Hours Creative where Russ gave us a tour.
|Russ on the far left in their main work space.|
After Hours’ space includes a gallery, an upstairs office space for a small architecture firm, and an apartment on the very top floor.
Next stop was Kitchen Sink Studios, and they had the most appropriate artwork in their courtyard.
We had a tour of their space (led in part by a golden retriever), and saw a video overview of their work.
Obviously, there was a lot more to this tour than I am describing here…I was pleasantly overloaded by the work of these companies, and impressed by the versatility of their creative office spaces.
Our last stop was at Moses Anshell—the only ad agency on the tour. Craig Hedges, VP and Creative Director, gave us a tour of the place, and he’d put together a video presentation of some of his favorite projects.
One project on display was the work they’d done for Girl Rock Nation:
It was a nice illustration of the design process…many work-ups in a variety of styles. The one in the center with the pink logo was the identity chosen.
A few more doodles in my Moleskine from the conference. Most of my notes were taken in the Moleskine App for the iPad, these scribbles were just to kill a little time between Affinity and General Sessions and see if I could recall just some of the ideas buzzing around.
|Collier Center doodled while eating lunch at Kazim’s.|
What I hoped to achieve at the conference (finding new tools/ideas/methods/the “next big thing” to improve my day-to-day work) did not really come to pass (with the notable exception of Muse). The ideas being bantered about were loftier. They were inspirational, but they don’t translate well (and by “well” I mean “immediately and obviously”) into the work I’m doing and the clients with whom I work. The main message of the conference was to encourage designers to step away from “making pretty things” and focus on designing experiences.
There was a strong emphasis on systems thinking, as well, and that was nice to hear. It is impossible to design for the seventh generation (too many variables in play). But it is possible to design with a conscious mind toward the immediate ramifications, and make day-to-day decisions that will accumulatively have less of an impact down the road.
These ideas are stuck in my head, and as I keep forging ahead from one day to the next, I may find ways to implement some of what I saw. If I hadn’t gone to the conference and been exposed to all these wonderful people and their incredible work, I wouldn’t have those lofty ideas in my bag o’ tricks.
I got to do a lot of good people watching (a favorite pastime). Designers come in many styles, but there is a certain look prevalent among the menfolk…spiky hair, longer sideburns, 5 o’clock shadow, and rectangular frame glasses.
|Too bad I can’t spell…|
|See!?!? “Male Designer de Rigueur” is featured in the deck!!! I bet he’s got spiky hair under that hat!|
On the last day, I camped out for a while in the “living room”…these wonderful chairs (made of reclaimed materials) were sprinkled hither and yon inviting attendees to kick back for a bit.
It was a great trip overall!
Thanks for stopping by!