Impressions of AIGA NEXT

– Upon arrival, walking into the Denver Convention Center, I ran into Debbie Millman who I wanted to meet for so long. She’s as warm and likeable as she comes across in her fabulous Design Matters Podcasts. By the way, vote for her.

Daniel Liebeskind spoke for 15minutes straight without ever stopping or taking a breather. Needless to say I was out of breath when he was done. Oh, and he ran off stage. Humorous in its own way.

– The Denver Convention Center has a fascinating and sometimes questionable collection of rug patterns. You can view them here. Note to self: Research rug pattern psychology in public spaces.

Ellen Lupton had a talk that I would have hated to be in as a man. She talked bra. Really. But she seems lovely, nonetheless.


Command X, the American Idol for graphic designers, was entertaining and humbling. The level of professionalism of these young talents was breathtaking. Who would want to pitch an idea in front of 2000 (?) ‘clients’? The winner, Michelle Narcisi, got a standing ovation with her ‘except you’ campaign which is supposed to get young voters to vote. I will be on the look-out for her pdf posters. They will spread like wildfire, once unleashed. Curious to see how long it will take until Michelle will take some fine position in NYC…

Blaise Agüera y Arcas’ presentation on Seadragon and Photosynth left me in awe. But the fact that both apps don’t work on a Mac deserves a big Boooo!


Khoi Vinh’s talk on how we are slowly but surely gaining more ‘control’ in the world of webdesign was impressive. His presentation was extremely informative, well-structured and well delivered. Congrats Khoi!

Maira Kalman – what an interesting, witty, talented woman. I wish her ‘talk’ would have been longer.

– Friday, I Julia introduced to Michael Bierut. He outed himself to be a swissmiss reader, so did Tobias Frere-Jones. YAY!

– I saw Helvetica for a second time. Loved everything about it with the exception, again, of Paula Scher’s comment on how Helvetica is responsible for the Iraq war. I know it was supposed to be a joke. Not funny.

– The Denver Art Museum is quite an impressive piece of architecture.


– Charming, funny germans do exist – Christoph Nieman is living proof. His presentation was delightful and his talent humbling. His client diagrams, above, made me chuckle.

– The presentation that completely blew me away was by biologist Janine Benyus, on Biomimicry — the way humans mimic nature in the products we build and the systems we implement. Watch her TED.

Garth Walker, a south african designer definitely made me look. He is mostly known for his desire to do design that has roots in culture. Read some more about Garth here.

– I had the pleasure to meet Jessica Helfand. Warm, approachable, outgoing!

– Waking up seeing mountains from your hotel window is fantastic. I miss the swiss alps.

– Taking a hotel 20minutes outside of downtown to save some money was a stupid idea.

– At times I felt like I was at a Pentagram Conference: Julia, thank you for introducing me to Nikola, Joe, Lenny, Scott, Ben, Brian, Drew, Kurt. You guys are nutty.

– Oh, and on a very personal note: I want you all to know that I am married to ‘super-dad’: G took care of our little Ella while I was gone. Thank you G! :)

2 Comments leave a comment below

  1. yeah, G! repruhzent!

  2. Great summary! If I had to describe the highlights of the conference and what I actually learned and enjoyed, it would have probably been almost identical.