[recap day 1 of the HOW conference here]
how can we use design to influence positive change?
this breakfast with kit hinrichs was a late addition of interest to me. hinrichs started off by showing some of his work relevant to the topic, and then introduced his senior designer, maurice woods, to present on his labor of love the inneract project, where he offers free design classes to creative kids and teaches the concepts of creative problem solving. woods shared some pretty outstanding work from this program, which grew from a few interested students to a thriving classroom of engaged kids, bringing design to their personal passions. this program has a host of sponsors, including sappi paper, who handed out a cool booklet on creating positive change afterwards.
visual storytelling: resonate and activate audiences
i was interested this presentation by nancy duarte since i’m considering doing some speaking in the future. her talk was hands-down rockin’—and it should be, because she’s been in the business more than 20 years. too many presentations are about the presenter and not about helping the audience. duarte talked about deciding who your audience is when they walk in, and who you want them to be when they walk out. creating a presentation without an audience in mind is like writing a love letter that starts ‘to whom it may concern.’ duarte talked about contrasting between what is and what could be, take your audience back and forth between the two, using storytelling to talk about transformation. she had a fascinating way of telling her own story to illustrate this, starting out as a slide design company, moving through the transformation to powerpoint, and facing competition from abroad in a global marketplace, she had to transform her own business to remain competitive. she also talked about mapping out some of the most famous and poignant speeches in history, and formulating her own for presentations that have the most impact. using contrast as a structure, add a veil of emotional appeal in each transition to connect the audience to the story. use different media and try to illustrate points a few different ways. every presentation needs a star minute that everyone will remember. finally, deliver profound experiences, be the authentic you.
evolve: the future of sustainable design
this presentation by brian dougherty was just what i was looking for: something that goes beyond using recyclable paper. dougherty described that as the formative years of green design, and said he wanted to push it further: there must be better options than green & leaves or sustainability as a movement will hit a dead end. over time, green design has become about designing for outcomes. if you look at green design as a vehicle for changing behavior, design for change is your job. in order to do this, we need to make green design accessible, consider it part of a whole system that uses best practices, and give tools that enable the right actions. dougherty talked about his concept of designing backwards, considering the final resting place of the piece before creating it. if we don’t want it in the trash, we must design it to be used or recycled; if we want it recycled we must make it easy to de-ink; if we want to waste less, consider a package that uses as much of the sheet as possible to avoid throwing out unused materials. take these concepts up the chain, talk to vendors, find out about materials and processes and think about how best to use them.
three. word. taglines. [and other horrible branding practices]
as a branding specialist, i was curious about what tate linden had to say about branding practices. he ended up talking less about the practices themselves and more about developing a process that breaks out of “the written rules” of how traditional business has been done, and gave examples of how he wrote his own. the client is best qualified to open up insight into what they think their brand means. it’s up to you to add value. some of his practices include exploring all avenues before choosing one [rather than downplaying the alternatives to the client or allowing consensus to water-down concepts], always working directly with the decision-maker on every project, and knowing your target and going after their motives. some of the brand practices he cautioned us to avoid: company names that are acronyms, three word taglines that aren’t a call to action.
neenah white party
[photo: neenah paper]
after all that action was over, we had a break for a couple hours before the white party. we took our time having dinner and then dressed up in our white outfits. i assembled a paper dress of tissue and outdated paper swatch books, because “it seemed like a good idea at the time” and “i am nuts.” beth made that awesome tissue flower for me, it really ties the whole ensemble together!
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