Damn the Torpedoes, Full Steam Ahead!

Last Friday night, I was awarded the AIGA Medal at the AIGA Centennial Gala. As Nancye Green said after the first AIGA gala, "This is like the best high school reunion with everyone you've ever known." It was the most successful gala in AIGA's history and proves that we still care about design and designers above all else.

Michael Bierut summed up the essence of the evening by pointing out that almost every Medalist talked about someone in the room who gave them his or her first job, or someone in the room they had hired. That AIGA is about our community was made exceptionally clear at this event. There was no mean-spiritedness, envious disregard, or minimizing of another designer. Nobody had the attitude that success was finite and another's meant less for them. There was an honest sense of pride and pleasure for everyone's successes. We may think, as designers, we are competitive and cut-throat, but compared to other professions, we're pussycats and pretty damned supportive of each other.

There's been a huge amount of discourse over AIGA's direction over the last year. Last term, a student in an Art Center class asked me why there was so much arguing. But this isn't arguing. It's discourse. It's what happens when people are deeply committed and passionate. It's what every organization hopes to have. The opposite is a listless disengaged community. We have emerged from a major shift in AIGA's history that will lead to decades of stability and vitality.

As designers, we all have the predilection to critique and analyze. We may have various opinions on the day to day issues of the community, but it was clear at the gala that, in the end, we are all working to the same goal.

As I was sitting there, watching the other Medalists accept their award, I found myself feeling that sensation we all share; seeing something wonderful and having that contradictory sensation of the joy of discovery and that twinge of envy that someone else made it. I tend to use one too many sailing metaphors, but in this instance, going forward, I can only think of Franklin Roosevelt's quote, “To reach a port we must set sail. Sail, not tie at anchor. Sail, not drift.”

Angela Jimenez Photography:

Freaky and Funny

Originally, I planned to do a post today as a long and angry rant against something. I didn't know what that would be. I considered people who walk in front of you very slowly and weave so you can't pass them. Or, spending an hour and a half today in traffic to sign one piece of paper that could have been faxed. Or, clients who share a project in process with a "designer" friend who has no ethics and no problem pointing out issues like "that capital E looks like a backward 3." Really? Wow, I ever noticed that. See, now I'm ranting.

Instead, I'm going to do the opposite. Rather than focusing on the negative, I'm going to play the glad game and find things I like (are you sick yet?) First, Nicole Jacek's placeholder for her website under construction. It's the most exciting work I've seen in years. It's out of control and may push the viewer to a seizure. There is no attempt to make it feel like high, classic print design. It's RGB and screaming. I read some criticisms about it from people who didn't like its frenetic energy. So, go to the DMV website. Nicole's site is freaked and proud.

I also found the Jarritos website designed by Daniel Arenas at Sunday Morning. Again, its for Jarritos, so that makes it great already. But it is unapologetically fun. There are Day of the Dead characters, Mexican wrestlers, and  flat voice-overs. I could do without the "letterpress" type, but I like pretty hideous typefaces like Tiffany Ultra Bold Italic, so I can't be trusted. That's a tiny piece; it's pretty wonderful. Like Nicole's placeholder page, it's honest and doesn't try to convince me that Jarritos is healthy with real fruit grown locally and picked as gently as possible to cause no pain to the tree.

www.Jarritos.com, design: Sunday Morning

www.Jarritos.com, design: Sunday Morning

www.Jarritos.com, design: Sunday Morning

www.Jarritos.com, design: Sunday Morning

www.Jarritos.com, design: Sunday Morning