Design Students Learn the Value of AIGA

On April 15th, a handful of big names in the Colorado chapter of AIGA gathered at the University of Colorado at Denver to give a panel on the value of AIGA as an institution and to impart some knowledge on the design students present. After opening with a brief introduction of each of the panelists, a series of questions gathered beforehand were fired at the panelists, generally focused on how each panelist approached the design process, how AIGA had aided their careers, and tips on how to make it in the industry.

As panelist Brandon Roth mentioned, “It’s awesome how you can have a room full of visual people with no pictures, props, slides or post-its, and there are still great ideas and conversations that come out of it.” Designers mentioned their go-to ways of research and inspiration, mentioning the incredible value of researching within the landscape of a project heavily before cracking open a sketchbook and thinking of visual solutions, or the importance of listening to clients and collaborators when developing a project. The conversation then turned to the worry that nothing is ever truly new or unique anymore, and how we create art/design without unwittingly stealing it. Turns out, the “change 30% of an image and now it’s a unique creation” is patently false and is filed as derivative, so the design process needs to include failsafes that your work is truly your own. This ultimately boiled down to taking abstract elements of designs used for inspiration and then using what made those work in your own design without ripping off the style completely. Amidst a series of do’s and don’ts for the interview process (DO be adaptive and passionate, DON’T over-design your portfolio box or be defensive) a confused pizza delivery man entered the room and revitalized the evening with a feast.

The value of AIGA was the obvious focus of the panel and the panelists only had positive comments on their experience. AIGA has assisted in the formation of a (relatively) vast and indispensable resource for designers across the nation. And though design is a field comprised of bunches of specialists in a myriad of areas, AIGA helps create the community that will support education of design, planning/exhibition of design events, and has developed a positive professional atmosphere for designers to feel comfortable and collaborative.

Stu Alden of Ink Lounge’s closing comment was something to the tune of “We as designers are serious about what we do, but we don’t take ourselves seriously,” a sentiment that beautifully encapsulates the tone of the evening.

Thanks to all of the panelists for an insightful and inspiring discussion:

– Stu & Nicky Alden – Ink Lounge Creative
– Hugh Graham – Twine Studios
– Elysia Syriac – Relish Creative
– Brandon Roth – Brandon Arthur Roth Design
– Kimberly Mallek – Mighty Fudge Studios


By Max LaRue
Published April 28, 2015
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