Moderating panel at “A Better World by Design” conference

I am moderating a panel this Sunday that includes top practitioners in the field of communication-based design: Julia Vasker from Hyperakt, Scott Stowell from Open, Lindsay Kinkade from Little Giant and Steve Duenes from The New York Times graphics department. The panel is part of the Brown and RISD student-run conference, “A Better World by Design,” a completely student-organized conference that places innovation and impact over individual success (their words).

We’ll be at Brown’s Granoff Center, Studio 1, on Sunday October 2 from 9:30am to 10:45am.

You must register in Salomon Hall (Brown University green) to attend — starting at 8:30 am on Sunday or from 8am to 6pm on Saturday.

W More information at

Lessons learned from the panel

Updated Oct. 4

Design process

Design process is not a conveyer belt, but a group that works together from beginning

Julia Vakser couldn’t remember the last time one person took a project from start to finish. I wonder how collaboration works as equals? Subcontracting is one thing, but “co” laboring is another.

When you start out, don’t just take work to pay the bills. You might find yourself doing that 15 years later. Scott Stowell

Do what you’re passionate about says Lindsay Kinkade

End forms

Design is a conversation not an end form. Lindsay is wrestling with how to show the work she’s doing because it involves facilitation and culture change.

Design is about systems/modules/parts that can be put to work. Gone is the perfect end form. Scott spoke of making posters like churning butter — not so common.

Concept (Scott) and content (Steve Duenes) are way more important than the end form. If the client is talking about color, then the concept is home free. (Scott)

Scott showed a big green dot as a solution to a logo for “the big green planet.” He said there were many proposals just like it, but they liked his the most. I wonder was it the presentation? The people? The portfolio backing it up?

“Not all films need to be documentaries”

Work that ends up not as you want can simply not be promoted … except if you’re The New York Times, then you have to wait a day to disown it.

Designs that made a difference

Workers after Sept. 11 cut out New York Times maps and used them onsite to do their work

Lindsay’s work on health communication that reduces errors in hospitals

If you want to change the world, you need to know what’s going on in the world said Lindsay. She and Scott praised the New York Times’ work.

September 30, 2011