SEEK is a one-day design conference that has been organized by the students of Northern Illinois University for ten years. The event is run by the Visual Communication program at NIU. In the past, SEEK has played host to widely recognized designers including Paula Scher, Kyle Cooper, Chip Kidd, Joshua Davis and in the past year, Jakob Trollbäck and Massimo Vignelli.
This conference provides an excellent opportunity for students to learn and interact with professionals from the field in which they plan to enter. This year, to make SEEK even more engaging, interview-style presentations will be added to keynote and breakout presentations. There will also be workshop presentations as an added opportunity for the students who attend SEEK.
This year, SEEK invites Pentagram’s new partner, Eddie Opara as the featured keynote speaker. Also presenting are designers: Sara Aye of IA Collaborative; Nils Bunde and Dian Sourelis of Brainforest; Kevin McConkey of Grip Design; Justin Ahrens of Rule 29; Matt Toler of Lynch2; Mitch Rice of Three Communication Design; Lance Rutter of Legendre+Rutter; John Harris of a5; Camm Rowland of Digital Kitchen.
Design Matters, hosted by AIGA National President and recent DesignChat guest, Debbie Millman, will begin it’s sixth season… TODAY! This afternoon at 3pm Eastern, Design Matters will welcome design legend, Massimo Vignelli to kick off it’s 6th season.
As described by Debbie Millman, “Design Matters began in February of 2005 with an idea and a telephone line. I thought it would be a great way to ask my heroes everything I wanted to know about their lives and their thoughts and their careers without seeming stalker-y. In the process, I gleaned the most magnificent view of some of the greatest design thinkers and practitioners of our time. I realized the opportunity to share the brilliance of my guests with an audience I never expected was the gift of a lifetime.”
Massimo Vignelli is the founder of Vignelli Associates in New York and formerly of Unimark. He is responsible for some of the most recognizable design projects of all time. Some of his most famous projects include the 1972 New York subway map and the American Airlines corporate identity system. Go here to tune in
Filmmaker Gary Hustwit, has announced the subject of his third design documentary. Urbanized will focus on the design of cities and the issues of urban planning. The film will complete what Hustwit has referred to as his “design trilogy,” joining 2007’s Helvetica and 2009’s Objectified. The film is said to feature top architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers. Cinematographer, Luke Geissbuhler, who worked on the previous two films, will rejoin Hustwit so stunning visuals can be expected. The film is currently in production and is set to premiere sometime in 2011.
Wednesday, September 8th at 9pm CST — This week’s conversation is supplemented by the thoughts and opinions of our guest, Armin Vit — one half of the dynamic-duo known to most as UnderConsideration (Armin Vit + wife and co-conspirator, Bryony Gomez-Palacio). We have him about a week before his talk at AIGA Chicago’s Design Thinking II, and we hope to search his head a bit, figuring out what makes him such an effective proponent for good design.
Armin Vit’s career has brought him from his original home in Mexico City, to Chicago, and then to New York (working with Michael Bierut at Pentagram). Today he runs projects through UnderConsideration’s Department of Design in Austin, Texas, and does his best to enjoy time spent with his young family.
Vit has written articles for many of the industry’s leading publications like HOW, STEP, and Eye. He’s also created content for Emigre and the UK-based design publication, Creative Review. As if that wasn’t enough, he continues to oversee the creation of several microblogs and design critique sites while touring the world as a welcomed speaker, talking about what else… our favorite topics… design, branding and typography.
There’s a lot more to Vit then we’ve got here, so check out the links at the end of this post and…
Join us, and Armin Vit, this Wednesday September 8th at 9pm CST, here at http://designchat.info/chat for a live video and text chat.
It will be great to talk with him and we hope to see you there too.
The live show is at 9PM CST.
That’s one hour later than usual! Don’t miss it.
Learn more about our guest, Armin Vit, at the following links.
I first heard about the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in 2005 or 2006 while attending the “Seek” conference at Northern Illinois University. I believe one of the speakers was from Thirst and she showed a couple of images that caught my eye. After the talk, she mentioned how great this little place was — this place where they printed the images I liked. It was a design destination only a couple hours from Chicago and even better yet, she mentioned that it was a “working” print museum — a place that might even let you create your own prints. It was obvious that I needed to look into this a little more.
Fast-forward a few years, and a few jobs, and I still had not looked it up. It had almost completely slipped my mind until sometime in 2009 when someone mentioned a new design documentary called “Typeface“. All I could get from the hype was that it was about a museum in Wisconsin dedicated to wood type and somehow involved The Post Family, a group of Chicago area artists and designers who are constantly showing up on the scene. (If you are unaware of these guys, I encourage you to visit their site.)
So… by chance… I noticed that a 9 AM showing of the documentary was scheduled at the 2010 Geneva Film Festival. I bought my ticket Friday night, and headed to the Saturday-morning screening.
That’s when it all came flowing back. I had heard of it, had been told about it, and somehow had avoided going to it. I was one of the folks mentioned in the documentary — one of the people who have not been there. I was one of the folks who have not experienced it and I might even be one of the folks letting it die in obscurity. What a shame.
So, last week (August 22nd), we finally made it happen. I had a weekend that was not completely packed with freelance work, and it felt like a great time to take a break from the Chicago suburbs. It was my chance to go to Two Rivers, Wisconsin and check out the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing museum for myself.
The city of Two Rivers sits directly on the shore of Lake Michigan (map). It’s about a 3 hour drive by tollway and freeway from Chicago and is commonly used as a quick stop-over for Chicago area vacationers on the way to Door County. It’s a city known as the birthplace for both for the ice cream sundae and the automatic clothes dryer (invented by the Hamilton company, the very same company that made the wood type housed in the museum). People seem to do a lot of fishing here, but it’s actually becoming a world-renowned destination for the typographically inclined.
With only one full-time employee, Jim Moran, and the help of a few volunteers it’s a wonder how they keep things straight. Jim’s ongoing schedule of workshops and printings seems to be accelerating as more people hear about its existence. At a recent Two Rivers Historical Society meeting Jim mentioned that they had a couple of designers from overseas come in to the area specifically to visit the museum. Several well known Chicago design schools travel there yearly and according to Jim they were even asked to supply some wood type to the “Levis Workshops“. Unfortunately they were unable to fulfill the request because of under-staffing and time restraints. Many corporate design teams and design boutiques are constantly calling the office looking to hold workshops for their staff. There was a small rumor circulating that Nike’s design group may even be interested in hosting a workshop for its creative team. But you didn’t hear that from us.
Interest in typography has recently hit a high-water mark. Memberships in design groups like Chicago’s own STA “The Society of Typographic Arts” seem to be on the rise. And as you can tell, typography is even in their name. The art of placing type in meaningful and communicative ways into layouts is the very thing that makes most of us design professionals. Who else can FEEL the white-space between the letter “W” and the letter “A”, when inappropriately un-kerned? Past this initial interest, there seems to be a trend toward hand-rendered type and, most fortunately for The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, an interest in what existed before computers — before the mac ruled our world.
The Museum is quickly becoming the centerpiece of Two Rivers and will shortly unseat the ice cream sundae as a reason to stop in for a visit. Its future seems a little brighter than it did in the documentary and we hope its star continues to rise. With continuing support from its volunteers, the printing community and designers worldwide we can be sure it does.
For those of you lucky enough to live near the museum, what are you waiting for? Go go go! And for those who would like to go, but may be overseas themselves, they’ve recently opened a shop on etsy where you can buy one of their limited-edition prints. It’s worth the visit, and although more people are starting to notice it, it still seems to be one of the surprising hidden design destinations you can see before it get’s too big.
We also invite those who have been here to post a little something about their experiences at the museum. Just use the form at the end of this article. We also ask that you feel free to correct us if we got any facts mixed-up in our post here — after all, I’m really just an Art Director not a Journalist.
A full link round-up is available at the bottom of this post — after the images.
(Click on the images to get a full description of what you are looking at).
This year’s theme “Print <3 Digital” seemed to be a comment on how print artists are not really at odds with digital mediums but instead are embracing the tools given to them by the technology. We only spotted one instance of print vs. digital in the space, and noted that students and organizers carried the theme through the gallery, hallways and gathering areas.
Although not busted-up by the police as it was in 2007, according to this post on ChicagoPoetry.com, it still had a vague feeling of subversiveness and an edge most hope to get when dealing with us creative types. Some said “The people watching at the Ball was awesome…” and we could not agree more. A selection of performance artists roamed the floor as literature-seeking hipsters picked through the stacks of free paperback books and magazines placed throughout the Center for Book & Paper Arts.
We arrived about an hour into the event, missing many of the free hand-outs and readings listed on the schedule, but still found enough to keep us occupied until the After-Party bus started to bring the Ballers (we can call them that that right?) to Reggies, another Chicago-area-hot-spot, for more music and fun. Unfortunately for us, the drive back to the burbs of Chicago prevented us from attending that part of the event. If you went, we’d love to hear how that part of the night/morning went as well.
Highlights for us included the “Copy Jam!” installation by Printeresting.org and our first-time watching The Show ’n Tell Show — a growing, and well produced, talk show featuring the Chicago design community, normally held at Schubas. In full disclosure I’d also like to point out that The Show ‘n Tell show is actually sponsored by our good friends at the STA.
We commissioned some instant poetry, drank free beverages, and picked-up some serious swag. We also regretfully skipped the second floor where printmaking and papermaking demonstrations were set-up. We hear there were some really great broadsides by the Chicago Printers Guild. Also missed by our group was the official poster by Sonnenzimmer that I hoped to pick up and add to my collection.
Overall, it was a great experience for us and I’ll be trying to get a larger group of DesignChat participants to go with us when it happens again in 2011. Check out the images below for a bit of the experience.
If you have any other press, articles, opinions or thoughts about the Chicago 2010 Printers Ball, please share them in our comments section. We want to hear about your experiences too!
The poem we had commissioned, by Barbara Perry (please correct us if we got your name wrong): Snow Falcon. Wings spread disappears bright slap of cloud, shatters of French window lording its form over trees, titmice, lightening struck oaks... wait it’s a card in a deck of exotic animals and its flipside says sharp sense of appetite. And it's true a Snow Falcon can see a baby rat 500 yards away. Like you who sees the title of a book that you’ve been looking for. For years.
A few more links about Printers’ Ball
(Please leave yours in the comments below).
For years, the wine industry has lobbied its way into mainstream entertainment. It’s about time we saw some type being discussed! Check out this wonderful clip from White Collar, where detectives identify a suspect by the typography he leaves behind.
This year will bring the 3rd iteration of Cusp Conference, the mind-melting, thought gorging, two-day event on ‘The Design Of Everything’. As with years previous, Cusp is looking for students to assist in all areas of the production. This is a cherry way to get into the conference for free so if you are currently a student and want to volunteer your time and energy, get in touch. Here are a few ways: