AIGA Design Conference Board Reflections

Although COVID cases are rising and a large part of the world is rushing back indoors for winter, the conversations and collaboration we have all the time are not stopping or slowing down.  This year’s virtual AIGA Design Conference was one key example– with over 90 speakers and thousands of online attendees, there was so much dialogue last week that no one person could have absorbed all of the information on the table. Luckily, we sent several members of our leadership team to do some of the groundwork for you. Here are their key takeaways from various sessions throughout the week :

Michael Stark, Uniting People Director:

“All designers must answer the climate crisis. Activism shined through every moment of the virtual 2020 AIGA Design Conference this year and one particular focus was on a new wave of designers answering the call: climate designers. No matter your position in a company or community, a diverse panel showcased big and small ways to take action. The climate crisis is built on a complex system of movements and issues. Leading the charge requires creative thinkers to focus on the simplicity of design to make change in the world. Whether its sustainable packaging, standing up to your corporate company’s stance on climate, or working for a youth movement to incite change, we learned designers have the power to mold our planets future.”

Ashleigh Lay, AIGA Indy President:

“It’s no secret that conferences are dense with information. Even though I appreciate every minute, I am always grateful to give my brain a brief moment of rest while still consuming information. In one of the lighter sessions, we heard from Giselle Guerrero, Vice President of Creative at Impossible Foods, about the branding and marketing of the ground-breaking, plant-based product – the Impossible Burger. Impossible Foods wanted to develop a brand that broke the mold of the typical look in the meat industry (and how ironic is it that a plant-based product is competitors with actual meat products?!). Giselle had a massive role in that.

With clean layouts, bright colors and crisp imagery, Impossible Burger succeeds in creating brand awareness and standing out among its competitors in the meat aisle. They take risks and have fun while educating their audiences about their heme. Some of the in-house team’s victories have been Chrissy Teigen’s support at the “Grandma’s House” Impossible Burger launch party, Burger King using the Impossible Burger branding on their Whopper wrappers, and a South Park episode drawing inspiration from their product. Giselle and her team celebrate every small victory as long as it means they have succeeded in brand awareness.”

Joey Ponce, Community Engagement Director:

“As my first time ever attending the AIGA Design Conference, it was a great first experience to hear the topics of equality, social justice, and racial inequity being discussed in-depth in my profession. Conversations such as those on the racial biases of machine learning and AI during Day 1, as well as those on political activism and the art of protest at the symposium on Social Narratives and Igniting Change, reminded me of the importance we have as designers to communicate for those whose voices that are seldom heard. It was incredibly encouraging to hear leaders in our profession from across the world engaging in honest, often challenging dialogue about our responsibility as designers and creators to actively push toward positive change.”

By aigaindy
Published November 20, 2020