Head, Heart, Hand 2013

Four Days of Inspiration at AIGA

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Posted: Dec 4, 2013

What does it mean when we think about design as strategy, passion, and craft?

This past October the design team at Pyramid traveled to Minneapolis to attend the national AIGA conference with 1,800 other designers, educators, and creative professionals from around the country.

Over the course of four days, we were challenged and inspired by great designers who discussed how they are addressing the conference’s theme of “Head, Heart, Hand” and the concepts of design as strategy, design as passion, and design as craft. From large presentations in giant auditoriums, to smaller workshops, to intimate conversations over happy hour, this really was a chance for every person who attended to think about what design means to them and how the philosophy of head, heart, and hand plays out in their work. It was an amazing experience, and it has forced me to reflect on my role as a designer.

During the next few weeks, the design team will be sharing individual lessons and important takeaways from the conference. Before we go deeper, I want to kick off the series with one valuable idea from each day.

"Design is taking the personal and making it universal." — Michael Vanderbyl

Day 1: What am I doing? It’s important to remember that, more than anything, as designers we are communicators. It’s easy to dig into the work and lose track of the main goal. My objective is to communicate—in a visual way—a message that is relatable and resonates with the audience and achieves the goal.

“Design comes from overlap.” — Karl Issac

Day 2: The ‘I’ in design is misleading. One person has the ability to create a good design, sure, but GREAT design comes from research and understanding by a diverse group of people with different experiences, understanding, and relationships to the message.

“Designers want to design the letter, but they need to think about how to design the envelope.” — Allan Chochinov

Day 3: When I design the letter, I might spend a lot of time and energy looking at the details—the leading, the kerning, what paper the letter is on, what is the font—but more that anything we need to remember to consider how the letter is getting to its destination, or intended audience. What vessel are we using to send our message into the world? Is it the right approach?

“Love this S***.” — Aaron Draplin

Day 4: Simple. Love what you do. I chose this job and line of work, and it is one of the coolest jobs out there. I am very lucky to do what I do. I need to remember that, love it, and be the best I can be, so we can keep serving you in the work you’re doing to improve our world. 

Karis Cady leads Pyramid’s design team as Design Director, with experience in a range of disciplines, from branding, print and digital design, illustration, and data visualization. When she’s not envisioning new logo concepts in her head, Karis is likely exploring the outdoors with her family. Connect with her on Twitter @Karisima.