Journees Grafika: 'Design Tendencies'

On Tuesday, December 4, 2007, I went to see a conference organized by Infopresse. The subject was 'Design Tendencies' (Tendances Design) and was composed of 4 lectures.

Stefan Sagmeister

Stefan Sagmeister's conference talk in Montreal at Cinema Ex-centris

The conference's highlight was Stefan Sagmeister, who presented the work of his company Sagmeister Inc. His talk was divided into four areas that he has been working on: 'design for music', 'socially responsible design', 'corporate design', and 'we are the authors'. He argues, that the areas he concentrates on in his design work are subjects he is really interested in.

Design for music

Sagmeister presented the corporate identity project for casa da musica (music centre) in Porto, Portugal, designed by architect Rem Koolhaas. Concerning the logo designing process he explained that ideas derived from a 6 week period of work. Finally they came up with the use of the shape of the building itself as a logo. The logo changes its color according to the print piece it is used on. If for instance a Beethoven music is going to be illustrated, the colors of Beethoven's portrait will define the logo colors. If 'casa da musica' features an electronic music project it uses the logo’s outlines and displays them in three dimensions. The logo works in many fields from Inhouse Sinfonie Orchestra to Rave Parties…

Socially responsible design

The following project was an initiative against U.S.military expenses. For the organization truemajority, which was founded by 500 business leaders. A promotional device in form of a pen has been created that contained an informational sheet, which compared high military expenses as supposed to low education. Sagmeister inc. also used cars to promote their message. These cars toured through many U.S. cities and Stefan Sagmeister pointed out that this promotional method did not cost more than a one-day ad in the N.Y. times.

Corporate Design

Sagmeister also presented the Zumtobel annual report of its lightening systems company. A plastic shape of a light, which was placed on the cover, was shoot in very different lightning situations. These were used inside the annual report.

We are the authors

Then he talked about the series 'we are the authors', for which he used the content of his own diary. Different ways of visualization characterize his personal quotes in 20 projects for very different clients:

Sagmeister tries not to use logos to avoid altering the meaning of his design work. Nevertheless, for the catalogue of N.Y. fashion designer Anni Kuan he put the Logo – an exception maybe because she is his girlfriend.

He also mentioned that he used to take a year off. I asked him what he could explore during this year. He said it shaped ideas for the coming years. He also experienced how it feels not to have the clients' pressure. He did not actually come up with a final project. His next sabbatical is planned for autumn 2008, which he plans to spend in Bali.

A very inspiring talk, which showed how less commercial design work can be!

Journee Grafika Logo screening

Scott Burnham

Scott Burnham was also lecturing at the Journees Grafika. He is assigned creative director for the 2009 Montreal Biennale. His work as a curator for Droog Design Urban Play gave him the chance to work all over Europe in Prague, Lisbon, London, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Beijing.

Some by Scott Burnham presented projects:

With a quote by Richard Florida Burnham introduced Gorilla Design projects. Whereas Florida believes that with a certain percentage of creative people in a city the city will transform to a creative city, Will Asop wonders when we actually get to see the creative city?

Gorilla Design projects:

I am sure that the upcoming Montreal biennial will be as inspiring as this talk...

Gabriel Poirier-Galarneau was presenting his work. He is a motion designer at toxa / urbania and talked about his motion design profession, which unites at the same time conception, production, design, editing, animation, illustration, photography, graphic design and technician.

And Vanderlei Caballero, design director at electronic arts. showed his parts of his work which is situated in the game industries.

Brigitte Schuster
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