Category Archives: Event

An Evening with James Victore

Refreshingly candid, and if I may add, prone to swearing which I love, James Victore discussed his career and what he does to stay on top of his creativity. From Picture Wars with his son, Coffee Notes with his wife and continuously learning and forcing himself outside of his boundaries, his creativity is always being exercised. His biggest hurdle is himself; “[he is] the weakest link”.  He has a book of his career thus far coming out soon called Badass which is all black except for a deep pink ribbon bookmark which he refers to as “Darth Vader’s lingerie”.

The key thing that struck me tonight would be the fact that James had a plan. He came to New York when he was 20 and he had a 15 year plan. Wow. 15 years. That is quite impressive especially since he was 20. I certainly was not that pulled together at that age. But having made a few plans in the past few years I will agree it’s certainly the best way to do it. When you go on vacation you usually plan. The plane tickets, getting to the hotel from the airport, maybe a few activities during the week you know you’ll take part in. Sure sometimes you wing it but generally, there is a plan. The bigger picture decided, you then take smaller steps to get to the markers.

I confess to still wrangling with a plan for my career. My personal life in the past year has been progressing nicely thanks to planning so I know I can follow a plan, it’s just a question of coming up with on. There seem to be so many avenues in web design and development which is awesome and frustrating at the same time. I definitely enjoy what I do but I want to do more with it. There are so many amazing sites and technologies out there I just don’t know where to start.

James Victore reached a similar point between 35 and 40. He was floundering, as he put it. And he realized it was because he didn’t have a plan anymore. His plan went to 35 and then what? So he had to stop and put a new one together to get him to 70, which made everyone chuckle. That was reassuring that such a popular and accomplished designer would struggle. He seemed so self assured up there on that stage and has such a diverse array of accomplishments it was hard to believe that there was ever a point where he didn’t know what he was doing. It’s not that I go around thinking designers never struggle or have insecure moments but sometimes when I attend events or gatherings everyone seems so confident and hey, I’m doing great but I guess as Carolyn Burnham and Buddy Kane in American Beauty agreed “in order to be successful you have to project an image of success”.

New Frontiers of Graphic Design

A Panel hosted by mediabistro and moderated by Stephanie Murg, co-editor of UnBeige
View Photo Slideshow (i’m in the last photo, on the left with Katie Coates)

One of the great questions that came out of the audience at the end of this panel was the question, if you could teach kids anything what would it be? Doug Jaeger, founder of thehappycorp global, said he would focus on teaching being valuable, curious and adaptable. This answer, coupled with Chris Rubino’s statement, “don’t wait for the client to show up”, sums it up. There are so many possibilities to get your work out there and get connected it’s actually a little overwhelming sometimes but you have to show that what you have to offer is valuable. You have to be curious enough to find people and jobs in new places and find different ways to solve problems and adapt to changes be they from the client or your own life.

Heidi Dangelmaier, founder of 3iying, was the most inspiring for me to watch, in large part because I am a woman but also because she truly believed in what she had created. This innovative all girl company that “provides major brands insights, creative concepts and strategies for succeeding with the future generations of females”. She asks ‘What do you believe? Get behind that.’ And she is a perfect example of that. One my favorite things she said was that we need products that are more precious, not more free shit. And it’s true. I marvel at people who get stuff because it’s free. Well. That’s great. It’s free but what are you doing to do with it? Throw it in your junk drawer? Use it to launch another dust bunny colony?

Chris Rubino in particular stood out because not many designers, or anyone else for that matter, could tout having sold jars of their own urine to tourists during a self-made exhibition in Times Square. He wanted to give tourists a taste of what New York was really like (through his eyes) and not just the same old attractions. He was selling other things as well including some of his posters both framed and unframed – the unframed ones he sold as ‘authentic knockoffs’ – but he also sold jars of dirt samplings from around New York including the East River. Maybe this is not the most common way to impart a taste of New York, but definitely original and worthwhile. He sold everything at that exhibition. Yes. Even his urine.

Doug Jaeger was definitely the liveliest. Anyone who throws out balloons as business cards has to have some kind of sense of humor. He even joked about that saying you hand the balloons out at parties and everyone is blowing them up, popping them and then they don’t have your address but the balloons spark a conversation, which is where all the good stuff happens – name exchanging, emails, networking!

Felix Sockwell, formerly of Ogilvy and now building his own practice, showed a very speedy slide show of his work, the most recognizable to me was the September 2008 issue of Poetry magazine. His work is very simple and to the point whether it’s his signage (simple is very important here!) or his hand-drawn styled illustrations. What stuck with me is when the host, Stephanie Murg, co-editor of UnBeige, asked were there still any clients he would like to work for and he responded airport signage. This garnered a snicker or two from some of the other speakers but I think it’s a noble task to undertake. Make a mess of airport signage and you’re going to make a LOT of people unhappy and frustrated. His take on the future of graphic design: everything you make is going to have to work a little bit harder.