For all attending or thinking of attending the 2008 AIGA GAIN conference I have put together this mini review of the previous conference in 2006.
Tom Kelley, general manager, IDEO
Tom was a great moderator. My only suggestion was to allow for Q&A with the audience. The cookie cutter, pre-canned questions were really sad.
Shane Brentham, senior director, brand services, worldwide marketing, Autodesk
Kevin Farnham, chief executive officer, Method
This was a really great presentation. I sympathized greatly with the growing pains that Autodesk and Method were going through. At the time of this presentation, the company was working for was having the exact same growing pains. Taking a huge product line that spans many disciplines and putting in into one cohesive brand structure is a very difficult challenge. The relationship seemed a bit hostile between the two, but the presentation was good none-the-less.
Moira Cullen, design director, Coca-Cola North America
Moira gave a good speech. She talked a lot about breaking down silos that form is huge corporate structures. At the time I could identify with that a lot because the company I was working for had many silos, and we were trying to break them down. She did speak a bit fast, and I would have loved for her to publish her PowerPoint, but that didn’t happen.
Sam Hecht spoke about his relationship with MUJI. MUJI is like the Walmart of China. It was interesting to see their process, in that they still work with basic material like paper to do mock-ups. He really engaged the crowd, and left them wanting more.
Michael Hendrix, co-founder, Tricycle, Inc
This was an interesting idea about retiring carpet samples and using printed samples instead. It’s an interesting idea, but I don’t think it will take off. People like to feel products that are tactile. It’s a necessary evil. However, a year later they are still going strong.
Ji Lee, author, The Bubble Project
Ji Lee’s bubble project was totally inspirational. His work is honest and truly refreshing.
Bobby C. Martin Jr., design director, Jazz at Lincoln Center
Bobby’s speech was a riot. Very inspirational.
Doug Powell, principal, Schwartz Powell Design and founder, HealthSimple
Great speech! Doug took from his own life hardships and used design to create a better solution for children with diabetes.
Scott Williams, chief creative officer, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Scott’s speech addressed questions I had been asking for years. Why do hotels continuously use horrible design that makes for and uncomfortable experience. Simple implementations like using clean white bedspreads and innovating with the curved shower bar is what GAIN is all about. Use design to make better experiences. This is one guy with whom I would love to work.
LiAnne Yu, director, Asian business strategy, Cheskin
I think this presentation should have been renamed “Market Studies on Selling Fast Food Chicken to Third World Countries.” Perhaps I am being too self righteous when I review this presentation, but I saw no value in it other than fat-cat corporate growth.
Richard Smyth, vice president, redevelopment, JFK, JetBlue Airways Corporation
This was probably one of the worst architectural ideas I have ever seen. In designing the terminal for Jet Blue, the Rockwell group imagineered three elements that identified New York. They came out with, cables, bleachers, and signs. Why is this bad, I’ll tell you.
The last thing anyone would want is to haul luggage up a bleacher to sit down. Bleachers have no backs an are one of the most uncomfortable seats ever. Typically if you have time to sit down, you want something comfortable, with space to place your luggage or set food to eat.
The large circular floating screen does nothing to add clarity or give information to users. It’s too far away to add any type of useful readable text for users, so it would basically become a ticker for advertising. More clutter. Fail…
The cables do nothing to the aesthetics of the terminal except add clutter. However, they are the lesser of the three evils.
If anyone has ever traveled, then you know what you want. It is common sense. Food, rest, a power outlet for phone and laptops, and free Wi-fi are the key things. The plan addressed none of these issues effectively and was a big fat plate of fail on epic proportions.
In general the presentation was kitsch and had no substance. The 3D fly-through simulation was going for a wow factor but missed the target. Rockwell was not solving problems with their design. They were decorating. Epic Fail.
I hope these reviews we’re helpful. There are some good speakers coming up at the next GAIN. Good luck to the speakers and attendees. I wish I could attend again.