Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to be sent to the AIGA Design Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Big Lots generously contributed a large sum of money to send the top Advertising & Graphic Design students to the event. Thirteen students & I flew up to the land of 10,000 lakes for what would be a really inspiring and exciting trip.
Minneapolis is an unexpectedly vibrant and beautiful city. There were huge farmers markets, many great restaurants, and the weather was perfect. We walked to a menswear shop in the warehouse district called Martin Patrick 3. I bought myself a third shoehorn. The architecture is really interesting, and I love all of the old hand painted signs that are everywhere. Minneapolis is what I hope Columbus will evolve to in the next 10-20 years.
We were able to tour the Target HQ, and get to hear about their design process and see where their designers work. There are 15,000 people working at their company in downtown Minneapolis alone. It was fascinating seeing how such a large company functions and executes their designs.
We saw many really great presenters. We got to hear from advertising legend George Lois, the Original Champions of Design (OCD) of New York, and many other really great presenters. My favorite was Aaron Draplin from Portland. He was dynamic, had many inspiring things to say, and his work is fantastic. He encourages us to do projects that we think will be fun, regardless of money. It was a really great outlook.
We also got to check out a small local digital agency called SevnthSin. They have some really nice work and a really great space. They were kind enough to review a few portfolios, and we enjoyed the ping pong and pinball. Digital design is really starting to grow on me
We ended the conference with an amazing party at the Walker Art Center. They had an open bar, great food, and live jazz. We lead the party to the dance floor, dancing with designers and presenters of all ages. We had an absolute blast.
We were very sad to leave, but we were excited to bring and apply our renewed excitement to our work. Unfortunately, being away for five days creates a big pile of work that needs done. Better get back to it!