Archived on August 20, 2012. Visit for more information.

Pre-conference activities

Workshops | New York studio tours


Thursday, October 23
1:00–3:00 p.m.

“Gain” offered workshops providing intimate and in-depth insight into specialized areas of design and business: In-house design and practice management. Member rate: $140; nonmember rate: $215.

In-house workshops

It’s OK, I’m a Professional.
Elan Cole, global creative director, Johnson & Johnson
Elan Cole is one of the founding members of Chris Hacker’s Global Strategic Design Office at Johnson & Johnson. Over the past two years at Johnson & Johnson he has had an unprecedented opportunity to help foster a new dialogue within the company about the power of design strategy, raw creativity and risk-taking. This intense effort at building new kinds of relationships between design and business hasn’t been one-sided, however. During this workshop, hear how the Design Office is making it work with help from some truly visionary business partners. Learn how marketers and designers can toss out the idea of “sides” altogether and simply be professionals doing great work, together.

Audience: Designers, any level, who work collaboratively with their marketing counterparts.

In-house Intrapreneurialism
Andy Epstein, invangelist and head, AIGA Task Force on Corporate Design
In-house departments may face a variety of challenges: lack of respect from clients, an inability to participate in strategic meetings, insufficient staff and equipment to meet departmental mandates and inflexibility resulting from mandated corporate policies and procedures. Faced with these challenges, it is often impossible for in-house teams to offer the same level of service and quality creative work that their clients are used to receiving from outside agencies and design firms. This workshop proposes a global solution to such challenges by advocating and explaining how an in-house group can implement the intrapreneurial model originally proposed by Gifford Pinchot. First introduced in the mid-1980s, this paradigm is applicable to design teams that have the same mandates and needs as corporate R&D groups. It provides a validated and proven business path for internal design teams to establish themselves as entrepreneurial enterprises that just happen to be internal corporate departments. Takeaways will include key insights into the underlying cause of in-house design teams’ challenge; an understanding of the intrapreneurial model and how it applies to in-house design groups; a customized implementation action plan for individual groups; and a structure for post-workshop support and guidance.

Audience: Mid- and senior-level in-house design department managers and designers.

Practice management workshop

Exerting More Control Over Your Client Base Through Positioning/Marketing
David C. Baker, founder, ReCourses, Inc.
Most firms are generally busy. So, marketing is not about getting more work—which seems to happen whether or not you have a good positioning and marketing plan— but about getting a certain kind of work. It’s about control over your client base, and thus over your business. A strong positioning, especially, is the only way you’ll properly distinguish your expertise from that of your competitors, and if you then develop a thought leadership presence around that positioning, you’ll make more money and have greater impact. Those are, after all, the two hallmark components of a good client relationship. In this seminar we’ll walk through this developmental process in greater detail, and it could change your business life forever.

Audience: Anyone involved and responsible for positioning their firm and finding/selling clients.

New York studio tours

Thursday, October 23
4:00–6:00 p.m.

“Gain” attendees were invited to enhance their conference experience by visiting one of New York City’s most creative design studios and showrooms. Each destination included a studio tour and a brief presentation about current projects that demonstrate the interrelationship between great design and business success. Member rate: $40; nonmember rate: $65. 

frog design
One of the world’s leading strategic-creative consulting firms, frog design identifies emerging market opportunities and transforms ideas into compelling product and service experiences, helping Fortune 500 clients to evolve, expand and envision their businesses. This tour will include a discussion about the business impact of digital, product and service design, including case studies of frog’s recent work. 

For over 30 years, Interbrand has worked with many of the world’s most iconic brands—including McDonald’s, GE, AT&T, Xerox, BMW, Wrigley’s, John Deere and Microsoft—to align design and business strategy and enhance their most valuable asset: the brand itself. Take a tour of Interbrand’s studio and enjoy a preview of current projects. 

This studio tour of design and brand strategy firm Lippincott will be led by Connie Birdsall, creative director. Participants will view recent work for Xohm, Sprint’s new wireless broadband network launched in Las Vegas in 2008; new branding solutions for a complex brand architecture at Intuit; and a comprehensive overhaul of the identity and customer experience for Delta Air Lines.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
The Martha Stewart brand is known for its cohesive image, products and publications, which is a result of the entirely in-house design process. Tour Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s offices in the Starrett-Lehigh building, which encompass an entire city block and houses the photo studios, merchandising, design and internet groups. The tour will be led by Gael Towey, chief creative officer.

Mother Design
For more than ten years, the Mother network has been changing the role of the advertising agency with its uniquely flat structure and close creative collaboration with clients. After launching in the UK with Mother London, who has since been named UK’s Agency of the Year five times, Mother New York opened its doors in December 2003. In 2007, Mother launched Mother Design, lead by Michael Ian Kaye, to create an integrated brand experience through a strategic approach to design. A studio tour of the advertising and design firm on Bond Street will be followed by a presentation of recent work for Liz Claiborne, School of Visual Arts, Johnson & Johnson and more.


Sterling Brands
Visit Sterling Brands, located in the Empire State Building, and participate in a studio tour and design presentation with Simon Lince, chief creative officer, and Dan Walter, design director. Sterling was formed in 1992 to focus on global brand identity, brand strategy and packaging design. Today, the company has close to a hundred professionals worldwide. This presentation will include rarely seen case studies that demonstrate how Sterling Brands partners with its clients and consumers to deliver fresh, inspiring and effective design solutions. The presentation will include recent work for Tropicana, Celestial Seasonings and Wild Turkey.