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

Main stage presentation descriptions

Short story: Designing for Theater
Gail Anderson, creative director, SpotCo
Less than a handful of firms specialize in design for the theater. While this niche is everything you might think it is, it’s actually much more—and maybe that’s why so few companies are equipped to take it on. In this presentation, Gail Anderson will visually walk the audience through one of SpotCo’s recent projects and illustrate the changing landscape of design for the theater business. Fasten your seatbelts—it can get pretty bumpy on the Great White Way.

Short Story: Creating Target’s In-house Studio
Phyllis Aragaki, director, Target Creative Studio
How do you take a great creative organization and make it better? On March 31, Target’s newly formed in-house studio went live and was “open” for business. Phyllis Aragaki’s short story will provide insight into what she and her team hoped to gain by re-organizing talent, how they did it and the lessons they learned along the way.

Reinventing Car Retail. Again.
Chris Bower, manager, retail strategies, Saturn, and Udaya Patnaik, principal, Jump Associates
Chris Bower and Udaya Patnaik deliver a case study on the redesign of Saturn Auto’s retail experience, sharing research methods, strategic findings, concepts and actionable results. This presentation isn’t just about cars—it’s about radically reinventing the auto retail experience, making one of the most stressful shopping moments into one of the most empowering. Facing increased competition, Saturn joined forces with Jump Associates and led a project to take their traditional strengths to the next level, crafting an innovative retail experience that meets customer needs and changes the business model for car retail. The Saturn and Jump team approached the problem as shoppers, visiting 30 of the most successful and well-regarded retail stores across the country. To identify opportunities for Saturn, the team analyzed the key messages, design cues and customer emotions of each shopping experience. By framing its findings against the traditionally unpleasant and negotiation-heavy experience of car buying, the team was able to lay out a set of recommendations for a new retail concept for Saturn that encouraged people to experiment, touch and try for themselves.

What Happens Next
Brian Collins, chief creative officer and chairman, COLLINS:
Dear American CEO: The whole disintermediation and deregulation thing hasn’t worked out very well for us consumers lately. We’ve gotten used to being our own travel agent, health-plan manager and tech support. But now we’re feeling insecure. We do not like being hostage to hiccups in the global economy. This will be our first winter with $4 heating oil. There is lead in Christmas toys. There is salmonella in our spinach (or is it the tomatoes?) and somebody in Russia is trying to steal our identity online. Our parents’ arthritis medicine turns out to cause heart attacks. Our homes and 401(k)’s are suddenly worth a whole lot less. Our jobs are up for grabs and scientists say the planet is on fire. Now, what was it you were trying to sell me?
Marketers are buffeted by the very same forces consumers are. And traditional marketing models are failing just as people are withdrawing their trust. Everyone is looking for solid ground in the swamp. Brian Collins will suggest the best way to find it: through design.

Eternal Patterns: The Confluence of Image and Wisdom
Michael Conforti, PhD, Jungian analyst, consultant and author, Threshold Experiences: The Archetype of Beginnings, and Dave Kuehler, director, Clay Street Project, Procter & Gamble
Images are iconic representations of eternal forms, telling stories about humanity’s attempts to establish a relationship with domains that transcend those of modern consciousness. Images are compelling, because of the importance of their message. However, when images are used in a haphazard way, made to fit like a square peg in a round hole, there is a dissonance, resulting in a disconnect and disinterest in the service and/or product. Leaders in the entertainment industry, advertising, public relations, marketing and design—within both large and small organizations—have begun to realize the importance of maintaining such confluence with images. For nearly a decade, Michael Conforti, PhD, and David Kuehler have worked independently as pioneers in their respective fields and finally together on special projects, evolving their efforts to form one of the most creative and unique approaches to organizational life, product development and the fostering of creativity with a group. Together they will present their work, providing both a theoretical backdrop to these shared ideas and real-life applications in the workplace.

Girl Market Relevancy. Rethinking Creativity
Heidi T. Dangelmaier, founder, 3iying
Will they love it? Whether launching a product or a new ad campaign, every responsible brand manager must ask herself this pivotal question before investing her resources in the next big idea. If your target market is the new millennial female, gaining love ain’t easy—in fact it’s getting harder by the week. Massive cultural and technological changes have permanently altered girl culture. Modern girls are more informed and discerning than ever—they are the pickiest consumer the marketing community has ever faced. Are brands keeping up with girls? Nope. As girl consumers become more empowered and selective, our processes for coming up with creative concepts has grown less accurate. What are the most powerful shifts in girl culture that have made it impossible to rely on old methods of innovation? What can creative agencies and brands do to start getting some of that love back? Heidi Dangelmaier and her team at 3iying, an all-girl think tank and consultancy, will share a new innovation process called “girl-approved marketing,” outlining the assumptions they’ve challenged, the techniques they’ve developed and why their methods lead to stuff girls love!

The Visual Language of Martha Stewart           
Stephen Doyle, principal and creative director, Doyle Partners, and Gael Towey, chief creative officer and founding art director, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
Gael Towey, the founding creative director of the Martha Stewart empire, will reveal the ideas behind the brand, and discuss how an editorial brand has been transformed into a creative force in the world of commerce. Her husband and sometime collaborator, Stephen Doyle, will join her to talk about packaging the brand and the products. Please dress in soft, muted colors for this tasteful presentation.

UNO’s Filtros™: A Hispanic Ethnography Tool for Better Design
Luis Fitch, principal and co-founder, UNO
When it comes to Hispanic consumers, there is plenty of folklore, myths and stereotypes to go around. Luis Fitch, co-founder of UNO, a Hispanic branding agency, will help to demystify the elusive, increasingly significant U.S. Hispanic consumer and reveal how to design for this audience. He will present UNO’s Filtros™ and discuss how to utilize this consumer profiling process that has a fundamental base, which then evolves into a segmentation and identifies key demographic and psychographic profiles of each client’s target.

Outliers: The Story of Success                       
Malcolm Gladwell, author, The Tipping Point and Blink, introduced by Josh Liberson, founding partner, Helicopter
Malcolm Gladwell will speak about his forthcoming book Outliers: The Story of Success, which looks at where successful people are from—that is, the kinds of backgrounds, environments and cultures that produce extraordinary achievement.

What Is Information, How Do People Find It, and What Can We Do About It?
Laura Granka, user experience researcher, Google
We know that people get information from a lot of different sources, and online search is only one part of this equation. Social networks, mass media and search engines all play an important role in this equation, and a company like Google needs to understand them all. At Google, the user experience team has conducted a great deal of research to better understand how all of these elements factor into the information seeking process. Laura Granka will share the research Google has conducted, insights the company has learned, and how research has collaborated with design and engineering to expand traditional notions of “search.” Working in multidisciplinary teams Google has been able to turn insights about user behavior into actionable ideas for product development and design.

Eco-Sustainability: Why Designers Have to Help!
Chris Hacker, chief design officer, Johnson & Johnson
Design is a problem-solving activity that requires choices as an integral part of the process. By understanding the environmental consequences of design decisions, one can inform great design with environmentally friendly materials and sustainable practices. Chris Hacker will demonstrate that environmental responsibility and profit are not mutually exclusive. Central to his work as chief design officer of the Global Strategic Design Office of Johnson & Johnson, Hacker will elucidate the imperatives of this new design process, which include:

  • Retraining designers to think about the consequences of the decisions they make.
  • Reviewing how companies think.
  • Getting under the hood in the early stages of design process and framing the project within sustainable criteria.

Short story: B Corporations: Redesigning Business
Bart Houlahan, founder, B Lab
Business represents the most powerful force in our society. A new generation of entrepreneurs has recognized that in order to address our greatest social and environmental challenges with the speed and at the scale required, we must harness the power of business to promote public benefits. Bart Houlahan will explain how B Corporations are designed to create benefits for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.

Trust, Lust and Loathing: Creative Chaos in the Collaboration Nation
Michael Jager, founder and creative director, Jager DiPaola Kemp
Designers. We charge headlong into the future, hand-in-hand with clients, other creatives and the culture itself, not knowing where we’re going or what we’re going to find when we get there, but hoping that we’re helping to change the world somehow. We engage in this wild, new dynamic, sometimes by necessity and sometimes by dictate, all the while being careful not to slit our wrists on the double-edged sword of collaboration. A delicate balance, highs and lows, and risks and rewards are inherent parts of the new collaborative environment. Michael Jager of Jager Di Paola Kemp Design demonstrates how his firm is facing and embracing the very real cultural evolution changing the face of design today.

Short story: AIGA Design for Democracy
Marcia Lausen, principal, Studio/lab, and director, School of Art and Design, University of Illinois at Chicago
In November 2000, when the now-infamous butterfly ballot caused confusion in the state of Florida during a hotly contested presidential election, the importance of well-designed ballots to a functioning democracy caught the nation’s attention. Recognizing that our entire voting process—from registering to vote to following instructions at the polling place—was in need of design reform, a multidisciplinary team of design professionals, educators and enthusiastic students set about investigating the transformative effects that good design can bring to civic experience. Marcia Lausen tells the story of a grassroots effort, which became a strategic initiative of AIGA, that developed into federally endorsed guidelines and resulted in a solid foundation for improved design—just in time for the 2008 presidential election.

Why the Sciences Need Art: Or, What a 19th-Century French Chef Can Teach Us About the Brain
Jonah Lehrer, author, Proust Was a Neuroscientist
August Escoffier was a late-19th-century chef who helped invent modern French cuisine. His celebrated recipes also anticipated some recent discoveries concerning the neuroscience of taste. Jonah Lehrer will explore the possibility of using art as a means of investigating the mind, as well as lead the audience through a diverse range of figures—from Escoffier and Paul Cezanne to Marcel Proust and Kanye West—to explore the interconnectivity between the arts and design and discoveries in the sciences.

Who owns culture in the corporation?  An opportunity for designers to add and extract value
Grant McCracken, PhD, cultural anthropologist, research affiliate, MIT and author, Culture and Consumption
A couple of months ago, Grant McCracken listened to the "bad girls of design" talk about design and its role in the corporation. He was struck that no one used the word "culture" to help talk about what designers do in the corporation and how they create value for the corporation. In fact, corporations are now struggling to master a "perfect storm" of change, some of it technological, some of it economic, some of its social, all of it cultural. The question is who will "own" this thing called culture, how they will deliver the knowledge called culture, and who will extract the value that comes from culture. In this talk, McCracken will describe what culture is from an anthropologist's point of view.

Ferroconcrete Swirls Out Pinkberry Branding
Yolanda Santosa, principal, Ferroconcrete
Since September 2006, design company Ferroconcrete has swirled out branding campaigns for Pinkberry, the frozen yogurt company, as it has expanded from a single shop in Los Angeles to more than 50 (and counting) on both U.S. coasts. Step inside the cool world of Pinkberry and explore how Ferroconcrete developed the brand and marketing strategies, which have included design for all print campaigns, the company’s website, in-store signage and event concepts. Yolanda Santosa will discuss the beauty of minimal brand methodology, the phenomenon of becoming an overnight success, the accomplishments of this unique, playful, personal—and at times romantic—brand and why consumers are encouraged to finally play with their food.

Understanding Web Design
Jeffrey Zeldman, founder, executive creative director, Happy Cog Studios
Possibly the most important invention of the past century, the web is undeniably one of the most robust engines of knowledge transfer, political and social change, artistic endeavor and economic growth that the world has seen. Websites enable people who can’t walk to run to the store. They bring knowledge and freedom of thought to places where such things are scarce, make every person with a connection a citizen of the world and allow every citizen to be heard. Why then is so little known about web design and web designers? And why is so much of what is discussed wrong or beside the point? If your business needs a better website, maybe you should stop asking web design to be something it’s not, and start appreciating it for what it is.