Get Fresh with Me

AIGA New YorkThe evening of next Wednesday, 16 December, I’ll have the honor of being on stage as a guest for AIGA New York’s twenty-fifth annual Fresh Dialogue event, alongside Tina Roth Eisenberg of Swiss Miss, Allan Chochinov of Core77 and Josh Rubin of Cool Hunting. Our mandate will be to cast an eye on the design world through the lens of each of our respective blogs, and to take a look at how social media is impacting the way design is practiced. The evening will be hosted by the design writer, critic and chair of SVA’s Masters in Design Criticism program, the remarkable Alice Twemlow. It’s going to be a blast.

Find out more about the event and register for your tickets here.

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From My Left Feet to the Left Bank

I’m a little burnt out on blogging, so forgive me folks for having been somewhat absent here over the past few weeks. Fear not; I fully intend to regain my mojo before too long. In the meantime, though, I’m trying to get through December’s litany of social distractions: the holiday season, for one, and just a little bit more travel before the calendar’s done, too.

If you’re also coping with the former, and if you’re in New York City, what better way to ease yourself through the December craziness than by spending it with a passel of your peers at AIGA New York’s Annual Holiday Party? Last year’s was a bit of a mob scene, but this year we’re upping the ante: dancing, a bigger, more spectacular venue, dancing, an auction of design goodies, dancing, and M.C. services provided live and in person by the inimitable John Hodgman — for real! The party is this coming Sunday night and tickets are a measly US$20.

The day after the party, I’m heading out to Paris again to visit my father for about a week. My goal is to visit him there twice a year, for at least as long as I can cobble together enough incredible shrinking dollars to pay for meals in Euros. Oof. I’m bringing a brand new, work-issued MacBook with me, so in theory I’ll be blogging a bit. It all depends on whether I find some cool stuff to do or not. If you know of anything, drop me a line. Otherwise, happy holidays!

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New Site, New Blog for AIGA New York

AIGANY.orgYesterday we officially launched a brand new version of which was beautifully and smartly designed by the dynamic duo of Greg D’Onofrio and Patricia Belen over at Kind Company. They’re a small but extremely talented shop in Brooklyn that’s doing some stellar work, including a terrific and invaluable resource commemorating the work of Alvin Lustig. is the official site for the New York chapter, not to be confused with which was famously and wonderfully redesigned earlier this year by Happy Cog for the national organization. Naturally, our site is focused on all the design-related events that the chapter puts on in New York City during the fall, winter and spring of each year. All modesty aside, it’s really a hell of a lot of stuff; you’d have to TiVo the majority of a television season just to attend half of these events each year.

So to help keep everyone apprised of what’s going on, this redesign features a new blog called, somewhat cheekily, DESIGNY (RSS feed). Get it? DESIGNY, design-y and design-New York? Corny puns aside, we’ve staffed this blog with a hand-selected coterie of up-and-coming design tastemakers: Randy J. Hunt, Louise Ma and Michael Brenner. Between them, they’ll be covering all of the events we put on, and more.

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Daring Fireball in a Crowded Theater

Holy moley, we managed to book the inimitable John Gruber to come speak for us tomorrow night in SoHo! By “us,” I mean AIGA New York, which thanks to events like this and others, is getting cooler by the minute — get yourself a membership today.

John, of course, is the author and proprietor of Daring Fireball, which is, hands down, my favorite Macintosh punditry blog, period. Not only does he offer some of the most penetrating business and technical analysis of the Macintosh ecosystem available anywhere, he’s uncommonly insightful about the dark art of interface design. In fact, he’s promised to reprise, at least in part, a wonderful talk he’s given before about the difference between consistency and uniformity in the interfaces that Apple users interact with everyday.

If that’s not enough for you, John is just back from last week’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference where amazing, amazing things were supposed to have been announced, it was rumored, but for some reason they were not. Hmm. If you’re curious about what went down in Steve Jobs’ town, this is the event to attend.

This talk is the latest in our Design Remixed series, and it too will be held at the Apple Store in SoHo. (If you think it’s an accident that I suggested an uninhibited Apple pundit for an appearance at Steve’s downtown Manhattan outpost, well I’ve got a bridge to sell you. At any rate, it’s going to be interesting.) These events have been pretty popular, so come early to get a seat in the store’s roomy but definitely limited auditorium. The good times start at 6:30p sharp.

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Get Fresh Tonight

Folks, just a reminder: Fresh Dialogue 23 is tonight at the Haft Auditorium at F.I.T.. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this year’s theme is “Designing Audiences,” which will examine how designers and design consumers are both getting all up in each other’s faces and what not.

We’re going to be showcasing some great talent that you’ll be hearing lots about in the coming years0 designer and illustrator Stefan Bucher, Eric Rodenback of Stamen Design and game designer Katie Salen. And, of course, the event will be moderated by the amazing Ze Frank who, if you haven’t seen him in person before, is worth the price of admission alone. There are a few seats left available (Haft Auditorium is relatively huge) so you can show up at the door tonight at 6:30p. Don’t miss it, just don’t!

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AIGA New York Stuff I’m Involved With

AIGAWe hit a little bit of bad luck over at AIGA New York during the weekend, when tomorrow’s Small Talks speaker, the one and only Jason Fried came down sick and had to cancel. So for those of you who have tickets to this sold out event, please don’t show up tomorrow (an official email went out to all chapter members and ticket holders this afternoon) as Jason’s appearance has been postponed. We don’t yet have a make-up date, but we’re hoping to schedule it for sometime in the next few weeks — hopefully pretty soon, actually.

Meanwhile, here are some more AIGA New York goodies to tide you over.

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Lately at AIGA New York

AIGATime for a quick round-up of matters relating to AIGA New York, of which I am a board member. When last we left our story, I had endeavored to bring more digital design into the fold when it comes to programming the New York chapter’s events. We started last fall with a Jeffrey Zeldman Small Talk which was quite successful, I think.

Things have been a little quiet since, but only because it’s taken some time to cook up some more interesting things. First off, we’re nearing the final stages of a new redesign of the Web site. You may recall that I sent out an open call for New York-based design studios interested in helping us with this project last August. I got disappointingly few replies to that call, but as it turns out, one of the respondents — a terrific shop called Kind Company — was the perfect fit. Look for a brand new site from them soon.

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What Kind of People Are These?

AIGAWe were lucky enough at AIGA New York to get Jeffrey Zeldman to do a Small Talk event of his own a few weeks ago. It was a big success, but I still consider that event just one step in a larger effort to make AIGA an organization that’s more conducive to the practice of interaction design. After all, Jeffrey᾿s appearance, while a quietly momentous occasion in its own way, wasn’t the first time we’ve brought folks who work online in front of the chapter’s membership — among others, Joshua Davis has spoken in the past and Matt Owens will be appearing at our upcoming Passion/Payoff Student Conference in just a few weeks.

Effecting change takes more than just getting a few recognizable names to talk to chapter members, though. The trick, I think, is producing a sustained effort in which the kinds of events and content that are applicable and appealing to digital designers are treated on a peer level with those geared towards designers working within AIGA⁏s more traditionally recognizable discipline areas. That’s harder.

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When All’s Said and Done

Despite an ugly night of non-stop rain, Jeffrey Zeldman’s Small Talk event for AIGA New York went off without a hitch this evening. In fact, it went great; Jeffrey’s always entertaining, and he gave a spirited, insightful and often hilarious talk on the nature of selling great work to clients. The subject was a perfect match for the mixed audience of Web designers and print designers, and I think everyone got a little something out of it, regardless of how they earn their design dollars.

Just how many of each kind of designer attended, it’s hard to say. During one question, Jeffrey asked for a show of hands, and it looked like most of the room was populated by designers who work primarily online. Still, this is a salient question for AIGA that I’m keen to get an answer on. As I mentioned last week when I was promoting this event, we’ll be surveying the attendees for their opinions starting tonight, so if you attended, check your email.

As promised, we’ll be giving away some prizes to randomly selected survey respondents: two copies of Jeffrey’s “Designing with Web Standards (Second Edition),” each of which have been signed and dated by Jeffrey to commemorate tonight’s talk, and a free season pass to all four of next spring’s Small Talks.

Speaking of future Small Talks, we have three more coming up before the end of the fall 2006 season: Marc Joseph in November, Peter Arkle and Amy Goldwasser in December, and Emmanuelle Linard in January. All of these events take place in the beautiful venue generously provided for us by Bumble and bumble, and all of them are not-to-be-missed if you enjoy listening to incredibly sharp people talk about design.

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