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Chaos, Fury and Jambalaya: AIGA Design 2015


It’s always nice to meet face-to-face with our core audience. But it’s even better when we meet in New Orleans.

AIGA, the professional association for design, smartly chose New Orleans and its vibrant creative culture to host the AIGA Design Conference 2015. Thousands of designers came together to check out awesome speakers, develop their careers, network and, most importantly for us, share the habits and experiences of the modern designer.

We talked, we listened, we learned. Here are a few tidbits that we found especially interesting.

1. We still have a long way to go towards educating marketing and design professionals about DAM. Many of the people we met weren’t aware of DAM at all, painting a frustrating picture of life using a network server to manage and collaborate on files. When we explained the fundamental benefits of DAM – keeping the most up-to-date, approved creative assets at the fingertips of the people who need to use them – eyes lit up.


WebDAM Booth

2. Roman Mars is a fantastic moderator who knows how to drill down to the content that attendees want to hear. If you see him moderating in the future, you’ll definitely want to attend.

3. You can learn a lot in the right kind of chaos. Conference speaker Nelly Ben Hayoun, who directs a multidisciplinary “Willy Wonka” design studio in London, brought that kind of chaos to her session, asking random attendees to join her onstage for her Q&A with Mars. The attendees circled around, changing the audience/speaker dynamic and perhaps the line of questioning. Hayoun occasionally asked for opinions from the onstage audience members – so if you were one of those quick-thinking souls, nice job!

4. Anticipation and memories often beat the actual experience. At least that’s the theory of Rick Wise, CEO of Lippincott, who hosted a session called Designing Experiences That Connect: The Secret Science of Happiness. Whether you agree with that premise or not isn’t important – Wise’s point was that design and branding should make people anticipate and remember the experience more fondly than they felt in real time.


Shutterstock After party

5. Our parent company, Shutterstock, knows how to throw a party. They hosted the closing bash and, even with the amazing NOLA night life a few steps away, managed to capture and delight a huge crowd of attendees.

Flanked by Mardi Gras floats and terrifyingly large bowls of jambalaya, designers battled head to head in a Pixels of Fury live-design competition complete with cameras in the designers’ face and big-screen TVs following their every kerning. The final challenge was to design a poster to promote a 100-years-in-the-future Mardi Gras. The winner, appropriately, was Julia Sevin – a member of AIGA New Orleans. Check out this picture she tweeted of her work, which was somehow produced in just 20 minutes.  


The worst part about AIGA? Dragging ourselves out of bed and onto a plane Monday morning to leave an amazing time in an amazing city. All that learning, all that fun, all that food (we’re starting that diet … um, tomorrow) – AIGA was a great weekend to be in the design world. We’ll be back again next year, and hopefully we’ll see you there.

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