2015 was a year awash with outstanding guest design lectures. My personal involvement on the AIGA Houston board afforded me the opportunity to see a host of inspiring people. Just a few included Bruno Maag, Roanne Adams, Nicholas Felton, Steven Heller, Louise Fili, Lana Rigsby, David Eagleman, Leland Maschmeyer, Paul Barnes, and Eddie Opara.
I was also very fortunate to represent Houston at the annual AIGA Board Retreat in Grand Rapids, MI. It was here Ric Grefé, long-time AIGA Executive Director, left me with my favorite design takeaway of 2015. His speech essentially addressed the future of design as a profession starting with where we came from:
When 'design' as a career began, it was more or less someone who made artifacts. A great example of this would be the precise and timeless work of creators like Charles and Ray Eames whose work is still in production by HermanMiller (the factory is coincidentally down the road in Zeeland, MI).
As the profession has grown to what it is today, designers have found themselves pivotal players in all types of industries. You need not look far to see evidence that supports well-executed design as a differentiator.
The question is really, where do we go from here? His diagram stated this thought very poignantly. The expansion in the role as designer is to become more multi-dimensional, to push ourselves into new industries and continue to be leaders of innovation. That is the value channel we began to progress from the start, and that same value in our profession needs to be our guiding compass, for now and decades to come.
Thank you to AIGA and Ric Grefé. More exciting content can be found on the Eye on Design blog.