Creating a Sense of Belonging with Anthony Vitagliano

On July 14, Digital Kitchen CEO Anthony Vitagliano will join digital experts from Gensler and Leviathan for the 2017 SEGD Xplorerevent in Chicago. We had a chance to speak with Anthony about his career, his inspiration and his session, “Design for Belonging.” Here’s what he had to say.

Anthony Vitagliano on Inspiration

I grew up in Oak Park, Illinois—a small suburban community just on the border of the west side of Chicago. A progressive town full of artists, writers, architects and musicians, Oak Park was the birthplace of Earnest Hemingway and the home of Frank Lloyd Wright for a big part of his life. I suppose it was their unconscious influence on my childhood that started my obsession with space and story.

When I was 14, I moved to Riverside, Illinois—arguably the first planned community in the United States, designed in 1869 by Frederick Law Olmsted. Another design hero of mine, he has had tremendous impact in shaping who I am as an experience designer. I am not an architect, author or landscape designer, but I study the principles of those who influenced my experience growing up as a child.

When I was fortunate enough to join Digital Kitchen as a junior animator in 2002, I had no idea what I was doing. I barely knew the tools, yet I found myself being mentored by some of the best designers and filmmakers in Chicago.

I truly grew up at DK, working on everything from title sequences to sculptural installations. It was in my exposure to the built environment that I realized the amazing influence the towns where I grew up had on me. I stopped thinking so much about designing for visual experience and started to think about designing for human experience, experimenting with ways to tell stories in unlooked-for places.

Anthony Vitagliano on Creating a Sense of Belonging

I was interested in combining art with technology in unexpected ways and was often surprised by the outcome. I started to think about how people act and interact—publicly and privately—to make things that were rooted in their place and made people feel like they belonged.

Today, the work I am most interested in focuses on creating a sense of belonging, which is such a fundamental human need. People want to fill their lives with—and return to—the experiences that create this feeling. And creating a sense of belonging is the driver of everything I do. As President and Chief Creative Officer of DK today, it's become the driver of the work we do for our clients.

Anthony Vitagliano on What You’ll Get Out of His 2017 SEGD Xplorer Session

This session will explore why designing for a sense of belonging is the most important driver of meaning in the modern era.

We will discuss how to transform businesses through an understanding of human behavior, experience and artistry. An accompanying workshop will provide people an opportunity to co-create an experience that focuses on people as much as pixels.

I hope people will leave with an understanding of designing for a core human need and, most importantly, learn the design techniques to make people feel like they truly belong.

Join Anthony for 2017 SEGD Xplorer,July 13 (tours) and 14 (event) in Chicago. Space is limited—register today!

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