Read Time: 7.5 minutes
SEGD and SEGD Members ask a lot of questions—and—we get the answers! Over the past four years, we’ve published a lot of interviews—interviews with fellows, friends of the community, with designers young and old, the famous and the unknown. For your summer reading pleasure, we’ve compiled 20 interviews that cover a broad range of topics and interviewees.
Have a few minutes (or several hours) to spare? Happy reading!
Sneak Peak: She manages to make a tie-dyed t-shirt look effortlessly chic. She holds audiences of hundreds of designers in rapt silence as she makes light quips about her utterly impressive body of work—and lucky for us, she’s exceptionally good at being interviewed.
“There is coming a critical moment where [the collective] expectation will rise, and the level of work will rise to meet it.”
Sneak Peak: Doggett designed wayfinding systems for 40 major airport projects, many of which are still in use today. She was also the first to use: color, letter and symbol coding; airport signing on approach highways to increase safety and reduce the number of signs as well as architectural and brand integrations of airport symbols.
“Women ought not to feel threatened by those types of problems; if they are prepared, they’ll be respected.”
Sneak Peak: Jan Lorenc’s storied practice is rooted in a formula resulting in anything but the formulaic: reaching a holistic understanding of each and every project that informs a totally unique experience.
“And every project is storytelling. There’s a storytelling in everything you do, from using the right font to using the right colors; it plays a role in everything we do.”
Sneak Peak: Michael Reed has helped shape a wide variety of public spaces, from airports to courthouses and from urban bike trails to homeless shelters. His humanist approach to design has touched them all—weaving story with place and people to create spaces that respect and improve the quality of life for those using them.
“I rented an office space and literally hung up my shingle without any contacts or resources. As a 28-year old, I had no fear, just blind ambition.”
Sneak Peak: By anyone’s standards, the work of Don Meeker—activist and information designer—has touched the lives of more people than any other in his era.
“It was a two-year stint that included working with street gangs and participating in a successful effort to stop a new coal-fired power plant on lands that are now a national park. Based on that work, I was invited to Washington, D.C., and worked there for a couple of years with activist planning organizations to stop the I-95 hook-up through northeast Washington and other development that would have negatively impacted neighborhoods there.”
Sneak Peak: Soft-spoken, dressed in narrow black jeans, skater kicks and hip “Power Through Peace” Mexico68 jacket (a recent collaboration with Puma), he could as easily be 18 as 82.
“I think Einstein—I might’ve been a high school student when I first heard this—said, ‘everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.’ The catch is the ‘not simpler’ part. With too much simple, you risk stupidity; with not enough, it becomes too complicated and the message gets lost.”
Young Designers ask Questions
Sneak Peak: Recent Massey University (Wellington, New Zealand) grad Stephen Hight interviews Stephen Minning, SEGD board member, founder and director of BrandCulture and PAM Wayfinding (Sydney).
“Digital technologies are presenting a confrontational experience in environments in a way that is ever-changing, more connected and increasingly visual. I feel that the days of having a social life on your mobile phone, disconnected from everyone sitting around you, are numbered.”
Sneak Peak: Current University of Cincinnati DAAP student Mariel Lustig interviews Michael Bierut, partner at Pentagram (New York).
“And there it was. It seemed like it was two city blocks wide and three stories tall! I still remember screaming with joy.”
Sneak Peak: Daisy Corso, an SEGD award-winning designer at ArtHouse Design (Denver) interviews Virginia Gehshan, FSEGD, co-founder and principal of Cloud Gehshan Associates (Philadelphia).
“If someone is problematic, perhaps they are in a position that isn’t a good fit for them. Maybe there’s a lot of pressure from their boss, or they don’t think they have the resources to do what they need to.”
Sneak Peak: FIT Graduate Exhibition Design student Margo Malter interviews Keith Helmetag, partner at and co-founder of C&G Partners (New York).
“Change is imperative. SEGD evolved their “E” to broaden their audience, untangle confusion with the “green” movement and stay contemporary. Digital is often central to today’s work, so I’d say the “E” is for “Electric” too.”
Sneak Peak: Current North Carolina State University (Raleigh, N.C.) design studies major, Erin Delahunty, interviews Jason White, executive creative director at conceptual design studio Leviathan (Chicago).
“The best advice I give to people is to be clear about who you are and what you want to do. I am hesitant to hire people that say they can do everything; I want to know what you do really well.”
Sneak Peak: Since she joined SEGD in the 1990s, Kelly Kolar, President, Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Kolar Design has served the association as an involved supporter, Board Member and ambassador, helping build awareness nationally and locally.
“Through design, we were literally writing history. That was a pure adrenaline rush and I wanted to be a part of the creation of the future of design.”
Sneak Peak: As an athlete herself, Lukas’ passion for sport is both personal and professional; she understands what it takes to inspire athletes to perform at their highest level and what it takes to create an engaging fan experience.
“I would have loved to collaborate with Lance Wyman on the 1968 Mexico Olympics. I certainly don’t think I could have designed a better system, but it would have been an incredible experience to be by his side, working on one of the most impactful and influential events at that time.”
Sneak Peak: Don Kiel is an invaluable asset to the SEGD community through his many years as the SEGD Auction for Excellence curator and hands-on volunteer. Prior to his recent retirement, Kiel was the Manager of Wayfinding & Visitor Information at New York-Presbyterian, a world-class academic medical center committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service.
“As a monumental fan of P.G. Wodehouse, I would describe myself as someone who very carefully follows ‘the code of the Woosters.’”
People, Projects, Process, Projections
Sneak Peak: SEGD asks 20 questions of Derek Friday of Finndustry, an award-winning designer and ultrarunner who has committed to pushing his abilities to their peak amidst the uncertainty of freelance work.
“I truly feel the combination of these two things is really making me a stronger designer, a better individual—it’s helping me grow my mind and body to the point where I really don’t want things to change, I only want them to continue on this upward trajectory of challenges.”
Sneak Peak: Julie Margot of Julie Margot Design and Peter Soland of Civiliti discuss their process working on an unconventional wayfinding project “Escales découvertes (Discovery Halts)” in Mont-Royal Park (Montréal).
“We started talking about objects, rather than signage. Objects appearing in the landscape would be enigmatic and attract people to them.”
Sneak Peak: We spend a lot of time thinking about what the future of designing experiences might look like, but what will the future smell like? It’s one of our most acute senses as a human being—we can detect one trillion differing scents and can readily recognize about 10,000. We know that scent is the strongest trigger for memory, yet olfaction is sometimes ignored when developing experiences. Why?
“You can imagine a future where using our connected platform and the internet of things, you could enter your house, adjust the lighting and perhaps the scent.”
Sneak Peak: Cortina Productions (McLean, Va.) is an oft-awarded, full-service creative media design and production company that specializes in museum exhibitions. Jim Cortina, principal and development manager at Cortina Productions, talks about the firm’s experimentation with mixed reality and museums during SXSW 2017 and what that might mean for their future.
“One of the things we were drawn to is that you could still see and safely navigate your surroundings while using the device. Even though it’s first-gen, we bought a couple of them for the office.”
Sneak Peak: Perkins teaches graduate-level courses in professional practices, has served on the national boards of AIGA and the Association of Professional Design Firms, and is the author of the Professional Practice column for STEPmagazine, the Design Business newsletter for AIGA and the Design Firm Management column for Graphics.com in addition to his best-selling book, “Talent Is Not Enough: Business Secrets For Designers,” which is now in its third edition.
“Most design professionals don’t know nearly enough about copyright law—it’s really the foundation of what we do.”