Loose Change - Conversation on the Continuum of Design in Chicago
Even with dramatic changes in the workplace, escalating client demands and ever-evolving styles, tools and platforms, the foundation of graphic design remains consistent. It's about a certain kind of talent, skill and creativity being applied to solve a spectrum of challenges.
Join us for a panel discussion with six well-known Chicago designers—Bart Crosby, Steve Liska, Rick Valicenti, Alisa Wolfson, Dawn Hancock and Katherine Walker—who are all contributing to the design community in different ways and at different stages in their careers.
Together, we will reflect on design—what it was, what it is and what it will continue to be.
Rick Valicenti on Bart Crosby
Bart Crosby is a Chicago treasure. He is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) and one of a few hometown AIGA Medalists.
Crosby is the only one I know who can boast of having worked in the legacy office of once renowned industrial designer Raymond Loewy and also along side of John Massey at The Center for Advanced Research in Design (CARD), an independent design studio headed by Massey and endorsed by the design-forward Container Corporation of America (CCA). His independent studio was mentored by Robert Vogele when it merged with RVI Corporation and today he is president of the venerable Crosby Associates.
Even though Crosby's first job out of school, in 1964, was at Union Carbide's Food Products Division, where he drew dancing farm animals and hand-lettered logos on meat packages, he has elevated corporate branding systems into the extreme of excellence. His typography is masterful, his sensibilities are timeless, his style always refined, and his attention to even the tiniest detail is way out of my focus.
I love practicing in the long shadow of one of Chicago's most complete designers.
Bart Crosby on Steve Liska
Steve Liska is the founder (1979) and genius (really) of the branding and design firm Liska+Associates. He possesses the mind of a mathematician, the precision of a surgeon, the patience of a saint, and the tenacity of a bulldog.
Steve is an eclectic design adventurer; has 20/10 vision for detail; and is an organizational zealot—he makes an Apple Store look like someone's storage shed. As president of AIGA Chicago, he had the organization running like a Swiss watch. He's clever, cosmopolitan, and enigmatic—kind of like Howard Hughes without some of the really weird stuff. He and his work have been recognized locally, nationally, and globally. He also happens to (fortunately) be my steadfast and generous friend and confidant.
Steve Liska on Katherine WalkerKatherine Walker is a highly respected Senior Designer at VSA Partners, experienced in designing for a wide array of industries, media types and audiences.
A graduate of SAIC, Katherine is an energetic and consistent supporter of the design community- serving on the AIGA Chicago board, a co-founder of Quite Strong—an all-female design collaborative with a focus on community-oriented events and empowering creatives. In addition to teaching, mentoring and pursuing her commitment to her profession, she is also a very ambitious- aspiring to be a French inspired- chef and is someone you would want on your team for any pop-trivia related challenge.
Katherine Walker on Alisa Wolfson
Alisa Wolfson is impressive. For starters, she is the SVP group design director and pioneer of Leo Burnett's in-house department of design. Just let that sink in. Under her leadership, the department has grown into an internationally-admired creative force here in Chicago. She's also created another superb body of work as the design director of Lampo, a non-profit presenter of experimental music. And to top it off, Alisa was named one of 30 "Women to Watch" by Ad Magazine in 2012.
But even more impressive? The candid feedback I received from designers who have worked for and with Alisa over the years.
"She's an amazing mentor." "Alisa always fights the good fight for her people." "One time I noticed she had a copy of 2wice Editions on her desk and I thought that was rad. Who actually reads that? Abbott Miller would be proud." "I gotta give her props for her constant support for her individual team members who pursue artist ventures outside of Leo on the regular. That's a rarity in leadership." "Honestly, she was such a joy in the office...she's such an encourager and mentor to her teammates. Even when pulled in a million directions, she was always accessible and never rushed you. I loved having her as a boss."
And, of course, the bangs, "definitely the bangs." "Her bangs are perfect." "Must mention her regimented bangs." "The bangs are pivotal, make a note!"
Alisa Wolfson on Dawn Hancock
I met Dawn in 2008 when she presented her work at the AIGA's Fresh Talent series and quickly understood how humble, gracious and curious she is. Dawn Hancock is the founder of Firebelly Design, a collaborative design practice that specializes in building community outreach and social change through design. Firebelly also creates beautifully crafted print and digital material for public service, private business, the arts and most recently mass transit for the CTA's DIVVY bike sharing system. Dawn is also a mentor, an innovator and an entrepreneur in the most modern sense. She founded Firebelly's Reason to Give, Camp Firebelly and Firebelly U, all of which have shown how purposeful design leadership and mentoring can change people's lives. Dawn also is an activist, public speaker and passionate vegetarian.
Dawn Hancock on Rick Valicenti
I have learned many things from Rick Valicenti, but none as important as his mantra: it's not business, it's personal. It's clear just how true to heart he takes this. Rick inspires us all to dig deep within and leave a little bit of ourselves in everything we do. Every project includes his unique signature. Every conversation with him reveals a nugget of wisdom he's learned over the years and happily passes along. Rick's poetic and passionate approach to creating has garnered him countless awards and recognition including the highest honor in our profession, the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Communication Design. Whether through his future-forward design or his genius wordplay, Rick continues to reinvent himself day after day, constantly ten steps ahead of the rest of us, but always willing to bring us along for the ride.
This event is co-sponsored by:
Neenah Paper For more than 100 years, Neenah Paper has been an innovative leader in the creation and manufacturing of premium, specialty and sustainable papers used for premium writing, text, cover, private watermarks, and specialty needs. The Neenah signature portfolio includes market leading brands such as CLASSIC®, ENVIRONMENT®, and ROYAL SUNDANCE® Papers. The company also produces envelopes in thousands of unique styles. Neenah is committed to developing relevant mobile and online technologies including the Neenah Paper Cabinet™ for Desktop tool and the new Neenah Cabinet™ for iPad app. With multiple manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin, prime importance is also placed on recycled and alternative fiber products through the Neenah Green initiative. Visit www.neenahpaper.com for more information. Follow Neenah Paper on Twitter: @neenahpaper; subscribe to the Neenah Facebook page; or visit Against the Grain, Neenah’s blog for designers, printers and paper-lovers.
Unisource Worldwide, Inc., headquartered in Norcross, Ga., helps enterprise-level companies improve bottom-line performance by providing innovative, sustainable, highly efficient solutions across the life cycle of core business operations, including product packaging and fulfillment, paper and print management, general supply chain and logistics, and facility supplies solutions. Unisource has offices and operations in key locations around the world, and is currently ranked as one of the largest privately held companies in the United States. With a global workforce of approximately 4,300 team members located throughout business units in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia; and more than 12 million square feet of supply chain capacity and a fleet of “Big Red” trucks based at approximately 90 locations across North America, Unisource is a partner to many of today’s leading global organizations. Unisource can be found online at www.unisourceworldwide.com.