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Design Currency: Icograda Design Week 2010

Vancouver, Canada – Design Currency: Icograda Design Week in Vancouver 2010 was held as an inspiring event for the design community to listen, discuss, and debate with the various diverse presenters from all corners of the globe, about the issues concerning the value of design.

Presented by the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC) and the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda), Design Week in Vancouver 2010 was held to discuss, promote, and celebrate the true value of design. With over 28 presenters; some local, and some from the far reaches of the globe, this weeklong momentous event was held to the great acclaim of the Vancouver design community.

Located in the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Center, the presenters spoke on Design Week 2010’s central theme: Design Currency; Defining the Value of Design. Over the course of the week, the presenters guided the audience through their own interpretations of the value of design. Each presenter had their own take on the theme, which led to a particularly inspiring rich diversity of content for the audience.

The first day began with introductions and a warm welcoming from Rod Roodenburg and the GDC, Russell Kennedy, the President of Icograda, and “The Last Wild Indian in Vancouver” Henry Charles, whose great-great-great-grandfather met Captain George Vancouver himself. An early warm moment that brought the audience together was when the GDC awarded the event’s MC, Dave Mason., with the highest honor the GDC can bestow. After receiving fellowship, the clearly astounded Dave Mason, gave a choked up thank you as he received a standing ovation from the audience.

After collecting his thoughts, Dave introduced the first keynote panel of speakers, which included Helen Walters (USA), Don Ryun Chang (Korea), and the architect Cameron Sinclair (USA). Each gave a brief introduction of themselves and their work, and then, in the spirit of interactivity, the floor was opened up to the audience for questions. After which, the speakers and audience headed upstairs to eat, drink, and mingle.The second day began with a breakfast presentation by Mark E. Sacket (USA) about why ‘Sitting is Not An Option’. After which, there was a panel discussion with Cameron Sinclair (USA), Peter Busby (Canada) and Bruce Haden (Canada) centering on sustainable cities. The first presentation after a quick coffee break was by Peter Busy (Canada), and then by Oscar Peña (Netherlands) about creating value for the brand.

After lunch, there was a discussion about what the value of design truly is. Each table was given time to discuss amongst themselves as to what design’s value is, and one person from each table was to present to the entire audience their table’s findings. Some interesting answers included: “The value of design is the improvement of the human experience, through creative problem solving”, GDMA’s program assistant Nick Frühling and his table came up with: “The value of design is beyond the bottom-line, it creates the top-line”. Matt Warburton’s table came up with: “The value of design is immeasurable”. And then the humorous answer from Subplot’s table: “The value of design is 6”.

After the roundtable discussion, Ashwini Deshpande (India) provided insight about India’s rising middle class and how to go about designing for it. Afterwards, in the spirit of how design and technology can connect us all, Martin Miruka (Kenya) gave a presentation about his passions for the brand of Africa, through the video-conference program Skype, at 2AM his time, in Kenya. Another particular high note of the day was the presentation about the history of branding: ‘Why We Brand, Why We Buy’ by the passionate AIGA President Debbie Millman (USA). The day ended with a presentation by Brian Collins (USA) about ‘Changing Design’. After the day concluded, many attended the ‘Dinner With a Side of Design’ event with an economics theme and the Australian Party, in celebration of the next Icograda event in Australia.

The final day began with a ‘Rise and Shine Breakfast’ with Adobe. An inspiring moment of the day was when Marian Bantjes (Canada) spoke about the ‘Cultural Value of Art in Design’. Afterwards, Rethink’s Ian Grais (Canada) spoke more about the ‘Value of the Brand’, under the theme of ‘You can’t value design without designing values’. Every studentin the audience was particularly excited to see the light-hearted Frank Chimero (USA), who has an extremely dedicated following amongst young designers. He spoke about the ‘Rules of Engagement’ and using design to create delight.

After lunch, Ali Gardiner and Ben Hulse (Canada) spoke about designing for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and received a special thank-you from Dave Mason and standing ovation from the audience. Afterwards, Ali joined a panel discussion with John Gleason (USA) and Debbie Millman (USA) to discuss ‘Global Design Procurement’, mediated by Blair Enns (Canada). With debates about hot topics like spec work, design contests, and the difficulty of giving value to something so immeasurable as design. Shortly after, there was another thought-provoking panel discussion about sustainable practice by Nathan Shedroff (USA), Valerie Elliott (Canada) and David Berman (Canada). Followed by a streamed presentation by David Lancashire (Australia) and spoken presentation by Debra Sparrow (Canada) about design and indigenous culture. The final presentation was by Dr. Tony Golbsy Smith (Australia) about ‘Design’s Higher Calling’.

The last day of presentations ended with parting remarks from Russell Kennedy and Rod Roodenburg, and guests dispersed to collect their thoughts and reflect the past days events. While some prepared for the next morning’s educational workshop and roundtable, others hurried off to the Graphex 2010 Awards & Design Currency Closing Party. But no matter where the attendees went, no one could deny the overwhelmingly inspiring atmosphere that the event provided, which simmered in the minds of the delegates as the sun set over beautiful downtown Vancouver.

Click here to view more pictures of the event.

This event was attended by TAXI Editorial Correspondent.

Photography and Text by Jessica Luch
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