I looks like AIGA has posted a lot of their own pictures to Flickr and they photographed every volunteer but me! Guess that’s what I get for lurking in the dark dark back stage and spending most of the rest of the time practically running getting stuff for back stage. All well.
AIGA discovery — The Internet
Being new to AIGA it took a while to really figure out that “graphic design” really only means “print design”. It’s something I hope to change in the future by getting very involved with AIGA. While I’m not looking to turn AIGA in to SXSW I would like to see a broader definition of design. I do feel AIGA is lacking in coverage of the web they are starting to get the idea.
The conference website does look really nice but it’s not very well thought out. Information is hard to find and just not organised in to enough categories with descriptive titles. While the current tab you are in does highlight there is no breadcrumb trail to learn any more. With out even a site map to really get a sense of the organization it can become slightly disorienting. The url is also not permanent, which Kottke has also pointed out, which is still a problem with conferences across the world. As more and more info are put on conference websites permanent urls will be even more important.
I know that Kottke agreed to blog the event and I know there is an official blog but it took some deduction to figure out that Kottke is the official blog. As far as I can tell there is no link on the main website to any blog or even a description that the conference has anything to do with blogging. If you look hard enough you will find a link to Flickr and where the podcasts will be hosted. I know that most people have not gotten home yet but as of now there are only 300 some pictures for a 2,500 person conference. As for the podcasts, I can guarantee that over 95% of the people have no idea that there will be podcasts of any kind. Not to mention that there is no explanation of what a podcast is which this print design conference needs. Kottke also links to the proper del.icio.us tag and a total of 8 are listed all posted by the same person.
Some one in AIGA wants the web to be a larger part and I hope to help them in that endeavor but there is a lot to do to not only do it right but educate others on what is even being done. Even though AIGA lags behind you can almost feel that they are aware of it and are trying to catchup. Frustrating as it might be it just makes you want to help them get there.
How famous are you?
There is a rumor going around that at one of the volunteers stopped a man with out an name badge from getting on one of the buses. He started to yell and ask if she knew who he was. Turns out it was Milton Glaser. A lot of the other big name designers were also making fun of her on the trip. Is this what we’ve resorted to? Let me tell you right now that I didn’t take the history of graphic design class at tcnj and I didn’t know who anyone was either. When people act like this it keep other out of the field and stifles the industry. While Milton is the most famous he still is just a print designer and the world has no idea who he is (even his wikipedia entry is small).
AIGA – dash to the airport
So Ben Karlin was on stage talking about America: The Book. He’s very funny and answering John Hockenberry’s questions before he’s about to get off stage. John mentions that Ben has to catch a plane and he doesn’t even flinch. I don’t know how he can be so calm. I know I wasn’t and nobody backstage was either. What the audience doesn’t know is that it’s three minutes till 11am and his plane is off the ground in less then an hour.
Ben calmly walks off stage and chaos erupts in the darkness backstage. His mic is quickly removed and he runs over to me to grab his stuff. Lunch started at the end of his presentation and about 2,300 people are exiting the room all of which would have love to stop and talk to Ben. I take him the back way down and we run down an escalator that isn’t working from the 3rd floor. Getting to the bottom we run full speed across the length of the convention center. Ben comments on how much he hates schedules that make him do this between puffs of breath. No convention goes have made it down to the first floor yet and we don’t have to worry about a fan stopping him. Another AIGA staff is waiting for us at the door and points us to a waiting car with the engine on. the doors and trunk pop he jumps in and I put his stuff in the trunk. The car pulls away as I’m closing the trunk.
I check my watch and it’s 11:01. We made it through the massive convention center in 4 minutes. Wow. exciting but I’m out of breath.
AIGA – Day 2
It’s hard to say what I would not give to have a laptop at the conference now. Not that I’m trying to keep up with Kottke but there are actually a good number of people blogging and there’s not way I’m going to be able to read them all. Not getting home till 11:30 I blog for the benefit of AIGA which I hope to help drag it kicking and screaming in to the blogosphere.
I’d like to say high to all the folks from Kottke and UnBeige who have been doing much better coverage then I have. I suppose working the conference does have it’s downsides. For other blogs present at AIGA look at this handy list:
UnBeige actually has a number of great posts about the blog focus session (the only panel about the web) that included Jen Bekman, Michael Bierut, Jason Kottke, and Armin Vit. I was sad that after the main stage presentation there was not much to do backstage but I was glad I got to go to the focus sessions.
I had a chance to meet Jason Kottke earlier in the day (the lone laptop in the sea that is the main stage audience). People have different strategies for meeting celebrities and mine is simple. Get in, say hi, compliment their past work, thank them and then move on. You don’t want to be clingy. Jason doesn’t need some groupie talking his ear off. You know…. just plant the seed of friendship and move on. Don’t kill it with too much attention.
I was a little late to the blog session since I was running DJ Spooky, aka Paul Miller, around the convention center. I’m not a big fan of text messaging (at least not with my phone) but I let Paul text all he wanted since he was having a hard day. I was hoping by the title “To blog or not to blog: What’s the question?” that it would have been more about encouraging the audience to blog, Instead it was more of a over view of what all four of them did. And even then it was a brief overview and I wish they had deeper in to how blogging is changing things. I need to remember, baby steps for AIGA. It needs to learn what the internet is before it can figure out what blogging is. I don’t know about all of the audience but a number of them did seem to have a good grasp of what was going on and tried to push the conversation deeper.
Today was very smooth backstage. The band upstairs knew what was going on and so did the sketch artist and the integration between them and intros and exits were wonderful. I was very relived to see everything working after the 1st day where everything just felt jerky. I don’t know if it seemed that way out in the crowd but I doubt it. Everything always seems worse from backstage. It’s just too easy to see the mistakes as they happen.