IDSA Midwest: Influence Conference Reviews

Day 2 at the IDSA:Influence conference and there have been a lot of great presentations and break out sessions. Typically we will do multiple blog posts on various presentations, but we always miss some. While I was giving my presentation on Trends, I missed Craig Berman and Scott Ternovits workshop on storyboarding… and you all know I like to sketch.

So we thought we would do it a little different this year and keep it in the discussion boards. Post up your thoughts on the presentations, your pics from the parties (last nights at Studio Kem was crazy…) and your sketchbook doodles when yo drift off in a hung over stupor (or was that just me?).
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Yesterday I saw a great presentation by Maurice Banks from BLU DOT, on business and design. I learned how 3 dudes on a $10 a day backpack tour of China could make business out of designing chairs called “Felt Up”… pretty much the American dream. Bruce told us about BLU DOT’s other unbranded collaborations with various retailed like Crate & Barrel and Target, and how there entire business is centered around their concept of good, unpretentious design for everyone. Another audience member asked if they ever tried to sell in Europe, and it dawned on use that BLU DOT was really getting at an American Modernism.

I got shut out of Paul Hatches “Futureshock” presentation because of over crowding, but got to sit in on Kirk Martin’s talk. Kirk is a designer at Steelcase and he took us through a new product line the company will be making public in the next few months that reduced the number of skus needed to make an office system from something like 250 to 10. What was more amazing than that was the collaborative process that he employed to get the company to buy off on the design of this new collection that totally changes the way they do business. I’ve rarely seen a more humble and team oriented designer present such ground breaking work. He was pretty inspiring!

Unfortunately due to my over indulgence at the after parties last evening I missed the Detox 3K and first two sessions suffering a major hangover thanks to whirlpool + encompas + kem studio, just kidding, great parties and excellent chance to mingle with the fellow IDSA members and party crashers. I made it down for the to start the Student Merit Presentations, all of which thoroughly impressed me, can’t vote for a single candidate.

Yo’s Influence Trends speech proved that iconic design will always stand the test of time.

More to come…

Day two here at the conference. I am one of very few freshmen here and am learning a great deal of information. It is especially nice to learn what is out there in both the programs available to aid in ID and the different fields and and job opportunities out there. Having a great time

As a sophomore chasing the dream of becoming an athletic shoe designer, meeting YO was a great experience. Getting to talk to him, however briefly, was great. Also enjoyed the merit presentations! My Vote goes to Noah! U of I REPRESENT!

Welcome to Core77!

Let’s get these gears a grinding…

I’d like to thank Valerie Casey of IDEO for her time speaking about the Designer’s Accord.

I first heard about the Designer’s Accord yesterday in Steve Belletire’s Influence Ecodesign session, which also made a large impact on my future and hopes for my career. I knew my parents gave me my initials for a reason… eco

Much thanks to all who made the Influence conference possible!

Thanks Dude. I took a walk through the Bloch addition to the Nelson Atkins Museum
( )today and spent some time with the Noguchis, Henry Moore’s work as well as the Brancusi pieces… it reaffirmed for me how much Starck, Newson, Lovegrove, and Rashid owe to these sculptors and the timelessness of great form and proportion at any scale.

Below is a page of doodles from the conference… I was listening, honest, but you know I can’t stop myself from doodling. More pics to come from the conference, the awards diner… and the after party at that Jazz spot across the street.

Also got the opportunity to look through a lot of portfolios this weekend. Some were good, some had potential, some needed work. I was talking to another professional (Ray, you know you need to get back on these boards, I know your reading!) who said that he hadn’t seen any folios with that “visual pop”… and I had to agree, until by chance I ran into David Whetstone in the lobby lounge before i checked out this morning. Great friggin portfolio, well rounded, edited down, large images, let me just flip through at my own pace and ask him the questions vs selling me at length. Complete package.

I had fun, got some good feed back, met some cool people. Made some plugs for my senior show: Friday, April 11 (this Friday). 5:30-8pm at Ispace, 230 West Superior, second floor, Chicago. Should be a fun time.
All in all, good time, and I’d say Kansas city,is really underrated grate city from what I saw of it.

A few pics from the awards dinner and after party at Jardine’s.


Me talking too much during my presentation… shocker…

Some quick notes from the Aruliden talk by Rinat Aruh and Johan Liden:

  1. Use design to affect and create culture
  2. Create Fans not Customers
  3. Keep it simple

Words to design by.

  1. Use design to affect and create culture
  2. Create Fans not Customers
  3. Keep it simple

Nice quote, and nice work. Funny, so many talk the way they want to be, but few actually do it.

Here’s my tablet notes from the presentation/discussion Feddy Anzures (from Apple)… some will make sense only if you were there, but I thought I would post it anyway since it was already digital…

I took some notes. Really, these arent just pages of lame doodles. Actually, I think I listen better if my pen is touching a piece of paper.

I should summarize…

My conference began with Michael’s talk on trends. There were two things that were particularly interesting to me.

  1. Reverse Osmosis…We tend to believe trends start on the coast and move to the middle. The argument was made that trends actually start by people who arent trying to be cool. For example, the grunge kids couldnt afford “whats hot” so made up their own thing and began “asking dad for his old flannel shirts.” And Wam, here comes flannel.
  2. This was not a particular trend, but I was reminded that ultimately, we are designers. We have to be aware of what is around us and do our best to speculate what will be cool and what will be the trend.

Next I went to see Freddy Allen Azures’ talk. I think the most important thing I was reminded from him was that we should not worry about the lines of different types of design. We should strive to create experiences using all disciplines of design.

Bill Zahner’s speech on architecture was interesting. I am not exactly an art critic, but was certainly wowed by the imagery.

I was not exactly sure about what to expect from the BLU DOT speech as I was not very familiar with the company. One thing Michael and I talked about later at the airport was that it was really cool they were willing to take risks and make bold statements with their advertising. I will try to find some cool ads and post later.

Kirk Martin’s humble, team attitude was exciting in that he always gave credit to those he worked with. Pretty refreshing. I would have gotten up there and said, “See that furniture system, I DID THAT.”

The conference ended with two great talks. Both talks were really fluid and there was a nice mix of imagery and breaks throughout the presentation.

I had been familiar with the work done by Johan Liden from his time at fuseproject, but did not understand the name Aruliden. Rinat Aruh was an awesome speaker and it was so cool how the two combined their strengths. The imagery was so compelling and the forms were so beautiful. It was really awesome to see such an interesting take on branding and product design.

Finally, Valerie Casey of IDEO and the Designer’s Accord really made us think. As a student, I have just completed a sustainability course. Although I am sometimes a bit discouraged by sustainability, this was a positive speech and I really felt design can make a difference.

Overall, the conference was AWESOME.

That link will help you find names/companies/check out their websites.

Thanks for reading,


I wish we would have crossed paths at the conference, parties, etc… maybe we did? I was over at Priority Designs awhile back and was talking about you with Tom. Glad you made it out to KC. Are you going to the Columbus conference?


That’s for damn sure! I loved their approach to marketing and design. It relates to my current situation being a solo designer at an incredibly small marketing firm. They gave me some excellent advice after their presentation. It was nice to finally meet the maker of my “MINI motion” watch too.