Chapter Spotlight: AIGA Connecticut
January 11, 2010 Filed Under: AIGA Chapter Spotlight 1 Comments
Number of Members: 113
Year Chapter was founded: 2008
1. What is your Chapter’s most proud recent accomplishment?
Every conversation about AIGA Connecticut’s purpose circles back to the importance of building a collaborative community rooted in a shared professional ethos and the openness to look at our individual differences with encouragement and appreciation. This attitude of working together to honor camaraderie over competition has become a bit of a mantra for us and we hope—with enough repetition—it will continue to catch on with all of the creative folks throughout the state.
With this goal, we took on a project with another local design organization—Connecticut Art Directors Club. We put together a shared event, “Defining Connecticut: LEGENDS of Design”, an evening conversation with 5 visionaries (including AIGA Fellow, Peter Good) who were pivotal in shaping the creative voice of our region. The two organizations worked effortlessly together to secure a venue (a gorgeous renovated art museum), manage the pre-registration along with the promotional process which included 5 coordinated email videos, eye-popping introduction media for the panel discussion and a video documentation of the lecture itself. It was a great success and brought folks together from across the state and across disciplines to receive wisdom and encouragement from leaders we all admire.
As an added bonus, this event so galvanized the community, we are planning to collaborative with other area organizations on the “Defining Connecticut” theme.
2. Tell us about the best event your Chapter has put on this year?
As a chapter we are invested in both the ideals of collaboration and those of social responsibility. In the summer of 2009, we held an event called “Lotion” that brought these two principles together. “Lotion” is a working retreat designed to offer support to a not-for-profit organization or to bring attention to a social cause. This past August, our “Lotion” prototype theme was “Roughin’ It”. A group of 25 AIGA Connecticut members met for 2 days and a night at a summer camp facility to tackle some promotional and branding issues for our hosts, the American School for the Deaf. During this time, we broke into teams and used the “DeBono Six Thinking Hats” system to facilitate ideation. Interspersed with the think tank sessions were sumptuous meals, hikes through the woods, kayaking, boat rides around the secluded island where the camp is sited, and late late night bonding by the beach fire.
The event yielded a few key results. First of all: there’s the cool “Lotion” swag—and face it: everyone loves swag. Next, we are providing the school with our professional assessment of their needs and will extend the collaborative experience for one year as we implement the proposal for them. Also, the process is being documented for sharing with our creative community. As an added benefit, we proved that our community can come together, laugh a lot, put a sense of ownership of ideas aside and do spread some good around.
In 2010, We’ll be taking on hunger awareness. We’d love for you to join us.
3. What is one goal your Chapter has for the future?
Some chapters have established a Design Week in their states. We’d like to be a part of orchestrating a simultaneous Design Week across all AIGA chapters. All those interested in taking this on with us, take a deep breath and dive on in—the water’s fine. Or just send an email (that might be a little less dramatic).
4. If we were to visit your Chapter’s city/region, what are three must-sees for a visiting designer?
Thing One: Gutenberg Bible at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Thing Two: Philip Johnson’s Glass House. A thought-provoking building that has been called “the longest running salon in America”. Try to catch one of the Glass House Conversations and walk away chuck-full of fresh ideas. Some past dialogists have included: Michael Beirut, Maurice Cox and John Maeda.
Thing Three: And if you are in the neighborhood, please stop by and visit one of our event sponsors, The New Britain Museum of American Art. Among the superb collection of diverse American art is the enormous Sanford B.D. Low Illustration Collection. The special exhibits are inspired—by example: a Walter Wick exhibit and ISpy installation which was both a thrill to practicing design professionals and a prerequisite for preschoolers with parents involved in the graphic arts.
5. If a movie were to be produced about your Chapter, what would the title be and which actors/actresses would star in it?
Title: Long Day’s Journey into Hartford—a tale of one man’s travels to events from the far corners of our decentralized state.
Actors: The film would be one uninterrupted take, shot from inside a Honda Fit, starting with the young and peppy Shia LeBeof as the protagonist and ending with Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the same role.
Illustration by: Ryan O'Rourke
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