Design Camp 2019


Last weekend, the 818 team traveled up to Brainerd, Minnesota to attend the 39th annual AIGA MN Design Camp, and brought back freshly inspired souls and new creative intelligence. This year the organizers packed a punch with the amount of diversity in keynote speakers and workshop leaders – it was an incredible experience and we look forward to 2020! Here’s a few takeaways we had from our trip this year:

Enterprise Design Thinking

I was inspired by listening to one of the keynote speakers, Seth Johnson from IBM. He spoke about many design thinking strategies, but in particular I was impacted when he spoke about how businesses today need to change from a linear process to working in a more continual loop process where they are constantly observing, reflecting, and making.

Read more about IBM’s design approach here.

– Melissa

Bonding as a team! Outside of keynotes and workshops, we loved playing cards, enjoying the bonfire, and dancing at the after party.
Becoming Better Communicators

Seth Johnson’s keynote presentation was one of my favorite moments of Design Camp. There were two specific discussions in his presentation that stuck with me the most. Seth made it clear that as designer, we must learn how to communicate with non-designers because these are the individuals we will come in contact with the most and we must be able to share our ideas and beliefs in a way that makes sense to these particular individuals. Seth also made it a point of emphasis, that as designers we must be leaders. We must be a leader in our own way so that we can continue to grow as individuals and improve the ever-evolving world of design.

– Dylan

Marker Moments Matter

The designers and strategists at Zeus Jones had some great thoughts on designing for experiences. They spoke about the idea of design moving from rational to emotional, and that users won’t necessarily go through this specific “brand journey”. Instead of designing for an overarching brand, try to focus on “marker moments” that will connect with people and communicate a specific idea. “Now, length is irrelevant, a 5 second interaction with your company can mean the difference between a loyal customer and a fleeting viewer.

Read more about this idea on the Zeus Jones article.

– Kate

Spread the Love

A common theme throughout the entire weekend was about creating connections and forging real relationships with people based on authenticity. Emily Cohen spoke with an infectious, refreshing honesty about spreading love throughout your business by making an effort to create authentic, honest connections with the people who are and the people who have yet to be integral to your success. I felt that even though it was catered toward a business approach, it was advice that was really applicable to any and all relationships. It’s important to make the effort to reach out, spread the love, and put forth your authentic self because you get back what you put into the world (and your clients, your career, your life, etc.)

– Megan

Blow Up Your Life

There were so many inspiring creatives with gigantic, world-changing ideas at this year’s Design Camp, but the sage advice that I have already started implementing in my life was gifted by Ash Huang–UX Designer and Renaissance Woman. Huang spoke to the work-life balance of creatives who find themselves burnt out by the end of the workday. She suggested formulating projects that span multiple areas of your skills, interests, hobbies, and goals to create work that is much more personally enriching. Other pieces of advice from her keynote encouraged “blowing up your life” every few years and evaluating the trajectory of your happiness, breaking down your jealousy into ways to better yourself, going to therapy, making mentors of your friends and friends of your mentors, keeping journals of all sorts and sizes, taking honest time for yourself, and “letting art be art.” You can find more advice and resources on her website where she links to talks, essays, interviews, books, and more here. 

– Bree

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