Instead of doing my usual note based design observations I decided to use the tool that I voted for at the People’s Design Award in real-time at The National Design Awards Winners’ Panel at Cooper-Hewitt. (How’s the for a long sentence?) I really didn’t have huge expectations for the discussion as they can sometimes get way too self congratulatory. I’m happy to say that wasn’t the case and there weren’t that many times where I actually rolled my eyes with what was said. There wasn’t one person (Michael Bierut, Charles Harrison, Tom Kundig, Lucinda R. Sanders, Ralph Rucci and Scott Stowell) that tried to take over the stage or insist that their opinion was the only voice to be heard. There were a couple things that stuck out for me; in part Charles Harrison finding it difficult to get work in the 60’s and when he got his chance for full-time he wanted to start the night (after the studio had closed for the evening) that he was hired and I’m not sure if I misheard Scott Stowell mention that Good Magazine was primarily American, or for American’s or something else entirely. I can understand that it’s focus is not like Colors was for an international audience but it just seemed like a weird thing to say when I know there’s a lot of fans outside of the US. Another unusual thing happened – the audience questions were actually pretty good – especially when one asked if any of them considered quitting after hitting a stumbling block? Something that I think every designer can relate to, no matter what part of the profession.
Addendum (October 26th, 2008)
Clarifying his remark that I mentioned above, Scott Stowell emailed me last night. W/ his consent I’ve posted an excerpt from the email. “Although I can’t remember exactly what I said under the bright lights, my point was that while my point of view (thanks to Colors, as well as my own politics) is a global one, I’ve found that the point of view of Good has been more explicitly American. That’s not to say that it doesn’t speak to others, only that the editors consider American culture when developing and implementing ideas. I brought this up in the context of the other comments about culture clashes–and National Design Week. I think that Good is starting to shift, though. Next issue (number 014) is the “State of the Planet” special–a kind of annual report for Earth.”