On November 8 and 9, the Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario hosts DesignThinkers, the annual conference that taps into the minds of graphic design titans. Here are our top five must-see speakers.
1 Stefan Sagmeister, November 9, 3:30 p.m.
The envelope-pushing Sagmeister talks about his decade-long exploration of happiness, and the typographic and sculptural works that have resulted from his pursuit of happiness through meditation, drugs and therapy.
Based in New York, the graphic designer has created memorable art for musicians, including the covers for The Talking Heads’s Once in a Lifetime and The Rolling Stones’s Bridges to Babylon. He made headlines in 1999 when he let a knife-wielding intern etch into his torso an announcement for an upcoming lecture. In June, he and Jessica Walsh launched Sagmeister & Walsh, and stripped down to their birthday suits for a poster celebrating their newfound collaboration.
2 Harry Pearce, November 8, 9 a.m.
A partner at Pentagram‘s London, U.K. office, Pearce is a fierce advocate of socially concious design and pro-bono work; for the past 15 years, he has been the creative force behind Witness, a human rights organization founded by musician Peter Gabriel. “Living a creative life is a profound privilege. Undertaking pro-bono work is a necessary balance and payback for that privilege,” he told D&AD in September.
His work for Pentagram runs the gamut, from the creative identity for artist David Hockney’s exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts to the packaging for skincare and beauty brand Sk:n. He has also redesigned all the labels for Budgens’ gin, vodka and whisky offerings.
3 Lisa Strausfield, November 8, 4:15 p.m.
For her keynote, Strausfield will discuss the successes and failures of data visualizations and unveil new work by Bloomberg, where she is global head of data visualization.
A former partner at Pentagram, Strausfield is a preeminent digital information designer. She designed Sugar, the user interface for Yves Béhar’s One Laptop Per Child. She has also devised media installations for the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Walker Art Center expansion in Minneapolis and New York’s redeveloped Moynihan Station. She’s designed web sites for Gallup, the architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And she’s created information visualizations for The New York Times.
4 Jake and Pum Lefebure, November 8, 2:30 p.m.
“Dream big, start small,” was the founding mandate at Design Army and continues to be its guiding principle. The Washington, D.C. studio is led by Jake and Pum Lefebure, who divide responsibilities. Jake oversees new business and Pum manages the creative campaigns for such clients as Chronicle Books, Disney, NPR and the Washington Ballet.
At DT, they’ll explain why taking low-budget work often leads to gaining top-tier clients, why entering competitions is crucial and how injecting a little ego into the creative process isn’t a bad idea.
5 Neil Kellerhouse, November 9, 2:30 p.m.
Cinephiles with discerning design taste will recognize the work of this one-man studio. Eschewing the “floating heads” treatment, Kellerhouse’s dramatic, often type-driven posters have been key in marketing such movies as The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Informant. His playful, bubbly work for Pixar includes art for Up and Finding Nemo.
Kellerhouse will talk about where he finds inspiration and delve into his collaboration with directors including Steven Soderbergh, Terence Malick and David Fincher.
DesignThinkers takes place at Toronto’s Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, 255 Front Street West.