So, someone was nice enough to pass along a conversation that was happening on a facebook profile with privacy settings I couldn’t see. They passed along a screenshot, shown above with names removed (And not some crappy black scribble, photoshopped nicely, I think)
Before I go into my lengthy rebuttal, I want to first make sure my tone is clear: I 90% agree with the poster’s statements. My reply is not from a negative-defensive position but more from a “Yes! Yes! I completely agree! I’ve been trying that for years! Yes!”-type of defensive postion.
For the first two years we reached out to IIDA, ASID, AIA and IDSA, all of who never replied or weren’t strong enough as a chapter to participate. Modern Phoenix focuses mostly on architectural/interior/preservation. They are great and we’ve done things with them in the past and will in the future, if we can. There is also Phoenix & Scottsdale Fashion Design Week, Phoenix Urban Design Week, etc. There used to be an event, The Phoenix Contemporary Design Fair, that stopped in 2009 due to lack of sustainable participation. I’ve made lots of efforts to include as many aspects of design as possible, but have had limited success with those organizations & even the communities themselves. Every year we’ve tried to have Industrial Design represented, and save a few examples, have had zero success (This year we’re lucky enough to have people creating bike racks for our Pedal Craft event, which brings in industrial design and urbanism.)
I HATE the disconnect between the communities. When we started this, we wanted it to be a catch-all event for these various disciplines. We’re trying something new this year by having the first (hopefully twice-annual) mixer with all the professional organizations we can manage at the PHXMIX event on Saturday. I truly hope thats the start of a broader conversation/connection. On top of that, somewhat related, one of the four goals of AIGA Arizona’s new mission statement, which I partly wrote, has a cornerstone to make it a priority that we, as AIGA AZ: “connect with complimentary disciplines.” Maybe we’ve just been sending emails to the wrong place for a few years. So yes, I’d be interested in partnering, participating and promoting all of those groups, but we’ve had no success getting a hold of them.
This year, we were working on having an event at Heard to talk about exhibit design, but couldn’t get it to work this time. The movie we’re showing to open the week is an architecture film about Cuba’s unfinished school buildings. Our Friday night event is as much about graphic design as it is about urbanism, bike-culture and exploring Phoenix.
The conference covers a broad range of topics, yes mostly focused on visual design, but also web, interactive, strategy, business and a variety of other things that are tangental to what people consider/narrow down to “graphic design.”
Hillman Curtis talked about evolving to do what you love, and how he ended up making movies. Chaz Maviyane-davies talked about political activism through his work. James Victore talked about being bold in your design. We had Kimber Lanning talk about the effects of local purchasing on the economy. We’ve had sustainability talks. We’ve had a designer talk about the interaction design of items for soldiers. We’ve had desk manufacturers. We’ve had exhibits devoted to copy-writing, advertising, running an agency, golf course design. We had a band talk about music’s connection to design. We’ve had a session devoted to Long-Form Improvisation. We’ve had so many varied topics in presentations (We had 25 the first, 35 the second, skipped 2011, and we’ll have around 30 this time) This year, Sam Harrison is speaking and he’s more of an inspiration speaker about finding your creative potentional. These lessons are from designers, but apply to everyone.
Having it be anything more specific than “Phoenix Design Week” means we limit the potential of where the event could go. Yes, its skewed one direction now. But making it ‘Phoenix Visual Design Week’ means we’re stuck that way forever, and have to hope someone starts up ‘Phoenix Industrial Design Week’ or Interior Design Week, or Information Architecture Design Week. Hell, most cites have a Design Week and its all about furniture, or all about fashion or all about one thing. Its all about selling items.
We’ve got a core group of organizers who happen to be mostly visual designers, but we branch out as much and as often as we can. But in general, the event is about celebrating Phoenix and its creativity, and its design community, whatever kind of design that may be. (Except “UX Design”. That shit is not a real thing you guys. Stop trying to pretend it is.)
The thing is, when we connect as the #phxdc, the D is skewed more towards Graphic/Web Design right now, but it doesnt have to be. So, if you are in one of the groups not represented, please reach out to me at email@example.com and lets start something.