Archived on February 8, 2013. Visit for more information.



AIGA Design Conference   October 13-16, Phoenix, Arizona

General sessions

The "Pivot" main stage will be packed with thought provoking speakers, inspirational design and exciting competition that you won't want to miss. Moderator Kurt Andersen, host of "Studio 360" and author, will moderate and engage presenters in insightful Q&A. And back for a third season, Command X: Season 3 will bring together seven emerging designers who will compete for cash, prizes and your votes in our always-popular live design reality show competition.

You do not need to pre-register for any of the general sessions or affinity sessions. The only sessions that require pre-registration are workshops, roundtables and studio tours.

Offensive Play: The Art of the Pick and Roll

Katie Salen, executive director, Institute of Play

Designers of all kinds are key players in the game of change that so typifies the opening decades of the 21st century. Called on to imagine, build, guide, demystify, explain, provoke, enable and inspire, we deal daily in the currency of transformation—of places, practices and perspectives. For this designer, play has become a key strategy in developing a design practice that is agile enough to entertain a constant need for transformative thinking but substantive enough to throw its strategic weight around when needed. This talk will delve into the power of game design and play to challenge expectations, retool one’s practice, and amplify design’s potential as drivers of innovation and change in some rather unusual places.

At Your Service? From the Presumptions of Design to the Products of Design

Allan Chochinov, partner, Core77, and chair, MFA Products of Design, School of Visual Arts

From aesthetics and utility to sustainability and value, the intentions of most designers are too often distorted through the presumptions they hold around what they're supposed to be providing and to whom they're providing it. Rather than a group of practitioners in the service of industry, designers need to see themselves as connective tissue—translating between stakeholders, reframing problems, revealing opportunities and championing change. It is through scale that they wield their might and earn their keep, and that’s what makes them both powerful and dangerous. Design is now seen as a strategic global resource, enabling innovative brands and companies to compete more effectively. There has to be more to it than that.

The Critical Role of Collaboration To Achieve Global Nutrition Goals

Dondeena Bradley, vice president of global design and development for nutrition ventures, PepsiCo

PepsiCo is a leading innovator and recognized for their public commitment to deliver growth by delivering nutrition for the world. Achieving these important targets is a task for more collective, innovative collaborations. To accomplish this, PepsiCo is leveraging skills and resources across the company’s entire portfolio of products, its R&D expertise, marketing know-how, supply chain acumen, customer relationships and partnerships to pursue new advantaged solutions. Dondeena Bradley will discuss how PepsiCo has worked to expand its network of innovation partners to help develop integrative solutions to address global nutrition and health concerns.


Terry Irwin, head, School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University

“Most of the information we receive leaves our image of reality unaffected, which means the information conveys no new meaning. Or the information may alter the image in some way that does not change its basic structure. There are, however, times when new information reconstitutes our image of the world—and consequently our behavior. Changing the image shared by a culture can change its collective behavior and thereby create a new cultural reality.” —David Korten, The Post Corporate World

It has been argued that the transition to a sustainable society is essentially a design problem, one of the most important of the 21st century. Making this transition will require nothing less than a reconstitution of our collective cultural image. Communication designers have an important role to play in this process. Our individual and collective worldviews are the result of our beliefs, values and cultural norms that often go unnoticed and therefore unchallenged, but which utterly direct the way we see the world and interact in it. Designers’ individual and collective worldviews direct whether or not they see problems, how they frame them in context and how they set about designing solutions. In short, our worldview controls how and what we design.

Authentically Unexpected: Presenting Native American Art

Ann Marshall, director of collections, education and interpretation, Heard Museum

The Heard Museum is at the forefront in developing exhibits that present the voices of Native people. The Heard combines its stellar collection of American Indian art with the insights, perspectives and words of those whose families and ancestors made the art. Located in close proximity to many diverse American Indian cultures in the Southwest, there are many compelling stories that provide rich context for our educational presentations. With the guidance of American Indian advisors, the curators, designers and a host of specialists work together to insure that the voices of Native artists come through in a way that is true to the artists’ perspectives and confronts stereotypes and perceptions that are deeply imbedded in the popular concepts of American Indians. “Authentically Unexpected” will show how the Heard blends different voices as we strive to create moving and memorable exhibits that tell a good story.

The House That My Father Built

Sadik Kwaish Alfraji, artist

War, philosophy, culture, change and alienation have contributed shaping Iraqi artist Sadik Kwaish Alfraji both as a creator of art and human being. Alfraji will discuss the context and meaning behind his most recent work, “The House That My Father Built,” and the deep, emotional force it releases. Examples of his very early graphic work, more recent print work, and video clips and images of his family, city and war will help put art and design into both global and intimately personal contexts.

The New Normal

Valerie Casey, founder and executive director, Designers Accord

What does design look like next? We are experiencing unprecedented, global change in economics, cultures and priorities. Natural catastrophes, social unrest and financial turmoil have created the perfect storm where the notion of returning to “business as usual” is not only improbable but impossible. Designers have an opportunity to contribute richly to creating the new world order, but only if we adapt our mindsets and methodologies. As a community, we are at the cusp of a great transformation: evolving from making products to developing services, negotiating the balance between strategy and craft, participating in deeper transdisciplinary conversations, and finding a authentic foothold in the world of “good.” What do we need to do to transform our thinking and practices to help build the new normal?

What Are You Doing Here?

Chip Kidd, designer, author and associate art director, Knopf

After 25 years working non-stop as a graphic designer and writer, it happens: Kidd gets the commission of a lifetime. That should be a good thing, shouldn't it? Well, shouldn’t it?!

The Future Brand

Karl Heiselman, CEO, Wolff Olins

Wolff Olins’ CEO Karl Heiselman will share how changes in culture and society are forcing both companies and consumers to think and act differently. Based on new research from Wolff Olins, Heiselman will explore the characteristics that are going to matter most for companies and organizations to thrive in the future, and how design is more critical than ever for brands to win the hearts and minds of consumers.

Type at the Crossroads

Jonathan Hoefler, president, Hoefler & Frere-Jones

More than twenty years ago, Jonathan Hoefler made it his mission to promote desktop publishing (and shush its critics) by providing designers with a new generation of fonts: attractive and useful designs which set a new standard in quality and dependability for that technology. Today, as webfonts are buoyed by a wave of early-adopter enthusiasm, they’re marred by a similar unevenness in quality, and it’s not just a matter of browsers and rasterizers, or the eternal shortage of good fonts and preponderance of bad ones. There are compelling questions about what it means to be fitted to the technology, how foundries can offer designers an expressive medium (and readers a rich one), and what it means for typography to be visually, mechanically, and culturally appropriate to the web. This is an exploration of this side of web fonts, and a discussion of where the needs of designers meet the needs of readers.

Design for the Next Context

Stuart Candy, senior foresight and innovation specialist, Arup

Every act of design reinvents the world in some measure. Yet the design disciplines lack a tradition of thinking through the various worlds into which all this could be taking us. What do designers need to know in order to engage the future with eyes wide open?


Jakob Trollbäck, president and creative director, Trollbäck + Company

Exploring stories in motion, Jakob Trollbäck will discuss some of the small moments and discoveries that are fueling his imagination.

Sheraton deadline extended

The hotel deadline has been extended at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel—rooms at the conference rate are still available so make your reservations now!