AIGA Design Camp 2009, Day 1: Aaron Draplin and stolen swag

October 5th, 2009

The morning of Day 1 was gray and drizzly, so I slept a little late and planned to make it to Nisswa just before Registration ended, 2 hours and 45 minutes from my departure time. I about choked on my Powerbar when the English lady who lives inside my GPS said it would take me 4 hours to get there. Perhaps she also uses the loose British way of measuring time and distance? Either way, she makes me feel like James Bond, so its cool.

Anyway, I got there in time to register and pick up a swag bag. Aaron Draplin was the first speaker, who immediately passed out free pens and a Field Notes notebook. He had my complete attention and devotion from then on.

He described his journey into design, growing up in Michigan and moving out to Oregon, then to the great state of Minnesota, and once again back to Oregon. (You can find is hilarious and effective autobiography here.) Like me, he grew up finding beauty in random and everyday objects, logos on boxes of bolts and old shop manuals. His heroes are not the Saul Bass’ and Milton Glasers of the world, but the everyman designers, the guys back in the day who designed these functional, clean, amazing logos for stuff that would more than likely be thrown away.

After describing his obsession with yard sales (theres even a documentary about it) he talked about his work with the Obama administration creating the logo. He summed up the project, which they were basically given a weekend to do:

I mean, what can I say about it? 4 days–the nerve–but, the man, y’know.

Aaron Draplin

All in all, an excellent way to kick off the weekend. He was a great speaker that really connected with the audience. Plus, he loves Futura Bold, and hates Kid Rock. How can I disagree with that?

By the way Mr. Draplin sir, I owe you $4. I took some of your merch before the put up the sign saying it was all $1. You know how those vendor shows are; if it ain’t bolted down, shove it on your bag! So who should I make the check out to? Oh, and can you wait until Monday to cash it…?

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