Phoenix Design Week - The world of design always keeps me on my toes

The world of design always keeps me on my toes. It is a constant learning process; one that provides a continuous challenge to stay on top of the latest news and innovations. While most designers agree that learning the newest trends and more efficient processes is necessary, they won’t take the time or effort to explore these opportunities as they are being developed. I recently ran into Stephanie Sullivan,  at Adobe Max in L.A. and upon her mentioning that she was heading to Phoenix Design Week, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity and learn some of the current happenings in Design.

In addition to design, I have always been interested in what other cities have to offer creatively. Surprisingly enough, not all design methods and trends are the same from one location to another. In order to be more versatile, you have to gain hands on experience in these locations in order to truly understand them. I decided to sign up for Phoenix Design Week to see what the latest developments have made their way to the Desert. Since I had never been to Phoenix, I figured it would be a great way to explore the city, get to know the local design community, and attend a couple of interesting sessions.

I have to admit, as much as I know about design, there is always more to learn. I was particularly interested in the Agency Panel Meeting, in which the representatives discussed comparisons between a “traditional” design/advertising agency vs. the evolution of new, smaller shops. From my own understanding, I had previously anticipated that it was only a matter of time before people realized that traditional agencies lag in understanding the digital medium. Not to discredit the presenters; in fact, they helped to further establish my thought on traditional and digital advertising.

The opening session of the conference included a discussion on the “state of the valley” what role Design should have in the future evolution of Phoenix. It was pretty interesting to see how eager people were willing to get involved in the local scene, offer unique ideas, and to make sure that the process got underway instead of falling by the waste side. In fact, before the session concluded, there were meet up sessions created which, as we all know, is the best way to begin any creative feat.

Shortly after the initial session, I went straight to the long awaited panel meeting consisting of D. Stan Fields III of, Roger Hurni of and John Johnson As I said before, I had anticipated the growth of print advertising to grow exponentially smaller than digital media, and was pleasantly surprised to hear that same sentiment in this presentation. They understood the gap between traditional agencies and new digital agencies and it was a breath of fresh air that these guys openly discussed the problems that the industry is facing.

Is Print dead? According to Stan and Roger, yes.

Though I was elated to hear their opinions (especially in congruence with mine), there was one issue I had trouble digesting in this presentation. Because digital agencies are somewhat “new” they made it sound that it was very difficult, if not impossible, to get your foot in the door in order to collaborate with larger agencies. I couldn’t help but feel as if a lot of people in the audience wondered if they would ever have the chance to work with a larger agency. Despite the doubtful tone, I would respond with: the answer is YES! It will take time, effort, and your best work, but you can succeed. I can only hope that members of the audience feel that way as well.

Other sessions included Robert Hoekman, Stephanie Sullivan, some amazing motion graphics designers, and many more. Indeed, it was a great opportunity for the Phoenix Design community (and some “outsiders” such as myself) to meet that many top speakers and to learn many new perspectives.

And finally, of course, everyone was waiting for the evening party at the Clarendon Hotel; a great rooftop venue with amazing views. I met a lot of interesting people, ranging from print designers from Poland (no, print is not dead yet), Australia, and France (to name a few). All in all, it was great to see that design and design talent is alive and well in Phoenix and I hope to be back, whether for fun or collaboration on future projects.

*Oh, and for those people who still doubt that twitter is a waste of time: ask the happy people whom I bought drinks for at the party. I tweeted that I would buy the first 10 people who followed me a drink at the bar. Hello to those new friends!

Edwin Lap

phoenix design week

Tags: conference, , web design


2 Responses to “Phoenix Design Week - The world of design always keeps me on my toes”

  1. MadMan Says:

    That looks like a fun event. I will attend this next year for sure.

  2. Scott Bulloch Says:

    Great to hear there was some buzz about this outside of Phoenix. It was very inspiring to hear from so many talented industry experts. I missed the party, maybe I’ll see you there next year.