Dumb Questions for Smart Designers with Josh Higgins

Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Josh Higgins

Josh Higgins has been on a wild ride most of his life. The once punk rocker has gone from traveling the country making and playing music to establishing himself as a force in the design world. Along the way, he was constantly evolving his art and mindset in terms of the role art and design can play in one’s community and the world at large.

Driven by a powerful aesthetic and fearless attitude wrapped in social awareness, Josh’s design activism led him to be hand-picked for the role as design director on President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. This was a far cry from the San Diego skateboard kid, but Josh’s journey just kept weaving wildly.

Josh is currently a Senior Creative Director at Facebook on the Building 8 team which is focused on building new hardware products to advance Facebook’s efforts in virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence. For the last four years, he was on The Factory team where he was fortunate to work on a variety of projects from company and product identities, the Facebook brand book which ensures consistency for those identities, overall brand campaigns, the personalized video program, and future endeavors.

Somewhere in all of that, he’s created award-winning work for clients such as HP, Yamaha, Fender Guitars, Tony Hawk Foundation, Perry Ellis International, Newcastle Brown Ale, and Life Technologies. His wild ride continues as a husband and father, and somehow he travels for speaking engagements and still finds time to play music. Read More

Posted on: by

Dumb Questions for Smart Designers with Amy Nicole Schwartz

Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Amy Nicole Schwartz

Amy Nicole Schwartz is a design troublemaker, specializing in branding, digital experiences, and games. She is currently the Design Director at Cards Against Humanity, the wildly successful and hilariously inappropriate party game, and its “boring business company” spinoff, Blackbox. Schwartz sets the creative vision for her companies’ games, projects and subversive PR campaigns.

But Amy is much more than a designer for a comedically dark card game; her resume reads like a design dream. She was the winner of Command X at the 2015 AIGA National Design Conference; other recognitions include the Emerging Designer Award by AIGA Chicago, Finalist for Young Designer of the Year by the Net Awards, and the recipient of the AIGA Chicago What’s Next Grant in 2014. She has been featured in numerous publications, including Frame Publisher’s Masterclass, Print Mag online, HOW Design and Brand New.

Blah, blah, blah. We get it, Schwartz, you’re super talented and creative. In addition to all that, Amy founded Liminal Space, a design initiative that promotes experimentation, community, and dialogue within Chicago’s thriving design, art, and technology scenes. Her past clients and collaborators include the Cranbrook Art Museum, Google, and Bright Bright Great.  Read More

Posted on: by

A Kid Designs a Record Cover with AR Design at Palm Beach Mini Maker Faire

AR Design Rocks the Palm Beach Mini Maker Faire

Discovery and education have never been more exciting.

Everything about the annual Palm Beach Mini Maker Faire is about being hands-on, getting to know creators, and inspiring others, especially children to make and explore. It is for anyone who embraces the do-it-yourself (or do-it-together) spirit and wants to share their work with an appreciative audience. Working mostly, in the digital world, we really had to think about what we were going to bring to the table. Read More

Posted on: by

I Survived Create Day

The Story of Create Day, and How to Do Something You’ve Never Done Before

Part Four: The Lessons Learned & Going With Your Gut

Create Day was such a wild whirlwind of hard work, stress, exuberance and delight, and that is why we felt obligated to write about it in this series of articles. We had to reflect on it, for ourselves, those who attended, and for anyone who might ever consider doing something like this.

We have had a few weeks to stew upon and look back at Create Day. It provided us with lessons concerning the event, as well as our daily business of design and marketing. Designing an experience is tough and you can’t please every single person, but you can get better and please one more person the next time around. Read More

Posted on: by

Dumb Questions for Smart Designers with Stefan Sagmeister

Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Stefan Sagmeister

Stefan Sagmeister is a rock star in the field of design. The man has designed for the Rolling Stones, The Talking Heads, Lou Reed, HBO, Levi’s, The New York Times and The Guggenheim Museum, and many other clients you wish you had. He combines seriousness and a sense of humor in his work, and continually pushes the boundary of what is classic and what is of-the-moment.

Stefan is the co-founder of the famous design firm, Sagmeister & Walsh, which he established first then expanded in partnership with Jessica Walsh. His intriguing and provocative designs have captivated most, angered some, and redefined the status of graphic designers with intrigue rarely seen before.

Exhibitions of his work have been mounted in New York, Philadelphia, Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Paris, Lausanne, Zurich, Vienna, Prague, Cologne and Berlin. He teaches in the graduate department at SVA, and lectures extensively.

The art director, originally from Austria with a home base in New York City, recently co-directed a documentary, The Happy Film, which premiered this spring at Tribeca Film Festival. He probably won’t like this introduction, but we are hoping he prints it and burns the piece of paper, then uses those ashes in his next design campaign. Read More

Posted on: by

The Story of Create Day, and How to Do Something You’ve Never Done Before

Part Three: An Event Apart

The night before Create Day, after setting up, toasting a beer and then going home, none of us could sleep. When we met the next morning to hit the ground running, the team all expressed their nervous excitement, combined with lack of sleep, but agreed that it was all overshadowed with pulsing adrenalin. We were here, on the edge of Create Day. In the words of famous creative, Kevin McCallister, from Home Alone, “This is it, don’t get scared now.” Read More

Posted on: by

Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Christopher Ayres

From boot camp to burritos, Christopher Ayres thinks about designing in terms of pop culture, and who he would want to eat and talk with, using references to comedians like Aziz Ansari, or the films of Johnny Depp. He has become a go-to champion of rebranding major identities.

Christopher has dedicated 13 years to the publishing, design and advertising industries. He has worked with some of the most iconic brands in the world, including Visa, Nike, Coca-Cola, JetBlue and Crayola. He was the Creative Director at MRY, then went on to oversee a complete overhaul of design and brand strategy for celeb-favorite Barry’s Bootcamp, transitioning them from a niche boutique fitness company to a full-fledged lifestyle brand.

From New Yorker to Californian, he says he still feels like that gawky, small town kid from Kansas at heart. Christopher has come a long way. He now serves as Creative Director for Taco Bell, and his reasoning behind the leap is simple, “Because tacos.” Read More

Posted on: by

When the Going Get’s Tough, the Tough Go to Conferences


We all suffer from the kind of head-down, get it done routine that enables us to operate in a fast-paced, growing business. It is both an inevitability and consequence of getting through your slog of emails and daily to-dos. And while it is easy to recognize the pattern, it is a challenge to change it. Then, a friend (Jenni Schwartz) tells you about a little thing called the Front-End Design Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the clouds seemed to clear a little.

In full disclosure, this conference was happening in a place very convenient to our office, only a three hour drive away, and in a city that I had never visited, but was high on my list of places to check out in Florida. So, it did not require much arm twisting to get me to say yes when asked if I was going to attend. The convenience of the event was outdone by the hair-raising, eye-opening, fresh air buzz that the conference was to deliver.

Unbeknownst to me, the Front-End Design Conference was going into its ninth year in the town of St. Pete and presented its fortunate attendees with two days of speakers who expounded about the design industry, usability, prototyping, programming, dealing with clients and semantics. The variety of speakers kept the conference from, at any, point going stale, deftly switching from general discussions about industry trends to accessible HTML to prototyping your work. Read More

Posted on: by

Dumb Questions for Smart Designers with Chris Costello

Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Chris Costello

You may have never heard of Chris Costello, but you definitely know his work. He is a graphic designer, illustrator, typographer and he just so happens to be the guy that created the font Papyrus. Yep, that’s right, the typeface used on billions of computers worldwide was created by this man and sold for today’s equivalent of $2,500 when he was 23 years old.

However, Chris Costello is so much more than a sometimes celebrated, often times insulted font. Chris is also an Artistic Infusion Program Artist for The United States Mint. Since 2010, Chris has contributed drawings to over 30 United States Mint coin and medal design programs and is credited with the designs on 14 U.S. coins and one Congressional Gold Medal.

Chris has created several other original font designs, as well as logo, illustrations and custom lettering for clients including Random House, Simon and Schuster, Oxford University Press and HarperCollins. As a fine artist, he enjoys drawing and painting historic architecture, landscapes, and portraits, as well as sculpting in clay and plaster. He also used to do Tae Kwon Do and can probably beat you up, so watch what you say about Papyrus. Read More

Posted on: by