Method+Madness 2016 Recap

by Nov 11, 2016Design, Inside Resound

Method+Madness 2016 Recap

by | Nov 11, 2016

Every year, the folks at AIGA Arizona put on Phoenix Design Week – a week dedicated to the vibrant design community in Phoenix. The week typically kicks off with Method + Madness, a two-day design conference hosted in the heart of Downtown Phoenix.

I attended both days of the conference, held down the fort at our Taftly pop-up shop, and picked up some valuable insights from the presenting speakers.

The first day began with a keynote speech from AIGA Director, Julie Anixter. She talked about how understanding the business of design is just as important as understanding design itself. Designers are more than just designers – they’re facilitators, leaders, researchers, system thinkers, narrators, visualizers, strategists, educators, innovators, and entrepreneurs.

If designers understand the business of design and design thinking, we can advance our profession and will be better equipped to sell our ideas to executives and other key decision makers.

“Get more involved with executives to learn what they care about so when you go to them with an idea, they’ll listen.” – @julieanixter

Next up was Sean Adams, Director of ArtCenter College of Design. He shared Ten Corny Lessons, one of which stood out to me:

”Embrace your weird. That thing that made you weird in school is what makes you awesome today.” — Sean Adams

This resonated with me quite a bit. I too often see companies and brands who are scared to “embrace their weird.” These are the companies who are extremely conservative in their thinking and end up with a rather “safe” brand that blends in with everyone else’s. Sure, your brand isn’t failing per se, but it’s certainly not reaching its highest potential either.

The best results I’ve seen come when brands take risks, push what’s possible, and break rules. The takeaway: quit playing it safe…no one has time for safe work.

Stop being so boring.

The last speaker I’ll touch on is the Design Director of MATTER, an agency based out of Denver, Colorado. This guy also works closely with the City of Denver to curate public art exhibitions. He’s also completely self-taught in his craft. Pretty freaking cool, huh?

His name is Rick Griffith. He got up onto the stage only to forget his really comfy scarf which he then retrieved. Glad he was comfortable. Rick’s talk kicked-off with a portfolio reel chock-full of a wide variety of work. The best part of the reel, however, was the background track.

See here for yourself:

Okay, okay. Enough about his portfolio reel. Rick covered quite a few topics in his talk, but what stuck out to me the most was this:

“Stop leaving where you are.” — Rick Griffith

He went on to talk about investing in where you live (which happens to be one of Resound’s values). He practices what he preaches by working pro-bono as a curator and director for Denver’s public art scene. Rick encouraged designers (and other professionals) to stop migrating to big cities that could use anything but another designer trying to “make it big”. If you’re good at what you do, stay where you are, invest in your community, and build something great.

You wanna make an impact, right? Thought so.

I’ll leave you with this critique:

It was fun to hang out with other designers throughout the weekend, but designers are just one part of successful projects.

Designers need photographers.

Designers need copywriters.

Designers need marketers.

Designers need strategists.

Designers need developers.

Why did we leave them out of our community building event? I for one would love to learn from professionals who work in other disciplines. We can do ourselves (and our industry) a big favor by being more inclusive.

Resound Newsletter

Get more industry-leading branding and marketing insights like this delivered to you monthly.

Our Book Is Here!

Unlock the power of authentic branding to become a better marketer and business owner.

Latest Posts

The Key to a Smooth Branding Experience

You’ve decided to pull the trigger and invest in your brand, setting aside the budget and time needed to get things rolling. Your workshop is scheduled and you’re getting excited about the future. Or maybe you’re nervous about the investment and the process. Here are...

The Simplest B2B Funnel Strategy to Get Started

In B2B marketing, we're often supporting business development funnels. Basically, we're sending traffic to sales. Those are different from B2C funnels in that we're not trying to get people to buy. Instead, we're trying to get people to get into a conversation that...

Can Authentic Brands Be Canceled?

Last month, I wrote about how authentic brands that last and endure build a loyal community. This month, I’m tackling a logical, highly relevant follow-up question. Given the polarization that’s put everyone in our country under increasing pressure to take sides, can...

Don’t Improve Your Marketing Processes (Let Your Team Do It)

With the right marketing team, and clear process improvement objectives, you can change the entire culture of your organization and get a ton done…if you know how to ask questions. Many of us are doers or at least planners. We know how to get things moving. And hiring...

To Build an Enduring B2B Brand, Start Small

A strong, healthy B2B brand builds a community.  If a B2B brand is serving customers well and consistently, and guiding its employees with a strong vision, then its community will see the B2B brand through ups, downs, and adaptations to a changing marketplace. Of...

Brand Foundations Course

How to Unlock Your Remarkable Brand

Discover Your Brand Values, Brand Personality and Brand Story to get you and your team thinking about what your authentic brand is and how to manifest it.

Brand Webinars

Learn how to develop your brand’s foundation to get a competitive edge.

Unlock Your Remarkable Brand

Want to build unlock your remarkable brand and lasting relationships, but aren’t sure where to start? Set up a call and talk about it with Mike.

Your organization is remarkable – now start acting like it.

Our new book, You Are Remarkable, helps businesses and organizations unlock their authentic, genuine, real brand identities and express them effectively to their customers.