I had the pleasure to be a +1 at this years Brand New Conference in San Francisco. It was my first #BNConf and their second but I already had big expectations as I'm such a fan of Bryony and Armin's work for Under Consideration. And impressive it was. To pull off a conference of this scale and quality is a hard thing to do, especially when it was all down to two individuals.
Being a +1 meant I had dinner with the speakers the night before at Fog City Diner. It was great to finally meet Armin and Bryony but the star of the show was Matteo from Mucca Design. His slightly outrageous sense of humor had everyone in fits of laughter and I almost forgot I was surrounded by a table of design legends.
The conference kicked off with Vince Frost, a personal hero who didn't disappoint. He showed us that the idea is in the brief. "A gift from the client". His approach is to embrace the client, involve them in the process so there's no selling required when it's time to present.
The first piece of work Vince was commissioned to do in Sydney.
Alan Fletcher taught Vince that the idea is in the brief. It's a "gift from the client".
Marina Willer gave a knockout performance as the face of Wolff Olins. Her work for Tate Modern inspired a new generation of logo design where it became a dynamic thing, not just a bottom right sign off.
This strategy chart popped up quite a lot during the conference.
Marina made the point that the days of image are long behind us. The product and the message are equally as important.
Marina's iconic work for Tate Modern. The inspiration for a million logos that followed.
Marina's process isn't a linear one, as you can see from this diagram.
Paddy Harrington from Bruce Mau Design talked about his opinion on Brand. He claimed that "Branding is for cows" and "Stories are for people". I liked it.
The invention of the internet was not a good thing for everyone.
Paddy pointed out that not very job turns out to be brilliant. Their work for Opera Winfrey was widely criticized.
But he ended on a killer piece of work for OCAD University. Shame about the new building by Will Alsop.
Next up was an unknown agency from Peru called Infinito. Wow. First they sold Peru on its micro-climates, surf, Andes and birds. Next they knocked our socks off with some brilliant work you'd expect to come out of New York or London. A real highlight of the conference.
I planned to skip the Facebook talk to do some shopping but I'm really glad I stayed. Ben and Everett, with a combined age of about 35 showed us what it's like to work at one of the worlds most progressive companies. OK, the product is completely dull but that doesn't stop them from creating some seriously amazing events, spaces, lock-downs (something where they lock them selves in a room for 60 days every year to create 'new'). Hum.
If everyone was tired from sitting in a dark room all day then Matteo Bologna definitely woke us up. A type genius with a killer sense of humor stole the show with his shameless ego and fantastic work. His love for type was explained by saying that whilst most men watch porn at home and do work at , er, work. He would watch porn at work and save the risqué business of type design for the bedroom.
Matteo has designed restraint identities for some of the best bars in New York.
Apparently the cheap is better than the good.
Deep strategical insight into the successful running of a company.
Matteo prefers the term 'visual brief' to 'mood board'.
My personal highlights of the conference was meeting Vince Frost, discovering the work of Infinito and having Little Chef on the big screen as Armin's "personal favorite piece of work from 2011".
For a conference originated, organized, designed and produced by two people, i think it was amazing, inspiring and fun. Never has sitting in a dark room for 9 hours been so enjoyable.