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Pivoting for Fish Heads and Superstar Designers in Phoenix

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Pivot has officially opened with a pick and roll, soda nutrition, dead fish, and the return of the greatest graphic design reality show ever made.

Working on the premise of doing good, and not just doing good design, AIGA spent the opening session with host Kurt Anderson introducing some speakers in Katie Salen (talking of play and pick and rolls) and Allan Chochinov (talking of who you want to be) that really make me want to work to better the world.

And then, as much as I love the idea of a nutritionist speaking to designers about how we can work to help the country in that manner with information design, I’m not really sure one from PepsiCo is the right call. But I immediately saw the benefit of Kurt Anderson at the helm during the Q&A that followed. Kurt asked the tough questions that need to be asked about motive and if this was the company to lead the initiative. Dondeena Bradley stood her ground, made her points, and stood behind what she spoke of. This Q&A alone may be the reason to follow the AIGA site after the conference – as they are releasing all of the main stage performances (and some of the others) as video to follow.


But we all know why we hang around, and don’t complain too much, when these event run long by half an hour. It’s the return of Command X where the young guns show a star-studded design panel what they can do in a short amount of time. And re-designing the American Idol logo (and I use this term loosely here), was not the easiest of tasks. In fact, all but one just started from scratch.

Where I’m not sure any of the judges can replace the attitude and fun Chip Kidd brought in Memphis, I have faith the quick wit and humor of Ellen Lupten will shine. And as usual, Michael Bierut is the best host you could hope for. I have a feeling he will do well in this profession.


And then there was the happy hour. This Phoenix place really knows how to step up a game, when even a convention center food services brings fish to the table that stare back at you. Another sign of a good week.

Hate to report that I missed the after party at the Design Museum, but I was moved in the direction of an alternate after event that involved hanging out with superstar designer Drew Davies and up and coming design superstar Josh Silverman, among others.

Let’s see how Friday goes, but if Thursday was any indication…

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  1. 10
    Ben Lueders said:

    You should bring that fish’s head back to the office! Turn it into a hat!

    Great post- looking forward to more updates!