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Robert Brunner Pivots with Apple, Dre and Gaga

Written by in Events


As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I was really looking forward to Robert Brunner’s breakout (I mean affinity) session at AIGA Pivot. When I first met Brunner, it was to interview him for a podcast, and Nate Voss referred to him as the Steve McQueen of design. I learned more in that sit down than I did in entire semesters of school – and that’s not to say bad things about my education in any way.


Within minutes of starting, Robert Brunner even corrected the advertised presentation title – it should read “ideas not objects.” I would have named it “the most quotable presentation you will go to this year.”

“No one believes your stories anymore.” [photos of advertisements showed on the slides] “we all have finely tuned bullshit-o-meters.”

“Would they shed any tears if you were gone?”

“Design is how companies define themselves.”

“It’s good to be disruptive.”

“You can’t do anything new that is not risky.”

“A risk averse strategy is very risky.”


He showed a few pics of his old work at Apple and Pentagram, and then said what I wanted to hear in a presentation at this time of day regarding his company Ammunition:

“I like showing work, so now I’m going to show some work.”

And with that, it was slides and stories of working with Lady Gaga on Polaroid projects, designing $3,000 Fuego grills, and the Nook for barnes & Noble.

And then it was stories of his new business partnership with Dr. Dre in creating the number one headphone brand in North America – Beats by Dr. Dre. Will we see other speakers showing photos of themselves with famous rap stars? Will Justin Ahrens have a slide with Vanilla Ice? We will find out tomorrow.

“If it was easy, everybody would do it.”

I’ll be back tomorrow with a recap on the closing session for the day, as well as the evening festivities.


On another note, this conference is stocked with PepsiCo nutrition.

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