Design Camp Through My Eyes

Written by in Events

Just as there’s more to Nebraska than corn and beef, I’m sure there’s more to the state of Minnesota than simply lakes and mooses (meese?). Nevertheless, I still thought it’d be fun to draw a moose to represent day zero of AIGA Minnesota’s amazing event: Design Camp.

After driving 5.5 hrs from Omaha to Minneapolis on my own, I magically pulled into the driveway of Neenah Paper’s Kim Shannon just as she arrived from the airport with Neenah Paper’s Jamie Saunders. If I look slightly frightened in the above photo… it’s because I definitely was.

My fear was soon abated – after we made our first stop: the local package store. Yes, that cart is irreprehensibly full of alchoholic beverages. No, they’re not all for me.

Next stop was the Neenah Paper sample department warehouse where Kim had to pick up a few orders. The main reason I’m posting this photo was because of Robert – the man pictured with Kim and Jamie. That guy’s just plain awesome. He deserves a promotion. He gave me a bunch of Neenah Stickers too!

Four hours (and many restroom breaks) later, we finally arrived at the Grand View Lodge in Brainerd Minnesota. Surprisingly, we were greeted by a giant statue of an ice cream cone. Not surprisingly, Jamie wanted me to take a picture of her pretending to lick it. A bystander offered to take a picture of both of us with the cone. That definitely did not happen.

Secondly, we were greeted by this adorably friendly squirrel perfectly perched on a festive gourd. Yeah, this happened.

Thirdly, we were greeted by The Amazing Doug Powell, the current AIGA NATIONAL PRESIDENT. Such a good guy. Srsly.

BTW – the Grand View Lodge resort is OUTSTANDING. A very beautiful and relaxing place – much needed after being cooped up in a car with such craaazy folks for four hours.

Speaking of craaazy people… JAMIE! In this photo I think she was saying something silly like “This beach is just like Hawaii!” I never would have said something like that. SO crazy.

After checking into our sweet cabin, it was time for the elite, exclusive, privileged and semi-secret “Presidential Dinner”. It was basically just a fancy meal for the conference speakers, sponsors and planners to mingle around. Chip Kidd was there… Paula Scher… and there was some awesome folks at my table too:

THESE GUYS. Thought I recognized those beards! Jason Kernevich and Dustin Summers make up the awesome design team: “The Heads of State” in Philadelphia. Their work is stunning – I’m sure you’ve seen some of it before.

Across the table was Will Gay (a creative director at a company called “Disney“) and his wife . I kept trying to get a good photo of the cute couple – but every time I tried the frisky Joe Isaak (who does marketing stuff for Spicers Paper) kept photo-bombing. So that was the best pic I got.

Here’s that frisky Joe Isaak guy.

The evening ended on a very high note: the fabulous Paula Scher agreed to let me interview her for The Reflex Blue Show podcast. We had a great talk about inspiration, discipline, and balance within the design lifestyle. When it was all over, she signed my copy of her book.

Speaking of Paula – I’m missing her keynote talk right now! STAY TUNED…

  1. 10
    Neenah Paper said:

    I will give you $5 for every wild moose photo a Design Camper takes and gives to Ben to post. It can be the same moose — but a different Moose pose. Please remember, Moose are not as lovable as Bullwinkle. Do not attempt to pose with the Moose. Most Moose are 8 feet tall. Try to make sure your shot has some perspective of said Moose to a road sign or other familiar object.

  2. 10

    I will match said $5 for said moose pics. I need proof that Ben is really in Minnesota, and meese seem to be the surest way to do so,

  3. 10
    Kim Shannon said:

    Spot on review of our first day at camp – can’t wait for today’s report.

  4. 10

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