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Have I Missed the Branded Road Trip Bus?

Written by in Events


Branded Road Trips: What Have I Been Missing?

On September 9th, 2009, Nate Voss and I made a day trip to Kansas City, and set up to record a podcast with Ann Willoughby of Willoughby Design. While there, we ran into Martin and Gavin on their cross-country trek to talk to designers across the nation as Drifting Creatives.

But recently I have been wondering: are design road trips gaining steam? And it seems a lot of those trips seem to pass through my hometown. Has Omaha become a must stop hot spot on all epic designer adventures?  Is this a trend or am I imagining it? One thing is certain, designers are better equipped now than ever to share their adventures and whereabouts through social media.  In fact, I am convinced social media is making these things happen. Or at least, making them known to me?

Last July, Dave Saliger of Core77 stopped through town with his cleverly named Route77 tour. While here, he chatted with Ben Lueders and me on our podcast, The Reflex Blue Show. We had a great time hearing about his trek and we shared insights on life and work in Omaha.

Later in September, Arthur Glenn Meier, III and Christopher Harrer were half way through a 10,000 mile road trip when they stopped through. We met up at a monthly event called 36 Pints that Tom Nemitz and I started as an excuse to hang out with more local creatives after work.


Road Warriors: Christopher Harrer, Arthur Glenn Meier, III and
Greg Paprocki help me celebrate my birthday.

And at our most recent 36 Pints Meet Up on May 23 of this month we met up with Cody Wallis, Ryan Sprowl and Jon Nagy to discuss their adventure – Design Nation, a cross country journey  that began in Kent, Ohio and will conclude in Seattle, Washington if all goes as planned. None of these seem to follow the most direct path there – I assume that’s part of the fun. Thankfully for me, it means Omaha somehow makes it into a few of these plans.

One thing I have noticed is this: it is not a “real design thing” unless it has collateral. Design Nation (www.designnation.us) has it right. A little leave behind. In this case, a double-sided 3″x 5″ card. Print it on paper  and I have a souvenir. Best of all, I actually remembered where to find them online the next day..


Road trip leave behinds don’t need to be fancy.  
On the card above, they got their message across in two short sentences.
Well done.

Is it too late to brand my own road trip? Maybe sometime in the future? Maybe the Design Family Reunion should become a bus reunion that just picks us up along the way? You listening, Matt?

(From the Editor) Last Spring, Against the Grain reported on Austin designer Jennifer Sukis and her Kickstarter financed adventure in travel, meeting and reporting on the lives of five people who’d dramatically altered their life course. Donors a beautifully designed, signed, numbered limited edition book as a thank you for their financial support. She explained:

“On April 13th [2012]  I’m taking leave from all things routine to load up the car with cameras and paper and pens and camping gear, and driving across the country to visit five remarkable individuals who’ve challenged what was in front of them and made drastic changes to create a life that felt truer to their values. I’ll be asking them how they came to these realizations, what it felt like when they decided to abandon their traditional paths …  Throughout this trip I’ll be sharing coffee, camping out with and staying on the couches of friends and friends of friends, asking … big questions … and getting a sense of how people from all different ages and walks of life feel about these issues.”



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