When you find people, projects and sources that make you feel alive…you hold on to them, reference them and follow what they’re doing next. I have many of these in the ole bookmarks bucket, but when multiple were announced to be represented at Design Week Fort Wayne, I was elated.
The first speaker I was sooooo excited to hear was Harry Cunningham. Even before being a part of set building and design, I’d followed Harry Cunningham’s window displays for Saks Fifth Avenue. I’d file them away in different categories, pull them out for reference, marvel at how a stack of coat hangers could be so inspiring. They really spoke to me. At DWFW, Harry shared examples of windows and spoke about the creative process behind them, the workshop where they were built, the budgets and the timelines. It was a peek behind the curtain at something I’d held so highly for so long (and still do, even more so now). Knowing they had a small, super scrappy team who brought their fantastic ideas to life made the magic feel attainable. And hearing the hanger window was made out of necessity makes it at least a thousand times cooler.
Another speaker that I was over the moon to hear was Abbott Miller of Pentagram. I’ve followed Pentagram’s work in the experiential space and it has been incredibly motivating to see innovative and engaging ways of telling brand story. Hearing the thought and production behind installations like the one for The Handmaid’s Tale on the High Line was not only incredibly cool, but also brought about amazing interaction and reach. Here at OLG, brand storytelling is always at the forefront of everything we do. Elevating those stories through experience is not only incredibly cool and visual appealing, but the results they deliver to brands are undeniably badass.
The final talk that really spoke to my soul (though they were all really terrific) was Gabrielle Korn of Nylon Media. I’d devoured Nylon as a homeschooled teenager in the midwest and used it as a lifeline to a world that was closer to the weirdness I loved. Back then a printed magazine, and now a digital platform, Nylon has evolved to not only stay current but to push digital media forward. Though Gabrielle’s ideas and changes to the organization were not always met with open arms by the establishment, she recognized what was best for the brand and created irresistible content where her current and future readers wanted to read it… a la Nylon.com and social channels.
All in all, it was obviously inspiring to see and meet these creative resources who had an impact on my life. All a reminder to use limitations to expand creativity, to trust yourself, show courage and to work your freaking butt off.
So, thanks a million to Design Week Fort Wayne for bringing so many incredible speakers to the Arts United Center here in our hometown and for the inspirational kick in the booty.