Brand New Conference 2012 – Armin Q&A

TheeBlog-BrandNewConference2012_Q&A It is that time of year again! For the third consecutive year, UnderConsideration is hosting its great Brand New Conference. This year, the conference comes back to New York and it promises to be just like the previous two, AMAZING. As I am booking my flights and getting ready to travel to New York to attend the event, meet cool people, reunite with great friends, learn and get inspired I invited my friend and half-team behind this event, Armin Vit to chat about the preparations and how things are coming along. Check out this brief Q&A and if you have not registered to attend this conference yet, I strongly suggest you do! It is definitely one of the best conferences you can attend. And that is an official ‘Thee Blog‘ statement :)

Want to attend? Register before tickets run out at the Brand New Conference Official Site!

You can also check my reviews from the 2010 Brand New Conference and 2011 Brand New Conference to see the awesomeness these conferences provide :)

Now, before we continue, if you are attending the conference this year, don’t be shy and say hi! We’ll be connected through Twitter (@theeblog), Facebook, and Instagram :) so there’s no excuse!

Hope to see/meet you all there!

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Welcome again Armin and thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and share some behind-the-scenes info and details. Always a pleasure to have you as a guest :)

Here we are again. Days away from a new Brand New Conference and I can honestly say I am as excited as the first time I attended back in 2010 :) How’s everything coming along?
Everything is coming along nicely. We have a lot of small details still to take care of and most of them fall into place the last two weeks. Hopefully we can push a few more ticket sales this last three weeks and get a capacity crowd going like in 2010.

Last year you moved the conference to the West Coast (San Francisco) and this year you decided to bring it back to New York City. Any particular reason?
We overestimated the amount of local and regional designers that would come to the conference, and our attendance was lower than we would have liked. New York is by far the city with the biggest number of logo, identity, and brand designers per capita, so it makes a lot of sense to have it there. It’s also far more accessible to European speakers (and attendees) which increases our options. And I think more people are happy to make a weekend out of New York.

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You’ve organized two very successful conferences already. How similar or different were they and what have you guys learned, love or hate form them?
We’ve kept it very similar for this third year. Things seem to be working out pretty good. So we are not messing with the formula too much. We are simply trying to streamline the process, keep expenses low, profits high, and people happy. 2010 was great, because I think so many people were so eager for a conference of this kind — I mean, it was sold out after four weeks of starting to sell tickets. So we just assumed every year would be the same; so it’s been a semi-rude awakening that we have to work at getting people aware of the conference and interested in going. 2011 was a little bit hard, because we expected way more people and we overshot many things, like the size (and cost) of the auditorium, the number of samples from sponsors, the quantity of t-shirts, programs, bags, which is both costly and a waste of resources. It was also hard working with the venue and the work union. Nonetheless, the speakers were great and the content was excellent. The part I still love the most is doing the identity for them and all the materials. I can do whatever I want. (With Bryony’s blessing, of course).

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Let’s talk about your lineup. You’ve gathered an impressive roster of pros like Howard Belk, Miles Newlyn, Aaron james Draplin, Simon Manchipp, Yah-Leng Yu, Yolanda “Yo” Santosa and Mike Rigby. How does your selection process work?
Bryony and I go out to lunch and make a list of people. We smile if we like someone and we furrow our brows if we don’t like someone. There really isn’t a winning formula. It just has to feel right. We do like to keep things current and invite designers who’ve had an impact in the last year or two. We have to like their work and kind of guess that they would be good speakers — many of these folks, we’ve never met in person or have no idea if they can speak in public. We just go on gut and believe that if they can do great work, sell it to a client, and get away with it, they can probably convince 400 designers that they are doing something right. A lot of it is also finding a balance between small, medium, and big firms, American and International, male and female, in-house and for hire, and work for a range of industries. Many times we have an initial list that looks nothing like the final roster because people have previous engagements or just don’t want to do it. So it’s a lot of ongoing decision making.

And Wow, Massimo Vignelli. I have to admit this is the speaker I am looking forward to see/meet the most for obvious reasons. Great job and thank you! :)
Yeah, we are excited too. It’s increasingly hard to find the legends that opened the path for the rest of us because, well, not to be a prick, but they are getting older and passing away. Can you imagine a Brand New Conference with Bass, Rand, Chermayeff, Geismar, Lubalin, Sutnar, and Beall?

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Every time I take my kids to a party, they always look forward to their goodie bags and I must confess that every time I attend the conferences, I feel the same way. What do you have prepared for this year?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but we are doing away with the goodie bags this year. On top of what I mentioned in the previous answer of having way too many sponsor samples and our own, we’ve noticed — from cleaning the auditoriums after everyone leaves — that people were leaving behind much of the contents and the bags themselves under their seats. So no goodie bags, no t-shirts, no sketchbooks from us. We do have a pretty hot program: it’s oversize on newsprint with great binding, produced in collaboration with Newspaper Club and Henry+Co. We’ll also have a slick poster by Henry+Co. – :(

Thanks again for your time Armin and I’ll see you there!



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