The fourth edition of one of my favorite Design and Branding conferences (and you can quote me on that) is finally a couple of weeks away! Brand New Conference will take place in New York City this coming September 13th, and as always, it promises to be full of learning, inspiration, cool talented people and amazingness. And to keep the pre-conference Q&A tradition going strong, once again, I invited my friend Armin Vit, to answer a couple of questions and share some details about the planning,preparations and what to expect at this year’s conference. I am sure many of you are already booked and registered, but if you are not yet, do it! Trust me, it is that good.
First of all, thanks again Armin for accepting my invitation and taking the time to answer my questions. This has become a yearly tradition now…
Here we are again, just a month away from Brand New Conference 2013. How are you guys handling it?
This is one of the oddest weeks, because we are 5 weeks out and it’s at that point where it’s still in the distant future but also not too distant. We are currently finishing the program, which this year is a hefty 76 pages and involves a lot of moving parts and vendors. So that’s been the number one project right now. Also, by next Monday we should be getting all the stuff that needs to be produced out the door. Lots of coordinating. Other than that, there is not a lot we can do right now; things heat up the two weeks before the event so we are waiting for the storm.
This is the fourth edition already! How have things changed from the first conference?
We are trying to make small adjustments here and there but we are also trying to make some aspects of the conference a better experience. Small things like a nicer badge, readjusting where we serve refreshments, etc. We also got a LOT of sponsors this year. Which is great because it’s some kind of indication that there is a very real and tangible value not just in the speakers but the kind of people that show up. But mostly, it’s been a gradual climb in ambition and scope of what we want to achieve.
Lets talk about this year’s hardcore identity. I know you guys love to go crazy on these (and I’ve loved them all) but this one looks like it took a few more layers and hours…
In terms of time, last year’s took the cake. That was intense. This year, it was all going smoothly until I decided to do the animated GIFs, which became a real time-consuming endeavor for a loop of, like, five seconds. But I’ve always thought that our kind of “creativity” comes from doing something longer and more tediously than any other designer might be willing to do. So we have that going for ourselves. I might still break out one more animation for the day of the conference. If I have time.
On to speakers… You got Bob Gill!, Bruno Maag, Matt Stevens, the always great Michael Bierut, and Debbie! :) Any specific reasons or selection process for this year’s conference?
There is never any theme or approach we take other than “who would we love to see speak?” and “who is relevant?” or “who will be a surprise?”. Bob Gill has been on a kind of speaking tour and I’ve heard great things, so I figured a Pentagram founding partner on our event would be a real coup, with Michael Bierut closing the conference — when we invited him, we literally told him he was going to be the closer and responsible for sending everybody home satisfied. Matt Stevens has been a great story since the time of the first conference, when he did the Dunkin Donuts fake redesign and it’s been amazing to see that same spirit grow into his own business. We had a month where all we showed on the B-Side were minor league baseball logos designed by Brandiose and we’ve never had anyone talk about sports branding, so they seemed like a great duo that could talk about it and where we wouldn’t have to look at a dozen spiky serif logos. Debbie, well, she’s Debbie and we’ve asked her to talk about her design work at Sterling, which she rarely does, so I think it will be a nice look into consumer branding and packaging. We had tried to get Josh Higgins — Design Director for the Obama campaign — for last year’s conference but the conference was on the same weekend as the Democratic National Convention and could not convince him to take half a day off. Bruno Maag is a fantastic speaker and very passionate about type so I was excited to bring some font nerdery to the conference. And Stuart Watson, from venturethree, he is our annual crazy Brit — kidding, sort of — and we love the work from venturethree. So as you can see, it’s all about our whims.
Which one are you most excited to see?
Oddly enough, despite hearing him talk for 30 months out of my professional career, Michael Bierut. I think he brings a very welcome humanity and humor to our field.
Everyone confirmed? No last minute cancellations?
It isn’t the last minute yet!
I saw a little preview online and I have to ask… Are goodie bags back this year?
Yes, small ones! We felt that last year they were missing. We are also bringing back t-shirts.
Last question, and this one comes mainly from the wife. Can we switch dates for next year so that we can get some lovely NYC cold weather? We Miami folks need some cold every now and then…
Maybe. It’s just that October is a busy month (usually a national AIGA conference) and then November starts to get into the holidays. So we do like September, even if this year we managed to schedule the conference’s end with the start of Yom Kippur.
Thanks again for the time Armin. Can’t wait…
See you there!
BONUS. EXCLUSIVE. BREAKING NEWS. BAM!
I usually post photos of programs, posters and collateral after each conference, but this time, Armin was kind enough to send me some process photos of this year’s goodies in the making.
Thank you Armin!
Not registered yet? Visit the Brand New Conference 2013 website to purchase your tickets!