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Chapter Spotlight: AIGA Minnesota

April 13, 2011 / By John Luu

Chapter: AIGA Minnesota
Members: 1,375+
Started: 1977 as MGDA (Minnesota Graphic Designers Association), became AIGA Minnesota in 1987
Website: www.aigaminnesota.org

What is your Chapter’s proudest recent accomplishment?
We sold out our annual Portfolio 1-on-1 student portfolio conference in record time: less than two weeks after registration opened, and four weeks before the event. The amazing part is that the fantastic event poster (designed by Zeus Jones and likely to show up in next year’s award shows) hadn’t even hit mailboxes yet. We got the word out early on our website and via Twitter, and the students responded.

Tell us about the best event your Chapter has put on this year?
Our EvolveDesign event brought Twin Cities design leaders together in front of about 700 attendees for a roundtable discussion focused on the past, present, and future of design in Minnesota. Thirteen designers, including Joe Duffy, Tim Larsen, Monica Little, Eric Madsen, Bill Thorburn, and Bernard Canniffe, participated in the discussion moderated by Communication Arts editor Patrick Coyne.

Tell us about the most exciting upcoming event your Chapter has in the works?
There’s actually two, one old and one new. For the 31st year running, we’ll head up to the northwoods of Minnesota for Design Camp®, the nation’s largest and oldest regional design conference. Speakers for 2011 are yet to be announced, but our incredible committee always delivers: past speakers have included Milton Glaser, Doyald Young, Ellen Lupton, DJ Stout, Dana Arnett, and Eric Speikerman.

Our exciting new event is See Change, a one-day visual communication conference held for the second year this May in conjunction with the Minnesota Journalism Center and the University of Minnesota’s College of Design. This year’s speakers include Ian Adelman of the New York Times, typographer Margo Chase, Karin Fong of Imaginary Forces, and Matthew Atkatz of Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

Tell us about your Chapter’s:

…Design Competition. We’ve instituted a cutting-edge online registration system that’s streamlined the entry process for the annual AIGA Minnesota Design Show. We’ve also structured judging so that the judges will be at the opening reception for a panel discussion about their process.

…Mentor Program. Appropriately dubbed the MNtor program, it runs twice yearly and consistently fills up with associate-level mentors.
Guided by chapter volunteers, participants set their schedules and forge their own experiences during the 4-month program.

…Scholarship Program. Each year at Portfolio 1-on-1, we award $3,200 in scholarships to student members. Funding comes from the chapter’s general fund and from a generous donation by Larsen Design.

…student groups. We currently have 12 active student groups and incredibly active student members throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Our bimonthly Pivot events give student groups a chance to show off programs on their own campuses and our bimonthly Stimulatté series provides an informal and free way for design students to network with their peers from other colleges.

If your Chapter had a taste, what flavor would it be?
Hot dish. You betcha.

If you were to make a soundtrack to describe your Chapter, what are five songs that would appear on the soundtrack?

Replacements “Skyway”
Hüsker Dü “Hardly Getting Over It”
The Suburbs “Love is the Law”
Atmosphere “You”
Bob Dylan “Just Like a Woman”

Pure Minnesota!

Written by John Luu

John Luu

At Axiom, John works with clients to develop product branding, advertising and integrated screen and print communication programs with an emphasis on creative solutions for energy-focused companies. Utilizing a multidisciplinary approach, he fuses marketing strategy with compelling creative to solve business problems and drive opportunities for clients worldwide. John graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Communications.

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