If there was one lesson to take away from the Gravity Free multidisciplinary design conference in Chicago this year, it was this: If you want to make your mark on the design world, forget about sleep.
The passion – the obsession – demonstrated by the 18 speakers for their respective design disciplines was intimidating, but their presentations were not. In a conference constructed purely to inspire, the range included a fashion designer, architect, comic book artist, “data visualization artist” and alternate reality game creator. Brand designer Brian Collins discussed the thinking behind his personal definition of “brand” as “a promise kept consistently over time,” while interior designer Rafael DeCardenas shared some of the beautiful work he’s done for retail and restaurants, featuring an emphasis on his “fetishistic approach to pattern.”
The two-day event in early May was capped off by a speech from the outspoken graphic designer George Lois, creator of Esquire magazine’s most controversial and iconic covers (as well as the original “I want my MTV!” campaign). Among Lois’ suitable-for-print advice for being a true design visionary: “Tell the devil’s advocate in the room to go to hell.”