The Great Chase
I attended the first installment of the AIGA San Francisco's Design Lecture Series the other night. This DLS has been an annual affair for many years and there are always great speakers and presenters in all areas of design. (Yes, I am on the board, but it is still true.) This evening was abuzz with anticipation for the speaker of the night - Margo Chase. Let me tell you, she didn't let anyone down.
Ms. Chase, of Chase Design Group out of Los Angeles, is one of the nicest, most approachable, successful designers I have ever come across. While so many of us seem to get full of ourselves and carry an air of stuffiness, Margo could be your close, big-sister.
Anyway, she opened her talk with some information and background on her work in the music industry in the '80s. Even though the work was exciting and there were few creative restrictions, the work became tedious and rather monotonous. (Heck, I'd love to work on a CD cover or tour branding for Madonna!) Margo was able to use her flair for custom typefaces and layered imagery, but there was no real respect or appreciation for her art in that particular industry. She wanted to have more challenges and actually provide design solutions that really could make a difference. In this industry, the music sold the artists, not the design. So, she eventually moved onto branding and packaging design for the corporate world.
Her presentation then went into how her studio researches and researches (did I say RESEARCHES?!) the client, the message, and the audience through exhaustive interviews, psychographical charts, mood boards, et al, to come up with the award-winning solutions they're famous for. She showed us about four different client case studies that carried us through the "before and after" scenarios. I won't go on here and tell you all of the details, but, go to her site, chasedesigngroup.com, and you'll get a feeling of what I'm talking about.
At the end of the evening, she stuck around and answered a lot of questions from the appreciative audience and even signed DLS posters (which her studio designed). What a peach!
I love going to lectures and presentations like these because my motivation level increases and I always feel a new sense of pride and appreciation for my craft. I don't think my work will ever get to the level of Margo Chase or my little studio will ever have the same portfolio of clients, but I do plan to be as charming and friendly - really.