Without computers, cell phone reception, internet, egos, portfolios or freezing, gigantic, conference rooms, AIGA Austin’s Design Ranch lets you detach from the instant gratification of the world wide web and connectivity to the world by getting your hands dirty and reviving your creative spirit.
150 designers, developers, directors, educators and creatives alike were lucky enough to attend the well-known conference in the middle Hunt, TX, that quickly sold out this year.
Erin St. Pierre of St. Pierre, Jenna Hubert of KPS3 and I (Kelly) represented Reno at the 2012 Design Ranch, unbelievable by most. The general consensus of Reno was “The biggest little city? What do you even do there? Like you actually live there?”
Cell phone reception and 4G service went down about 2 miles outside of the ranch. Letting go of the tiny, black device we can’t seem to live without was going to be the first of many challenges at the ranch. Four days without instagram, Facebook, texts and important stuff like email and news.
Pulling up to Camp Waldemar set an overall tone for the week. Built by German rock mason Ferdinand Rehbeger, the buildings that make up the camp are beautifully constructed, with stones pulled right from land the camp sits on. Spacious green areas, lined with low hanging branches at the foot of the Guadalupe River. This wasn’t work and it sure wasn’t a conference.
Each day, an 8 am bugle call brought us from slumber into the dining hall and then we set off on our way to a day of 100% hands-on workshops cleverly named PAINTING MYTHS & LEGENDS, PRINT WITH IT!, AN EXQUISITE CORPSE FILM PROJECT, or BOOBS. WEENIES. (OH, AND SCREEN PRINTING.)
The challenge for me anyway, was learning to start and finish the creative process with paper and pencil, paint brush or a Diamond Sharpening Stones Combination tool.
I really had to tap into personal technical drawing skills. Learning how to redraw a square or triangle actually proved to be quite difficult. Watching others around me quickly assemble or draw their piece was also intimidating. The faster they seemed to work, the more was produced and seemingly more fun and creative the work was turning out. I had to turn off my brain and ego just a bit to really take advantage of the hands-on experience.
“During the first class, I couldn’t focus on what I wanted to do. I hadn’t fully grasped the concept of not overthinking and just creating. It was intimidating at first. But when I started getting to know everyone in the room, I realized that not everyone there was a designer. I started to relax and just make stuff. Which is what I love to do as a designer.” said Jenna.
Dirk Fowler said it best during his workshop, Print With It!. “Why aren’t you printing already?”
His question was posed just seconds after he made his 2 minute introduction.
“It took everyone a while to get into the pace and the energy of the class. Everyone strived for perfection with their first print and the Dirk would say something like “Okay we have three more hours, where’s your next one?” It was refreshing to know you could mess up and still walk away with a really cool print.” said Erin.
In what seemed like endless amounts of free time, we enjoyed laying in the sun, talking with workshop leaders and favorite designers, checking out the work in other workshops, paddling in the river and even horseback riding.
After night workshops, the three of us took a stab at two-step lessons, huddled around the campfire and danced the night away to Austin’s’ claim to fame, constant live music.
Design Work Life’s Courtney Dolloff said it best, “I think every attendee left with at least 30 new friends and something new to try. Our computer-induced tightness and burnt-out spots were healed by getting our hands dirty alongside respected peers and allowing our eyes to relax and take in open outdoor spaces.”
Check out Courtney’s in-depth daily blogs about life on the ranch here http://www.designworklife.com/2013/04/20/today-on-the-ranch-04-20-13-part-2/.
You’ll even see a couple of people you may know if you look closely.
In Reno, the month of July is Artown, a month long, arts, culture and music festival. Highlights this year include a funk-fusion twist on Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” plus musicians including Dave Koz, Rickie Lee Jones, and Pete Escovedo with Sheila E. For the fourth year in a row, Stan Can Design™ designed the poster with artwork by artown’s oldest entrant, Annie Hall. Posters will be available at local businesses around town or if you are lucky, Stan will give you one. Just ask.
“I am not a fag hag, I am a fag diva.” Those are the first words Beth Luna said during our meeting to discuss her latest and greatest project, Fag Diva, (trade marked of course). Watching the Keeping up with the Kardashians at home one weekend, Beth discovered that Kim had trademarked and developed a business for the term “Momager,” mom+manager. She thought to herself, “I can do that,” and did. She decided it was time to stop calling herself a fag hag, (a straight girl who has a best friend who is gay and spends a lot of time together ) and let women around the world know that they don’t have to succumb to that term anymore.
After running the brand idea through our processes we decided that a word mark that proudly announces the new term would best serve the clients needs. The final design has just the right amount of distinctive character, whimsy and pizzaz.
When Chris Gandolfo (@solidcreative) of Solid Creative came to Stan Can Design™ with his new business venture, Solid, we were ecstatic that he enlisted us to work for him, instead of him working for us.
For the past three years, Chris has been our “solid” programmer. Pun intended. Now that the tables were turned, he was trusting us with his brain child, an interactive web agency focused on three specific target markets, golf, craft-beer and wine. His goal is to make website integration easy for companies that often don’t have the time to implement the digital world into their business seamlessly.
“We chose beer, wine and golf because those are the three things, besides my lovely wife, that I enjoy most,” said Gandolfo. “Stan and his crew made it easy for us because they were able to explain their design thinking in a language that we could understand.”
After a few brand discovery meetings, revisions and sleepless nights over this little symbol we like to call, the logo, Chris chose his favorite. For him, the logo represented his growth in the web development community, his commitment to his work and clients and himself.
On April 5, some of Reno’s most talented designers, writers, and developers will come together to rebrand Committee to Aid Abused Women (CAAW) in 24 hours. The event, called Reno Wired, was founded by Kevin Jones, co-founder at Cloudsnap; Jenna Hubert , designer at KPS3 Marketing (former Stan Can Design designer); and Julia Kruper, account manager at KPS3 Marketing.
“We’re very excited to work with CAAW,” said Kevin Jones. “Within a 24 hour period, we’re going to try to build CAAW a brand that will last them years. The team is passionate about this event, and, if all goes well, we’re hoping to make it happen annually. ”
Reno Wired is currently looking for volunteers and donors to help the day of the event. Anyone interested in volunteering or donating can find more information atrenowired.com. The event will be held at the Reno Collective on April 5.
“We were so happy to hear that CAAW was selected for Reno Wired,” said Denise Yoxsimer, Executive Director of CAAW. “We are more than ready for a new brand, and believe that this project will help propel us forward as we continue to help families deal with domestic violence.”
Reno Wired reviewed more than 20 applications from a variety of nonprofit organizations. After interviewing the finalists, the Reno Wired team selected CAAW as the lucky recipient of the branding project.
“So many great organizations applied, so it was hard to narrow it down,” said Jenna Hubert. “We took a lot into consideration during the application process, and in the end we decided CAAW could benefit the most from our event.”
The Reno Wired team is made up of 15 professionals representing a variety of local businesses, including Stan Can Design’s Kelly Wallis, The Abbi Agency, Arborglyph, Calvert Photography, Innerwest Advertising, KPS3, Noble Studios, and Trinity AI. Reno Type, a local full-service printer, will also be working throughout the night to print and deliver printed materials by 8am on April 6.
Visit renowired.com to donate or learn how to get involved.
The Reno event is based on a similar 24-hour rebranding event called Zurbwired.