Louisville soon will host its first-ever American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Design Week, during which a series of events will seek to unite the local design industry while shaking up complacent thinking.
Jason Clark, head of Louisville design-firm Via Studio, said one goal of Design Week —June 8-12 — is for Louisville’s design industry to understand it is more than a collection of individual firms.
“First and foremost, it’s a rallying call for the design community to think of themselves that way,” he said. “We all compete, but the more successful one group is, the more successful we all are.”
That the design community is siloed makes sense, as design is an umbrella term encompassing a range of activities and professions. Design touches upon virtually all facets of modern life, from architecture and interior design to graphic design, digital interfaces, and even experiences.
Louisville’s first Design Week comes after last year’s formation of a local AIGA chapter.
Some events include a kickoff party hosted by Louisville’s Power Creative on June 8, tours of Hound Dog Press, and panel discussions about design. All events are open to the public, but in some cases tickets are required; for the full schedule, click here.
Via is hosting what it’s calling a Design MRKT on June 12, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. This will include a party and booths inside Via for designers to sell their wares. So far booths have been claimed by: Kentucky for Kentucky, Gunnar Deatherage, and Many Photons.
Clark is especially excited about Design Week’s keynote speaker, Stefan Sagmeister, co-founder of the New York-based design firm Sagmeister & Walsh.
Sagmeister is both an extremely successful design professional — he’s won multiple Grammy Awards for his work on album covers and packaging — and a provocateur. For example, he and his partner, Jessica Walsh, both posed nude to promote their firm.
Clark said this risk-taking is needed in Louisville. “Valuing dangerous ideas is something a conservative community like ours should be OK with,” he said. “Especially among the design community. If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we’ll keep getting what we’ve always gotten.”
Power Creative digital strategist Kara DeLost noted Design Week follows quickly after Louisville’s local American Advertising Federation chapter was named club of the year by the national AAF. This shows things are headed in the right direction, she said. “It’s a huge note to how great the talent is in the city.”
Power Creative is hosting the kick-off event in order to promote the recently formed AIGA, and the idea of a larger design community in Louisville. “It’s a great opportunity to bring the design community together,” she said. “It can feel isolated … this creates a unified voice for the design talent in the city.”