Archived on August 20, 2012. Visit for more information.

Design Fair

Design Fair

The Design Fair is our village commons, the gathering place for attendees between sessions and during breakfast, lunch and evening events. Virtually all activities occur in this area, including roundtable discussions with our speakers and prominent designers; the Hands-on Studio to indulge your crafty side; AIGA and design-related exhibitions; an exhibit hall where you can learn about the latest products, software and hardware; the “Command X” workstation; and amenities including the bookstore, e-lounge and convenient conversation areas to explore the day’s issues and engage in friendly debate.

Adobe Music Café

It’s not Memphis without live music, and this year Adobe is bringing the sounds of Memphis and its diverse music history to conference attendees. Enjoy live musical performances throughout the day and during the evening—sit back and relax while you enjoy complimentary wi-fi access! The Music Café will also have an area where you can grab a snack, a coffee or early dinner without having to leave the convention center. This central hot spot promises to be a place to reconnect, network, and relax after a long day of sessions and meetings.

Aquent Career Center

Are you looking for a challenging new job opportunity? At this year’s conference, Aquent will host the Career Center and provide attendees with insight to the market, salary expectations, and how to navigate and advance your career during these turbulent economic times. Make sure to stop by and take advantage of their free career assessment, online job postings, and potential on-site interviews! 

Command X, presented by Neenah Paper

In the heart of the Design Fair, you’ll find the “Command X” workstation. Swing by to check on your favorite “Command X” contestants hard at work on their next assignments. Each morning’s main stage convocation will feature interviews conducted by emcee Michael Bierut (and Sean Adams as our own “Tim Gunn”), checking in with the contestants at this workstation.

Exhibit Hall

Thursday, October 8
12:00–4:00 p.m.

Friday, October 9
7:30–9:30 a.m.
12:15–2:15 p.m.
6:30–8:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 10
7:30–9:30 a.m.
12:15–2:15 p.m.

Our business partners—who make it possible to hold conferences such as “Make/Think”—will enhance the program by introducing you to the newest products on the market, from the latest in software innovation to unique tools that will help you do your job better and more efficiently. We encourage every attendee to visit each booth to meet with these friends of design who are committed to your success —they too believe in the value of design! Our exhibitors are also the sponsors of our Opening Night Reception on Thursday evening and the Happy Hour on Friday evening.


“AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers of 2008”

Since 1923, the “AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers” competition has recognized excellence in book design and production. After careful and considered review of more than 900 entries, the 2008 jury selected a group of outstanding book and book cover design in categories ranging from trade, reference and juvenile books to university and museum publications. “Make/Think” attendees can enjoy a sneak peek of the “AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers of 2008” exhibition before it opens at the AIGA National Design Center in New York this winter.


PostGig” is a compilation of posters that highlight the role of art and design in the music industry. Curated by Clifford Stoltze, founder of Stoltze Design in Boston, the show features works and original concert posters by Modern Dog, Aesthetic Apparatus, Hammerpress, Patent Pending, The Small Stakes and many more.

Hands-on Demo: Microsoft + Time for Change

In 2003, former AIGA President Clement Mok wrote “Time for Change,” his visionary essay on what the future would require of the design profession. Join Chris Bernard and Sara Summers, designers and user experience evangelists for Microsoft, as they discuss how design thinking and technology are finally combining to deliver on this future, and learn how you can take advantage of these breakthroughs right now in your professional practice.

Hands-on Studio

Remember the days of recess and arts & crafts? The Hands-on Studio is the place to rejuvenate your creativity, providing a casual salon for simply drawing, sketching and making things, as well as scheduled studio time with special instructors and specific projects. Tools and materials are provided. Stop by, roll up your sleeves and take part in this unique conference experience! Hands-on Studio activities include:

Looking For What's Not There: Positive/Negative Illustration Workshop

Join “Make/Think” conference identity illustrator and CMYK art director, Ronald J. Cala II, for a new way of looking and illustrating. While Cala describes how he arrived at his style, which is typically created on the computer, you’ll go old school with black and white construction paper, scissors and glue sticks! You’ll focus on the idea of creating a positive and negative silhouette and then add black or white to change the concept of the illustration. It’s the little things that can create the most drastic changes. See what you can create!

Lord have mercy, Betty, I printed letterpress in Memphis!

You will have the rare opportunity to handprint your own artwork from Hatch Show Print woodblocks with Jim Sherraden. No perfect registration or agonizing about color—this is therapy for the masses! Paper and ink will be provided but bring your own T-shirt or two to print on and take away a custom-made woodblock design from Memphis!

Monsters infiltrate Memphis!

Watch Stefan G. Bucher create his monsters from just an ink blot and compressed air—then create your own! Once your monster has come to life, you’ll participate in a storytelling improv exercise designed so that everybody gets a laugh.

Microsoft Game Lounge featuring Xbox

If you need a moment to unwind and relax, check out Microsoft’s Game Lounge located in the exhibit area of the Design Fair. Challenge your peers at Rock Band, Guitar Hero and other top titles.

Roundtable discussions

A unique and valuable opportunity for you to engage in an intimate conversation with “Make/Think” presenters and other design luminaries, roundtables are held during breakfast and lunch breaks in the Design Fair. It’s a great opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with speakers and meet other attendees with similar interests. You’ll be able to grab breakfast or purchase a boxed lunch in the Design Fair to fuel your discussion.


By adding your contribution to the Sketchwall you will help create a collaborative visual artifact. Draw, sketch, write, doodle, illustrate or construct your interpretations and observations of “Make/Think” and add it to the collection on the Sketchwall.

Student Portfolio Review

Where else can you see the portfolios of 100 up-and-coming design students? Here’s your chance, during the Friday evening Happy Hour in the Design Fair. Be sure to stop by and check out the work of the next generation of designers.

Other amenities


Browse and buy the latest titles by, about or recommended by “Make/Think” presenters, as well as AIGA Design Press publications and a large collection of art, photography and design-related books. We’ll also be hosting book signings with Kurt Andersen, Stefan G. Bucher, Charles Harrison, Grant McCracken, Emily Pilloton and Stefan Sagmeister throughout the weekend.


Visit the e-lounge to check your email, blog or simply connect with the outside world on computers provided by Apple, Inc. For your convenience, Wi-Fi access will be available throughout all conference areas.

Make/Think Live Blog

See photos from “Make/Think”