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

Main stage

Main stage

The “Make/Think” main stage will be packed with unexpected and surprising community presentations to enlighten your practice and enliven your work. More presentation descriptions are being added regularly, so stay tuned for details as we approach October!

Memphis, Tennessee: Creativity With Courage

Al Bell, chairman, Memphis Music Foundation

Memphis, Tennessee has always been a rebellious, innovative river town, from the fouding of FedEx to the country's first self-service grocery store. But nowhere is this unbridled spirit more evident than in its music industry—past, present and future. Stax Records, which launched the likes of Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave and dozens of other music icons, started in a tiny garage and grew to become one of the most important labels in the world. It thrived in the face of racism, corporate greed, political corruption and other challenges. But the creativity that formed the culture of Stax Records lives on today and its legacy is still changing the world.

Generation Gap

Ethan Bodnar, graphic designer, author and student; and Charles Harrison, designer and educator

Hartford Art School student Ethan Bodnar and industrial designer Charles Harrison will co-present their career and work—a student beginning in an age of blogs and InDesign, juxtaposed with a successful designer who began his career as a military cartographer in the 1950s. While focusing on the importance of a formal education, Harrison and Bodnar will share stories demonstrating how their education truly never ends. Expect an engaging and thoughtful look at the differences and similarities of these two uniquely successful designers.

Makers and Thinkers

Stefan G. Bucher, writer, graphic designer, illustrator and founder, 344 Design

Stefan G. Bucher, the man behind 344 Design and the online drawing and storytelling experiment, will discuss the creative challenges of being both a maker and a thinker, communicating to large audiences across a wide range of media. Find out first-hand how he has spent the past 20 years building a practice that allows him to pursue his many strange and labor-intensive interests, while also managing to keep the lights on.

Redesigning Design

David Butler, vice president of global design, The Coca-Cola Company

We are experiencing a “new normal” as the global economy begins to recover. How should we be thinking about the role of Design now and looking forward to 2020? Coca-Cola has a point-of-view that we are in the midst of a “redesigning of design.” We'll be talking more about this and what we need to consider going forward.

Design and the Liberal Arts Education

Elizabeth Coleman, president, Bennington College

Over the past century the combination of the idealization of the expert and an increasingly technocratic, fragmented specialization has wreaked havoc with the intellectual and ethical dimensions of a college education. We are desperately in need of a new liberal arts—one that will reconnect thought and action; utilize the power of ideas and imagination to transform our capacity to engage the world in ways that matter, about things that matter; and inspire collaboration rather than isolation. Design—understood as a systematic, collaborative way of addressing problems and transforming possibilities—is a prime candidate for the new set of studies needed to revitalize higher education.

A new word to describe the seamless connection where the beginning meets the end in a circular line.
A sentence, as a subtitle, to a word that does not exist.

Daniel Eatock, designer, artist and author

“Passed to you, from one to the next, like a chain, catenary, a dog chasing its tail, a loop, self support, half way to half way, everything unraveled, completely covered, removed, camouflaged, trompe l’œil, illusion, rotating, echo, echo, rotating, scrolling, half way in duration not distance, best before yesterday, extra medium, between on and off, between up and down, between a surface, align, a line, correction, from frustration, balance, colapse, reorientation, upside down, objective, givens, surface area squared, together, back to the beginning, passed to me.”

Inspiration or Motivation?

Carin Goldberg, principal, Carin Goldberg Design

Inspiration. It looks good, tastes good and feels good. We are hooked on its revelatory highs and illuminating epiphanies, but inspiration is fleeting and ephemeral, always leaving us wanting. Motivation. Whether we are driven by money, neurosis, love, fame or revenge, our motivation is never as sweet as inspiration, but it does get us out of bed in the morning. Carin Goldberg will share what has inspired her work and what has motivated her to work over the last 30 years.

Making Pictures to Make You Think

Jill Greenberg, photographer, Jill Greenberg Studio

Sometimes your work will strike a chord. As an artist who does personal work as well as assignment photography, Jill Greenberg has had the good/bad luck to do this twice, creating an image that could both polarize dinner party conversation and stir up controversy on Fox News. It can be hard to live with, but having your work debated is a good thing. Greenberg will present her pictures in the context of what she sees as our fear-based culture. She makes work that makes people think, and admits that she might not always think before she speaks. Yet she hopes her images will say more than her words.

Design-led Advertising

Nick Law, executive vice president and chief creative officer, North America, R/GA

Fifty years of marketing driven by the TV narrative is coming to an end. As narrative thinkers step aside, design thinkers are stepping forward. Nick Law will share how design has led to some of R/GA’s most memorable and successful digital and interactive campaigns.

The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage

Roger Martin, dean, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Roger Martin, a leading proponent of design thinking in business, will make the case that we can understand innovation through a new model of how businesses advance knowledge over time, and that businesses fail to innovate when they show greater concern for producing reliable (predictable and reproducible) outcomes than valid ones that actually meet objectives. Martin argues that businesses can do a better job at innovating—and advancing knowledge—if they embrace design thinking. Using examples such as Procter & Gamble, RIM (BlackBerry) and Cirque du Soleil, he will examine how companies transform themselves into successful design-thinking organizations.

The Design of Google

Marissa Mayer, vice president of search and user experience, Google

With billions of searches per day, brings real meaning to designing at scale. Just as important are the human touches—such as Google Doodles—which serve Google’s fundamental design mission, to delight its users. As its products reach people from 150 countries speaking more than 100 languages, Google’s design team has had to develop a unique philosophy for user-centered design. Marissa Mayer, who guides the user experience on and several other properties, will explore how both empiricism and personality are essential to good design.

The Seven Year Itch

Stefan Sagmeister, graphic designer, typographer and founder, Sagmeister, Inc.

Hear and see why Stefan Sagmeister thinks it’s a good idea to close his studio every 7 years for 12 months and spend it trying out various little design experiments, for which there is never enough time while running a regular practice. Coming to Memphis by way of Bali, he will show envy-inducing photography of his experimental outcamp in Indonesia, explain the structure behind it and touch on some of the pitfalls and many highlights. He will show how his studio’s work changed following his first sabbatical in 2000, as well as introduce some recent work created in Indonesia as proof that he did not spend the year slurping tropical drinks by the pool.

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