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Design Will Survive

By Margaret VanEchaute

The afternoon Design Track offerings at the 2011 MMPA Summit and Expo offered much more than professional expertise; they planted seeds of optimism and inspiration for designers facing uncertainties in today’s rapidly changing marketplace.

In “Design, Still Satisfying and Delighting?” Jo Davison, vice president of creative at Larsen Design, had but one mantra for modern designers: Evolve. By embracing change with clear intention, a positive attitude, creativity, and grace, good design will always survive.

Davison says designers should pay attention to tools, audience, content, and craft to stay on top of their game in modern creative environments. Welcome new technologies, she says; use visuals to make content not only engaging, but understandable; and make good ideas memorable with a high degree of precision, purpose, and detail. While many things can make a designer’s work stand out, these points differentiate good design from the rest.

People today have busy lives and Davison believes that good design should make their lives easier. Good designers address a problem, solve it, and do it in a way that is beautiful, purposeful, and—most of all—delightful. Because, she says, if it isn’t fun, why bother?

Moderated by Joel Hoekstra, editor of Minnesota Monthly, the final session titled “Going for the Gold: Designing Award-Winning Publications” featured a panel of experienced art directors, including Brian Nanista of Metro Magazine, Mark Leiknes of Corn & Soybean Digest, and Sara Klomp, creative director at St. Thomas. The panel answered questions on everything from their favorite go-to magazines for design inspiration (Bon Appetit, Wired, Esquire) to their opinions on the future of digital magazine publishing. With so many beautiful layouts, helpful tips and practical advice on display, those in attendance will surely stay inspired for weeks to come.