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VDW 2016: A Week in Review

Another Vermont Design Week has come and gone, but a lingering warm and fuzzy feeling endures. As a member of AIGA Vermont’s VDW planning committee, it was an honor to recognize and celebrate those who represent design in its most superlative state. As the festivities have wrapped, and I’ve had a chance to reflect back with new perspective, the really special moments that punctuated the week have come into focus. One thing is clear: World-class creative is thriving in Vermont. Without further ado, here’s a recap of some personal insights and impressions of the greatness that was VDW.

Vermont designers are crushing it.

The Vermont Design Awards show was a killer exhibition of work. The huge range of work didn’t just speak volumes of Vermont’s cache of talented creatives, it screamed! The Green Mountain State is demanding the skills of great designers in every industry—and we have the skills in spades. Great local products and services, such as local maple syrup and hard cider, mean great design opportunities. And great design begets greater local products and services—a virtuous circle!

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shameless plug to the work we (HMC Advertising) created for The Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf’s Good Food Truck. It’s been such a rewarding experience to contribute to such a great cause and we were especially proud to have our efforts recognized at Vermont Design Week.

Being true to yourself pays off. And Lyn Severance is living proof.

Lyn Severance, (Harvey|Severance), a beloved design hero of mine, was awarded with the prestigious AIGA Fellow Award as a part of the week’s inaugural event. Lyn’s passion for hand-lettered type, pattern making, and illustration is apparent when you look at her body of work—giving brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Yolo! Snacks, Lund, and Gateway Computers their defining personality. Lyn is modest when talking about her contribution to the world of design. She will tell you she’s done nothing unique—just continued to pursue the things that interested her most. She’s rebelled against the pressure to conform to design trends. Lyn stays keenly aware of what feeds her creatively and actively seeks it out in her creative pursuits.

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There’s so much to be gained in understanding the journey and the process behind the work.

Vermont native Pete McCracken shared his experience producing 44 Last Suppers—a series of large-format serigraph monoprints commissioned by artist and former W+K creative director Jim Riswold. I was most impressed with the process he went through to produce work of this scope—and how he successfully navigated the many roadblocks his team encountered along the way—like the various printing “inventions” they cobbled together to make this most ambitious and complicated large format printing possible. Pete went into great detail surrounding the crucial decisions that had to be made at every turn, and how each ultimately had an effect on the final product—color management processes, paper choice, the taco-ing process that made for a more efficient handling of the work, registration control, and so much more. By the end of his tale, I saw the work in a whole new light. Instead of Jesus’ oddly abstracted sandal, I am drawn to the struggle, restraint, growth, and metamorphosis each piece represents.

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Get inside and play!

What Design Week is worth its salt without a healthy dose of play? At the closing event of the week, AIGA members were invited to a special printmaking event at Iskra, the legendary print collective in Burlington. We were encouraged to grab a screen and start getting messy with it. It didn’t take long before people started to collaborate and experiment with layering different designs and colors over each others work. It was an awesome opportunity to connect through a medium that doesn’t present itself in our everyday lives, for most of us anyway. What better way to close such a memorable week than with a brew and doing what designers do best. Creating. Check out this sweet gif from Iskra of all the great prints from that night!

It’s an honor to be a part of this network of creative professionals, to work together, inspire each other and contribute to this beautiful state.

 

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