While I was completing my graduate courses in New York, I had the wonderful experience of interning for the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (they are part of the Smithsonian Institution). This was exciting for many reasons:
- It’s the Smithsonian!
- I was getting PAID. The illustrious paid internship was MINE! 8-)
- Working in Andrew Carnegie’s former mansion was cool.
- Constant exposure to pure and utter genius.
My role was assisting in the planning and execution of the National Design Awards. So you might be wondering what the awards are all about:
The National Design Awards is a competition that awards excellence and innovation in seven official design categories.
The seven official design categories are:
- Architecture Design
- Communications Design
- Fashion Design (created in 2003)
- Interior Design (created in 2005)
- Interaction Design (created for 2009)
- Landscape Design
- Product Design
During my internship, I received exposure to many different design disciplines. I was the assistant to the NDA director, so my tasks were extremely varied. One of my responsibilities was sorting and organizing submissions. I was able to review materials from some of the greatest American designers. It was a crash course in interdisciplinary design excellence. This was really a time where I began to see how interconnected these 7 areas are.
The awards are given at the official gala, that was designed and executed by David Stark. The theme was sustainability. Look at the interior. All the decorations are reusable. Genius!
While there, I was introduced to TED. This was a life changing introduction. My biggest goal is be invited to speak at a TED conference. Here’s what TED is all about:
TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with the annual TED Conference in Long Beach, California, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK, TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Program, the new TEDx community program, this year’s TEDIndia Conference and the annual TED Prize. On TED.com, we make the best talks and performances from TED and partners available to the world, for free. More than 500 TEDTalks are now available, with more added each week. All of the talks feature closed captions in English, and many feature subtitles in various languages. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.
These talks are GENIUS. I recently watched David Carson on Design and Discovery. Sociologist turned designer, Carson explores how great design is a lifelong journey of discovery. He walks us through his photography and typography,
illustrating how design communicates meaning (look for the 2 garage doors)
how stylistic movements can move through class (minimalist graffiti)
and shares some great quotes and important lessons:
The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution just comes to you. And you don’t know from where or why. – Albert Einstein
Don’t mistake legibility for communication
Carson imparts us with visual communication wisdom, and infuses it with comedy and jokes. It’s a memorable presentation. You can watch it here:
Interesting quote from his book The End of Print:
People in the electronic age have no possible environment except the globe, and no possible occupation except information gatherers.
I think this is so true for the blogger generation. We are here to pick up the gather the information resources and spread them. But is anyone engaged?
For more information on Carson, visit his website HERE
Be sure to visit TED.com for more videos!