First off, I'm expecting this trip to expose me to different design firms that I normally would not be able to visit and converse with on my own. I've been to New York once (and fortunately it was during perfect weather) so I am looking forward to going back gain, but this time I am expecting to be really cold, and really tired! I'm expecting a heck of a lot of walking, and all that walking will be to find some neat places to go to or look at. I don't plan on shopping a bunch, since that's not my goal for this trip and I don't want to blow a bunch of money. I do expect this to be a lot of fun, balanced with a ton of insight and info about design firms and east coast design - a lot of bang for our bucks...all 1750!
I'm certainly most excited about visiting Pentagram and Nickelodeon. I was really blown away by Pentagram's work - they have huge clients and have created great answers to a vast variety of design problems. I'm interested in their design that functions off of paper - exhibit designs, signage, etc - since that's something that isn't usually discussed in classes. In looking at their site, I could not believe how much work they had done, and I my interests were particularly piqued when I noticed they did the designs/layout for The Daily's Shows book America (which I own and have been looking through more thoroughly now that I know this). I'm looking forward to Nickelodeon since I grew up watching their programming. I've had an interest in animation and cartooning since childhood, and their designs and shows impacted me as a younger person. I think visiting Nickelodeon will provide a nice contrast to some of the giant, more stuffy, design firms.
I've found west coast design to be much more interested in attitude and short term satisfaction than east coast design may be. West coast design is tied to so many different areas of interest on the west coast - most influential on the west coast is the film and music scene that LA holds. It seems that west coast design will go anywhere and do anything, while being less conscious of the standards and boundaries that are usually expected in design. At times, I find west coast west coast design can almost feel desparate, in that it is scrounging for something new, just to be "new", fearing creating anything that may be less new, but of a better quality. I also think west coast design passes off things as "designed" that may not deserve to qualify as design. Though these things may sound like negative aspects, they are the same aspects that advance design and introduce new improvements and ideas, whereas design in other regions may not risk going so far.