I am looking forward to an incredible opportunity to take a sneak peek at the inner-workings of professional design environments. This is my fourth trip to New York, however, this is my first “business” trip to Manhattan. Each time I visit the city I leave energized and motivated by the pace of the people and stamina the city demands. Everyone I know who makes New York their home is highly driven and has a compelling “I’ll do whatever it takes” kind of attitude. I expect the trip to be informative. Since we are visiting a broad range of design environments, I hope to gain insights about the real differences between boutique environments and large, established firms. I feel like this experience will give me the kind of information that no one can teach; you simply have to see it for yourself.
It’s easy to be swept away with excitement over agencies like Pentagram. I am so grateful that they are willing to open their doors to the motivated, next-generation designers from USC. The partner bios at Pentagram are an open window into the agency’s problem-solving strategies and diverse range of talent and focus. In particular, Lisa Strausfeld’s background in computer science, architecture and design makes her a role model for solving visual and information-based problems. Because I am personally interested in the possibilities of functional design and the intersections of art and science, an agency that would embrace this kind of business partner intrigues me. Their interactive portfolio is impressive. The Pennsylvania Station Redevelopment Media Wall is just the kind of useful, yet beautiful design solution I am interested in being involved in. As a student, these are dream projects– at Pentagram, they are a reality.
C & G Partners also have a talent for useful and beautiful design solutions. It is an exciting prospect to be allowed to see how this agency operates. Steff Geissbuhler brings solid branding expertise to the architectural realm. Their interactive solutions are impressive. The Singapore Story Multimedia Installation is another kind of dream project. In order to create solutions that are technically complex, it is extremely important to have a very clear and concise branding message behind them; otherwise people may be overwhelmed by the spectacle and lose the underlying client message. Again, projects that can be informative and reach a large audience interest me, and C & G Partner's portfolio of information-based design solutions show high competence in this area.
“West Coast” design has a very independent spirit. Because of the entertainment industry, there is a client-base for raucous and edgy design. Many West Coast designers are multi-disciplinary and are masters at building print, web and motion solutions for their clients. Because of the entrepreneurial spirit that thrives here, you can find an abundance of boutique environments. Some might even say that the design business is oversaturated here. Although there are plenty of full-service agencies that handle large corporate accounts, I feel that the flavor of West Coast Design is best defined by smaller agencies. These round-the-clock dedicated and multidisciplinary designers work directly with clients to create innovative design solutions.