2019 SEGD Conference Experience Austin

Austin mural with horseshoe

SEGD (Society for Experiential Graphic Design) hosted their annual conference in Austin, Texas this year. As a hub of creativity and culture, Austin was a perfect spot for the three-day event.

The first day was a mix of talks and design tours. After introductions to the city, conference attendees split up into smaller groups to explore Austin. Some tours were led by designers, focusing on a single building or site featuring innovative experiential graphic design. fd2s led a tour of the Austin Central Library and Asterisk guided visitors through the Oracle Campus. Other tours covered a broader district of the city. I attended a bus tour of Austin’s East Side Arts District, an area packed with vibrant murals and street art.

The conference schedule was packed with inspiring and educational presentations and panels. As there were many talks, only a few highlights are covered here. Local architects and Austin’s chief sustainability officer discussed Austin’s growth and transformation into a city with a walkable core. Local Austin designers shared their new works and notable projects from the past decade. The designer DJ Stout of Pentagram and signmaker/neon artist Evan Voyles spoke about the memorable Lucy’s Fried Chicken brand and signage. Lisa Woods of Hopscotch spoke about immersive art projects and exhibitions.

The keynote speaker, Paula Scher of Pentagram Design, walked us through her evolution from a graphic designer to environmental graphic designer. She shared images of her iconic projects, from the QUAD Cinema, to the High Line and New York Parks and Recreation signage systems, to the corporate headquarters for Scholastic. She spoke candidly about learning on the job, figuring out how to read architectural drawings, perseverance, and how budget cuts can often lead to the best work. It was inspiring to hear the stories behind her work and get a glimpse into the design process.

Of course, there were plenty of mixers for networking and connecting with designers and industry leaders. Vendors featured their products at NEXPO and held workshops through an afternoon. The conference closed out with SEGD Global Design Awards presentation.

If you missed this conference, mark your calendar for the 2020 SEGD Conference Experience, June 11-13 in Portland Oregon. https://segd.org/segdconference/2020-experience-portland

— Julie Saunders

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