A place where Minnesota's design community can blow its collective mind about creative expression in every medium from websites to landscapes, chocolate to bicycles.

Eyeo Festival: 3 Days of Pure Awesome

Posted: June 29th, 2011 | Author: Todd | Filed under: events, local twin cities | Tags: , | Comments Off

Cindy and I (aka BrainstormOverload) were delighted to be able to attend the Eyeo Festival in Minneapolis June 27-29, 2011. The presenter and attendee list was stuffed with big thinkers and doers from around the world and Minneapolis can be proud to have been the destination for this awesome data visualization pilgrimage.

The sold out show clearly blew the minds of all 350 attendees, probably the minds of the building’s regular tenants and in all likelihood the minds of any students who inadvertently strayed too near the McNamara Alumni Center. In fact* even dogs as far away as Lake Nokomis are said to have been so inspired they scratched insistently at the computer keyboards of their owners in a vain attempt to create something beautiful and useful.

There was so much beautiful and useful in evidence that I can’t possibly do it justice here. No worries. I’m sure someone who ignored his or her parent’s advice and became a jounalist will manage to do it. Here instead are a few links and references mentioned durring the conference to start your exploration into this burgeoning discipline that is at once both design and code.

I particularly enjoyed the presentations by Jer Thorp. Check out his work at the New York Times Research and Development Lab and his personal stuff at blog.blprnt.com. He had a way of making everything sound fun, inspiring and easy. I’m pretty sure the last of these will prove to be untrue more or less the instant I myself try coding in Processing. His Kepler Exoplanet project is super cool. Jer had a number of memorable quotes including this advice about taking a job “It doesn’t matter what the company is but it really matters who the people are.”

Jake Barton got off to a slightly formal start on the morning of day two but had the audience in the palm of his hand by about 3 minutes in. His work at Local Projects is extremely thoughtful and well crafted. He emphasized the importance of prototyping early and often and also of inviting the client into that process. He also shared this advice: “Interaction design is a series of constraints and instructions. Make as many of the cues as possible non-verbal.”

Nicholas Felton who summed up his work as “Telling larger stories with fewer words.” shared the obsessive process behind his beautifully designed, personal annual reports. He’s accepted a position at Facebook and I hope it entails him redesigning the UX from top to bottom. On the way to Facebook Nicholas created Daytum as a way to collect your own personal data.

Here are a few more links worth surfing to on the intergoogle:
Crowd favorites: eyeocollection.blogspot.com
Data viz lab at Columbia: http://www.spatialinformationdesignlab.org/
Amazing project from Moritz Stefaner http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/
Crowd sourced music video: http://www.thejohnnycashproject.com/
Chrome Experiements: http://www.chromeexperiments.com/

More is on my mind but my mind is actually starting to bleed which causes the synapsis to misfire so I’ll add more after I give it a rest.

*not actually in fact.

Simple Talk for Tough Times

Posted: May 9th, 2011 | Author: Todd | Filed under: events, illustration, local twin cities | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Congratulations to Marcia Carlson for being recognized by the Minnesota Hospital Association as the 2011 Caregiver of the Year for her creation of the book Simple Talk for Tough Times. This book, already in its second printing, is being distributed throughout the Allina Health System. Marcia’s background in social work and long experience with healing environments among other things helped guide her authorship of a simple book that helps adults diagnosed with cancer talk to the children in their lives about “the elephant in the room” in a way that kids can understand and learn to accept. Kudos to the rest of the team as well: Sandy Herrala, Connie Fiebiger, Melissa Berggren, Adrian Lewis and John Dailey. I am very pleased to have been included on the team as the illustrator.

Artisan Activist Show

Posted: April 23rd, 2011 | Author: Todd | Filed under: events, local twin cities, posters | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

The cold and wet spring evening didn’t dampen the spirits nor it seemed the attendance at the Artisan Activist Poster Show last night at the Aveda Institute in North East Minneapolis. There was a terrific variety of creative expression, printing techniques and even some cool creative reuse of paper that was in perfect keeping with the Earth Day celebration. I was surprised how many prints were not signed and numbered (meaning that technically they’re not limited editions). Just the same, there seemed to be a steady stream of eager purchasers so the Audubon Society should receive a solid donation which is after all the point. We came away with a lovely letter press print entitled “Nest” by Selina Larsen. Speaking of point my lovely wife who is standing in front of my print seems none the less to be pointing at something else… hmm.

Update: There are still some posters left which can be purchased here.

Seems like there are always a couple of cute kids at poster shows.

AIGA-MN Portfolio 1 on 1

Posted: April 12th, 2011 | Author: Todd | Filed under: events, local twin cities | Tags: , , | Comments Off

Last weekend I had the pleasure of again volunteering to review student portfolios at AIGA‘s Portfolio 1 on 1. I met with seven designers and as always enjoyed the wide variety of work and presentation skill generated in part by the different schools represented. For the most part the students I met seemed happy, confident and prepared to start their professional adventure. Perhaps what I dig most is that we share a field that can somehow find a place for them all despite (or perhaps because of) their variety.

I’ve listed them below (in the order I met with them) with links to their websites but need to give an extra shout out to Carly Wright; who not only had the initiative to dust off an old letter press in the basement at CVA but engages in the classy, old-school tradition of sending thank you cards. So I now have the cool collector’s item shown above. (Look for me on Antiques Road Show in 30 years when I’m old and she’s famous). Best of luck gang!

Joanna Wishard – Art Institutes International Minnesota
Katie Wolff -  University of Wisconsin, Stout
Cary Wright – College of Visual Art
Kirstin Wulff - Mankato State
Natalie Wynings – University of Minnesota
Jenny Zanatta – University of Minnesota
Jonathan Sollie – University of Wisconsin, Stout


Artisan Activist Poster Show

Posted: March 21st, 2011 | Author: Todd | Filed under: events, local twin cities, posters | Tags: , , | Comments Off

April is going to be a postery month. Three weeks after Artcrank 2011 the Artisan Activist show will open to benefit the Audubon Society’s Mississippi project. The show opens April 22, 2011 at the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis (7-10 p.m.) and will feature posters from 56 artists, designers and photographers. I’ve tried to compile a list of artists with links so you can get a preview of their work. The list includes the usual suspects (so you know the show is going to be incredible) but I’ll bet there are a few names you are not yet familiar with so it’s worth clicking through. Hope to see you at the show along with the very talented:

Kristian Bjornard
Jacey Braband

Genie Castro
Viet Do
David Dresbach
Eric Drommerhausen
Bill Ferenc
Dale Flattum
Carson Giblette
Alex Griendling
Erik A. Hamline
Margaret Hanson
Kevin Hayes
Jade Hoyer
Gregory Hubacek
Amy Jo
Craig Johnson
J. Zacharay Keenan
Ben Levitz
Katherine Lamm
Selina Larsen
Michelle Lee
Jason Lindke
Sara Lintner
Jason Loeffler
Justin Martinez
Alex Mekos
Sam Michaels
April Mueller
Chad Olson
Meg Olson
Travis Olson
Jeff Orluck
Sarah Osborn
Chelsey Paul
Andy Powell
Aaron Purmort
John Reichel
Lucas Richards
Jesse Ross
Natalie Schaefer
Eric Schlauch
Suzanne Schllissel
Chris Strouth
Peter Skwiot Smith
Kendra Sundvall
Aleksandra Till
Emma Trithart
Lisa Troutman
Anne Ulku
Tony Venne
Jessica Vollendorf
Nonnie Wong
Todd Zerger

To the best of my knowledge this is the complete list. If I’ve missed anyone or linked to the wrong site I hope you’ll let me know.

Updated 03.29.2011

Proper Print Signing

Posted: March 19th, 2011 | Author: Todd | Filed under: events, local twin cities, posters, resources | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Despite my excellent introduction to print making at the capable hands of Doug Minkler and Wayne Thiebaud college was a long time ago and I’ve been struggling to remember the accepted standards for numbering and signing a limited edition set of prints. It’s not something people ask about at parties nor is it something that comes up in the course of the interactive design that’s dominated the last ten years of my career so my brain seems to have filed it accordingly. But careers change and I’ve been trying to orchestrate my return to more general design and to print making so I figured I’d better refresh my memory. Enter the interwebs. Faster than I could dig out my old school books I turned up a great explanation that is thorough but concise. In short the edition goes on the left, title in the middle and signature on the right. But, take a quick look at the article on About.com for the nuances and then sharpen your pencil to identify those Trial Prints (TP), Artists Proofs (AP) and limited edition prints I look forward to seeing at the upcoming Artcrank, Artisan Activist and Poster Offensive shows.


Posted: January 12th, 2011 | Author: Todd | Filed under: bikes, events, local twin cities, posters | Tags: , , | Comments Off

BrainstormOverload is delighted to be amongst the forty outstanding artists just announced for ARTCRANK Minneapolis. Show opening is April, 2 2011 at Shelter Studio. Time to crank the sketch book into overdrive.

2&21 CollectiveAaron PumortAdam TurmanAesthetic ApparatusAllan PetersAmy JoAngel BombAnne UlkuBjorn ChristiansonBrian Hartley SagoBryan DunnClinton LugertCourtney Billadeau • David Dresbach • Derrick Emory AllenDWITTEvan NaganJoanne Grobe • Joe Hasbro • Jordan A. Smith & Jared A. May • Karl MadcharoKelly MunsonLaura Brown • LovelyMpls • Maranatha WilsonMegan RademacherMettle VeloMilton UnPaper BicycleRobert PflaumRyan CarlsonSara LintnerSpencer HaughSteven JockischStudio On FireTerrence PayneTim Kramer •  Todd ZergerVadim GershmanZara Gonzalez Hoang

Check out ARTCRANK’S Flickr pool of past shows.

Also check out the Sheehan Photography blog for an ongoing, daily featuring of ARTCRANK participants.

Walter’s in the Hood

Posted: December 1st, 2010 | Author: Cindy | Filed under: events, input, landscape architecture, local twin cities, urban planning | Comments Off

Photo: Heidi Schumann for the New York Times

Back in May of 2009, I posted about landscape architect Walter Hood, his work on LaFayette Square in Oakland, California, and musings on my own hopes for as relevant a career as his.

I’m happy to share that as part of the Next Generation of Parks lecture series Walter is in our hood. The former chair of the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning program at the University of California, Berkeley, Hood is thought-provoking in word and deed. If this recent article is any indication of what he may describe as 21st Century Parks, we’re in for a great event. I highly recommend the article, and would venture to say the lecture is mandatory for those interested in our public realm.

From Dan Macsai’s article, “…This is public space as Hood believes it should be: multitasking, respectful of the land, rooted in — and watered by — the community. “Think about the history of civilization,” Hood tells me, as if I’m one of his students at UC Berkeley. ‘The agora, the piazza, the theater, the street, the Colosseum — we define ourselves in the public realm. And in America, our public realm is sad. We have to be told how to act.” He deepens his voice. “Sit here, look there, understand this, don’t walk here, don’t do that. It’s crazy.’”

Lecture is at 7 p.m. tomorrow, December 2nd at the Walker Art Center Cinema. It’s free thanks to the co-presenters Minneapolis Park Foundation, College of Design, and Walker Art Center. Get there early as I suspect the cinema to fill as it did for the High Line lecture. We hope to see you there!

No Coast Craft-O-Rama

Posted: December 1st, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: events, local twin cities, posters | Tags: , , | Comments Off

Artists have been starving since long before the recession and this is your chance to help. This weekend (Dec. 3-4) the No Coast Craft-O-Rama returns to Lake Street to bail you out of your gift giving quandary. Every dollar you spend at this spectacular, cosmopolitan event held at the Midtown Global Market will stimulate the local economy, benefit talented local artists and impress friends and family who were dreading another bit of lead-based-plastic-disaster imported from the land of cheep labor at great expense to the environment. Don’t wait for hope and change – go get it and celebrate a life well designed, well crafted and well lived.

Poster by Too Many Suitors.

ASLA-MN In Effect at AIA Conference

Posted: November 2nd, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: architecture, artifacts, events, landscape architecture, local twin cities | Tags: , , | Comments Off

The American Institute of Architects convention in Minneapolis begins today and continues through Friday (Nov. 5). There will be lectures and a large exhibition hall full of the kind of shinny objects that architects find irresistible. You can follow the convention on Twitter: #aiamnconv

Also making the scene at the convention will be the Minnesota chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (notice that landscape architects have a full on “society” while architects have to settle for just an “institute” but that’s a topic for another post). BrainstormOverload was delighted to help ASLA-MN prepare to make a strong impression at the convention. We helped develop the concept and designed presentation boards and t-shirts featuring Theodore Wirth as the central theme for the year. To learn more about Theodore Wirth, who has had a lasting impact on parks nationwide, click on the image above for a larger version. It will be a yearlong campaign so watch for more.