Next Big Design

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Don’t Wish You Would Have

By: Monica Boeger 

Have you ever rushed by that subway saxophone player thinking, “Ugh, you’re in my way”? Do you ever roll down your window and say hello to the woman on the street corner who asks for money? Do you know anything about that man you rode the elevator with when you purposely pulled out your phone to seem busy?

What if someone told you that the saxophone player in your way graduated from Julliard and plays to bring happiness to others before he heads off to scout your class for the next generation of performers? What if that woman on the corner works the night shift as a doctor and donates all the money she collects to the children’s hospital? What if the elevator man you ignored was a Creative Director currently looking to hire the perfect candidate for your dream job?

Whether you’re a jazz musician, a studying nurse, or wanting to grow your design career, everyone benefits from saying “Hello.” It’s the people you meet and the risks you take that can open doors to endless opportunities.

Life is all about making connections. Emotional connections with other people, soulful connections between consumers and brands, internal connections within your thoughts and passions… all types of connections will weave you through a world of opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t know existed.

In order to name your future, be curious, go out of your way to talk to people, and be nice to everyone. You never know where it will lead you. What would happen if you said hello – you’d be 20 seconds late? Or would you possibly make a connection that could change the next 20 years of your life?

The next time you see that subway musician, ask him where he learned to play. Tell the lady on the corner you admire her persistence and ask about her story. And please, leave your phone in your pocket and introduce yourself to the elevator man.

It all starts with saying hello. Don’t wish you would have.

(A reflection on what I took away from Keynote Speaker Stanley Hainsworth, chief creative officer at Tether and former creative director of Nike, Lego, and Starbucks).

About the Author: Monica is a Senior Designer at Fruition, a digital agency in Denver, Colorado. Monica has over eight years of professional experience in the Graphic Design and Marketing industry. Previously, she worked as Art Director in New York City where she developed and oversaw the creative direction of digital and print campaigns for high profile clients and music artists in the Entertainment industry.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Designing the Space Between Us

— by Dan Wallace

This morning I was inspired by design legend Bruce Mau, who sees design as a central organizing concept for humanity — design with a capital D. Mau says, “Massive change is not about the world of design; it’s about the design of the world.”

Mr. Mau pointed out that "every dog breed was designed by humans, so it is little wonder dogs are our best friends. We designed them that way!" Then Mau went on to talk about something near to his heart: work to help redesign the culture and vision of Guatemala. This project was followed by an assignment to redesign Mecca.

Mau drew me in immediately with the story of his childhood in Sudbury Ontario, growing up without books, or running water in the winter. He believes this background gave him the empathy to design for other people. From these humble beginnings Mau has gone on to collaborate with some of the foremost creative geniuses of our time, including architect Frank Gehry and philosopher Gilles Deleuze.

Mau said, “We are not designing what we look like, we are designing through what we do. We are moving from style design to design thinking, from visual form to enterprise design"

This presentation brought to mind a quote by an early modern philosopher, Henry David Thoreau: "It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts."

Bruce Mau is designing the space between us, affecting the quality of the day.

Dan Wallace develops products and is a marketing & brand consultant. He is co-authoring a book, “The Physics of Brand,” to be published by HOW in 2016. This blog post was written for the 15th annual FUSE Conference in Chicago, hosted by IIR. You can follow Dan on Twitter @ideafood.

Not doing what you love? You're crazy!

—by Diane Andreoni

The first thing people notice about Stanley Hainsworth is his hair. He likes his hair because it sparks conversations. This is what he loves—making emotional connections with people. 

Hainsworth started his career as an actor in his twenties with aspirations of fame. But when he realized that acting meant depending on others, he began to search for something he could have more personal control over.

In 1989, he got a job offer from Nike to be a creative director. He was curious, eager to learn more, and accepted the position. Hainsworth grew as a designer and saw parallels with his acting roots—"meeting rooms are like a stage"—where major players watch you perform during presentations. His "we are the stories we tell" philosophy embodies all his ideas.

Over the next twenty years Hainsworth worked at Nike, Lego and Starbucks. He thought of these brands' products as artwork and designed gallery-like events that inspired and engaged people. In 2008, "Stanley Starbucks" went from loving the art of coffee making to giving birth to his own company—Tether.

As Tether's CCO, Stanley Hainsworth now lives his own brand and Starbucks is one of his many clients. His company's mission is to create "brand fans". His hired Tether-ites are experts at "story crafting," using multiple channels to weave together memorable and enchanting experiences. Learn more about Tether at

Stanley loves his hair. It is his social strategy. He uses it to connect human-beings. It certainly got my attention. Fortunately I'm already doing what I love—living life.

About the author—Diane Andreoni is an inspirational creative director and artist. She is a compassionate and collaborative leader. And she is an energetic explorer and storyteller. Contact her at,, @diandreoni1963

Farewell FUSE: Everyone Has A Story


~ by Kitty Hart

Id love to experience Stanley Hainsworth in an elevator. Wouldnt you? Rather than feeling compelled to stand skinny in my own space, eyes down, or pretend to do something on my phone, it would be nice to actually meet someone new in this space that seeps with awkward human interaction.

If you werent present for Hainsworths talk he clued us in to a little elevator behavior he has come to own. Once the elevator doors close and all riders have made their floor selection, Hainsworth turns toward his fellow riders and says something like, I want to thank everyone for attending todays meeting. I've prepared a short agenda, so…” Apparently, by the time he has two sentences out the ice has been broken and some sort of unexpected conversation ensues. Fabulous! I will try this.

Hainsworth the actor, producer turned creative director shared a great deal of wisdom in his 40 minutes upon the FUSE stage. But I think he would be pleased to know of one takeaway that particularly resonated with me. He said, Everyone has a story. Take opportunities to talk to people. As I thought about this simple little statement, I realized how sad it is that we need to be reminded. Even those of us that hail from the Minnesota-nice state, need to be reminded.

As brand strategists and designers, we all know everyone has a story. We eat, sleep and breathe this belief in the work we do. So it is actually the second part of his statement that I want to touch on as we bring closure to FUSE15.

We all attend these conferences for different reasons. Many come to really just focus on the educational content. Many attend primarily to meet people, network and find new business opportunities. And, many work hard to combine these two efforts. Regardless, talking to people is necessary. So I think FUSE re-imagined offered great new opportunities for us to talk to people we may not have in the past. While I always dreaded breaking into small groups when I was in school, the salon approach allowed us to have comfortable and collaborative discussions with complete strangers. These strangers then became acquaintances as we saw familiar faces on our respective field trips and then new friends as we clinked glasses and nibbled roving appetizers during the happiest of hours.

Whether we arrived at FUSE solo, with one colleague or several, the new format offered more time to connect with someone new. And if you were around for the latter part of day 3, we even saw a handful of unsuspecting peers take the stage impromptu to talk about painful lessons learned.

Hainsworth's words ring true as we prepare to close this week of inspiration. Everyone has a story. We need not be afraid to talk to people even in the most awkward of spaces. Opportunities abound. Its up to us what we do with them.