MSLK speaks at National Design Week

On Monday, Marc and I were invited by the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution to speak at their Teen Design Fair. The fair is part of the museum’s National Design Week, which, in short, is dedicated to increasing awareness of design to the general public, as well as, honoring leaders and innovators in design. Specifically, the Teen Design Fair was comprised of high school students from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Kansas who came to learn about different careers in design from fashion design to graphic design, industrial design, and architecture. It was quite an honor to be asked to participate along side fashion design stars such as Isaac Mizrahi and Cynthia Rowley. In fact, with all the TV stars from Project Runway and Top Design running around, I was surprised that any teenager would want to listen to little old me.However, they did. In fact, not only did they listen but they asked amazing questions.I remember the moment I declared on my college applications that I wanted to be a graphic designer. I also remember having absolutely NO idea what that really meant. I’d never even met a graphic designer, let alone talked to them about what they do all day long… Even now, I’m not really sure where the job description for “graphic designer” begins and ends. What I do know is that design means problem solving and that is what I communicated to the students. As a designer, I’m still an artist, however I can’t hide behind the veil of my art and say if the public doesn’t like it or doesn’t understand it, well, then they are stupid (and again let’s not be stupid). I must connect with my audience and communicate. Everyday I research, problem-solve, as well as create art. Everyday I learn something new, often in an industry I’ve never worked with before. This is why I love design.I’m so excited, that events like the Teen Fair exist. Because of this, design is becoming more and more of an integral part of our daily lives. Perhaps this new generation of kids raised on design will help us both solve how to stop just making stuff and make stuff, without destroying our natural resources, that actually works and looks good. — They will raise the bar.Speaking of raising the bar — while at the event, we ran into MSLK’s former intern, Sieda Johnson. Sieda was an intern here this past summer as part of a Scholars Program through the Cooper Hewitt. Sieda is currently a senior in high school and as MSLK’s youngest intern ever (she could certainly run circles around some of you designers out there with full bachelor degrees.) So watch out, Sieda’s coming.