AIGA Lecture Series: Brian Collins

On October 6th, I went to a lecture at Mass Art by Brian Collins (put on by the AIGA Boston).

His design philosophy is that he is not a problem solver but a “problem seeker, telling a story.” I thought that was an interesting and great way to look at design and design problems. He also said that he was influenced by the idea “spirit of the future” ever since he saw a spaceship launched when he was a 9 year old boy.

He has done a lot of work with his firm. He turned an old gas station in LA into a futuristic green material gas station. He worked with an architecture firm to bring the vision to life. They created different mechanisms in the station so rain water would be saved and could water the flowers if there was a drought.

He also spoke of the WE campaign that he created for Al Gore. He couldn’t find a typeface that he liked or that he thought would go with the project so he had his professional typographer (also his friend) create a whole new typeface just for the campaign.

He had other projects that he spoke of, but the one that I thought was the most interesting and influential was his student that took a sad story and turned it into a successful design project that is utilized by Target.

His student’s grandmother was taking multiple prescription drugs and she took her husband’s drugs instead of hers because the labeling on the bottle was hard to read. The bad reaction to the mixed drugs resulted in her grandmother’s death. The student took this horrible story and redesigned medicine bottles so the labels would be clear and easily to read so that people would not take the wrong medicine again. This story was caught on the local news channel and then eventually Target loved the idea and implemented into their store’s pharmacy.

Brian was very inspirational because he made me think that great design can really make a difference. If we think outside the box and really do great research and go above and beyond, design can affect people in a positive way.

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