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Champion of explication through design and design conference
With the publication of his first book in 1962, at the age of
26, Richard Saul Wurman identified the singular passion of his
life: that of making information understandable both for himself
and others. Since then he has gone on to author, design and publish
a further 81 books, each about a subject or idea that he personally
had difficulty understanding.
The hugely popular TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design)
conferences that Wurman created and chaired from1984 until 2002
provided a high profile and vibrant forum for the exchange of ideas
between members of the design community and business leaders.
Wurman was trained in architecture at the University of
Pennsylvania, earning his graduate degree in 1959. He spent the
next 13 years in Philadelphia and during this time cultivated a
long-lasting friendship with architect Louis I. Kahn.
Early in his career he coined the term “information architect”
and recalibrated his professional activity accordingly. In 1981 he
founded Access Press in Los Angeles and created a series of travel
guides organized by neighborhood and with information oriented
around a tourist's real needs. He applied the same principles to
further Access guides about sports events, and other complex topics
such as finance and healthcare. In 1987 he formed The Understanding
Business in San Francisco and continued his mission to make things
understandable with new formats for telephone books, road atlases,
and airline guides. An overview of the motivating principles for
these projects can be found in his best-selling book,
Information Anxiety, published in 1989, (and then again in
2000 with Information Anxiety2).
In addition to publishing Wurman uses the conference format to
explore and extend his ideas. He chaired the International Design
Conference in Aspen in 1972, the first Federal Design Assembly in
1973, followed by the National AIA Convention in 1976.
The TED conferences that Wurman created and chaired from1984
until 2002 did much to initiate and nurture improved relations
between the design community and business leaders. In 2001 he sold
the TED conferences to The Sapling Foundation but continues to
produce TEDMED conferences.
Among the commendations Wurman has received are the Chrysler
Design Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a lifetime achievement
award from the Pacific Design Center. In 1994 Wurman was named a
fellow of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and he
has been awarded three honorary doctorates.
“TED itself is a triumph of information design. The meticulously
tended social dynamic of the conference is the crowning achievement
of a talented man—one who realized long ago that the presentation
of information can be more important than the information
—Gary Wolf, “The Wurmanizer,” Wired, February 2000
The distinguished AIGA Medal is awarded to individuals in recognition of their exceptional achievements in the field of design.
Section: Inspiration -
Is the government using graphic design to incite panic for political profit? Vienne looks at the color-coded alert system and sees red. Milton Glaser says “give puce a chance.”
Section: Tools and Resources -
information design, Voice, safety
Read more at designobserver.com
To celebrate their partnership of more than 50 years, Massimo Vignelli has created a freely accessible book dedicated to the work of his wife Lella. The 96-page PDF begins by observing a longstanding lack of appreciation for women architects and designers working with husbands or partners. The Vignellis' design work has spanned graphics, furniture, products, exhibitions and showroom interiors. They became AIGA Medalists in 1982.
Section: Inspiration -
book design, environmental design, exhibition design, graphic design, identity design, product design, corporate design, Celebration
Michael Mabry is recognized with a 2014 AIGA Medal for expertly melding design and illustration to create a playful and sophisticated visual language that is highly intuitive and intuitively right.
Section: Inspiration -
advertising, illustration, communication design, identity design, packaging, AIGA Medal, identity system, letterpress
AIGA is proposing transformative change to assure a robust and relevant resource for the next generation of designers. AIGA’s board of directors invites your perspective and encourages members to comment and vote on two options for the future.
AIGA Insight, governance, AIGA news
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