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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 -
AIGA Medal, design educators, students
Learn more about the jurors’ thoughts on this 2013 “Justified” selection.
Section: Why Design -
What started as an enthusiasm for the Thundercats cartoon as a
kid grew into a full-blown love affair with illustration after Mike
Anderson took art classes at the University of Oklahoma. Following a
stint at Funnel Design Group in Oklahoma City, he decided to strike out
on his own back home in Edmond, OK, where he uses drawing in his work as
a way to solve problems.
Section: Inspiration -
illustration, technology, emerging designers
Many of the best brands that have emerged from our work with designers focus on names that combine strong linguistic clues with the right amount of cleverness and personality. So how can you guide your team to develop a name with true design and branding potential? And what about the URL?
Section: Tools and Resources
College is only the beginning. Use your college years to learn broadly
and build a portfolio that opens minds and doors. Ask your professors to
your work; go beyond what’s required...
Section: Inspiration -
mentoring, advice, students
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