Design Indaba 09 || Day 1 || Adamsmorioka

I was lucky enough to be allowed to attend the 2009 Design Indaba – and here is the first in series of posts to share what I heard and saw.

Before I get to the Indaba itself – I must revel in the goodies that came with the conference bag:


I spent the rest of the conference filling that blank  book with notes and drawings.

Another small pleasure was  walking to the International Convention Centre on an unusually misty Cape Town morning :



First up were Sean Adams and Noreen Morioka from the Los Angeles design  company “Adamsmorioka”.


They shared what they had learnt as young designers making themselves known in LA.  “Fun and Fear” was the theme of the talk.  Sean Adams spoke about Fear:


And Noreen Morioka about Fun.  It was a comic two hander, with Sean the straight man and Noreen the comedian playing on Asian stereotypes:


A strong thread  in their talk the importance of confidence.  The need to pretend to be successful to convince others that you are successful.  Some quotes  that stood out for me were –

“The world belongs to you as much as to the next fellow”

“Try not to be scared of people not liking you – just try liking them”

“No risk it, no biscuit”

A particularly interesting process they shared was the poster design for Robert Redford’s  Sundance Film Festival.   After a long and fruitless process of skipping from idea to idea with increasingly desperate results, Robert Redford asked them – “what would you do if I was not involved”.  This was a turning point.  Answering the question- ” if it were just me, what would I do” – led them to the break through concept, which was  “tell the story in just one frame.”

They produced a series of posters which told famous stories such as Moby Dick, Icarus or Newton figuring out gravity, and in each case the critical element was a reel of film, like this image of William Tell:


Or this particularly beautiful one of Icarus.  They also showed us a theatrical trailer based on the Icarus image which was particularly effective.


Another thread, which was to become an important theme in almost all the presentations at the Indaba was that of working for love, with people you like.  “Its not about competition”.

I cant share all the great, irreverent projects that they showed us – but you can watch some podcasts of them here.

They left us with this message:

“Dont take yourself so seriously – we are all the same.”

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