John Maeda, President of RISD gave one of the better design focused presentations at GigaOm Roadmap.
One area that John focused on is how he brought Paul Rand to MIT to present.
Who is Paul Rand?
PAUL RAND (BORN PERETZ ROSENBAUM, AUGUST 15, 1914 – NOVEMBER 26, 1996) was a well-known American graphic designer, best known for his corporate logo designs. Rand was educated at the Pratt Institute (1929-1932), the Parsons School of Design (1932-1933), and the Art Students League (1933-1934). He was one of the originators of the Swiss Style of graphic design. From 1956 to 1969, and beginning again in 1974, Rand taught design at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Rand was inducted into the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 1972. He designed many posters and corporate identities, including the logos for IBM, UPS and ABC. Rand died of cancer in 1996.
Here is what John wrote about Paul Rand's visit and the parts he focused on.
It is ironic that 8 years later, I would return to MITas a professor of design, and that I would host a lecture by Paul Rand at MIT, which I did on November 14 of last year. The time for the lecture was set at 10am. For those familiar with how an American university works, an early lecture is very rare because students usually study late into the night and are less apt to attend events in the morning. But Rand insisted that he speak in the morning. He said, "If someone isn't willing to wake up to hear me to speak, I don't want to speak to them!"
The auditorium was packed beyond capacity with people from all over New England, some waking up as early as 5am to arrive in time for the lecture. The Director of the Media Lab, Professor Nicholas Negroponte, later remarked that during all his career at MIT he had never seen such an overwhelming audience for a morning lecture. Although conditions in the lecture hall were crowded, there was complete silence during the lecture as everyone's attention was completely focused on Rand.
The presentation was a question answer format.
JM: "What is design?"
"Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple defintions, there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that's why it is so complicated."
What is bad design?
"What is the difference between 'good' design and 'bad' design?"
"A bad design is irrelevant. It is superficial, pretentious, ... basically like all the stuff you see out there today."
And, here is part that will resonate with some of you who love design.
"Most of your designs have lasted for several decades, what would you say is your secret?"
"Keeping it simple. Being honest, I mean, completely objective about your work. Working very hard at it."