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Handicapping Design Philadelphia

Last night Design Philadelphia kicked off its 6th annual festival of art, architecture, and design. This year the event boasts over 150 events over 11 days, all aimed, as Design Philadelphia executive director Hilary Jay told me, "to create an atmosphere in this region where the creative spirit can flourish." I should also note that the overwhelming majority of the events over the course of the 11 days are free. "We want the barrier of entrace to be really low," Jay said. "A lot of people don't understand capital-D design and I want to help educate the public about what design means to their everyday lives." I'll be visiting Philly in the middle of next week and aim to check out a few events myself; here's what Jay is most looking forward to.

Design Philadelphia Logo copy

1. Dialogue on Designs. There are three speakers who are talking as part of the Dialogues on Design series sponsored by Corian and Jay said that she's "quite excited about the diversity they represent." Furnishings designer Todd Bracher is talking on the 13th at the Marketplace Design Center about his work on user experience; Harry Hambrose of Electronic Ink will be talking on the 12th at the Center for Architecture on business innovation; and "brand therapist" Alina Wheeler will talk about brand strategy on the 14th at the Center for Architecture.

2. Underground Philadelphia. On October 9th a handful of design videographers will install their work as an exploration of the city's underground transit infrastructure. "I love the idea of repurposing space," Jay said. "You'll see that when you're underground this doesn't just have to be a long tunnel."

3. A Short, Natural History of Six Creative Ideas. On the 14th six design pros from Digitas Health will engage in a Pecha Kucha style presentation to show the unexpected thinking behind their ideas. "I think that the guys at Digitas Health are really opening up the idea of design thinking, and that's not happening fast enough. Everyone is so quick to court IDEO, as if they're the only ones with any ideas." Check out the ideas up for discussion at Digitas Health in the Wanamaker Building at Penn Square East.

Design Philadelphia Matter poster
4. I'll add in the one that I'm most excited for: a screening of the documentary The Visual Language of Herbert Matter. It's free and runs from 7:45 to 9:15 at the Bossone Research Center at Drexel University in the Mitchell Auditorium. You'll likely spot me there, marveling (again!) at Swiss graphic design.

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