In the final instalment of this four-part series, Aaron Legaspi shares key ideas and personal reflections from his favourite talk at the recent DesignThinkers Conference.
Hosted by the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD), the event brought together thought leaders in visual communication, creative processes and strategic design thinking.
Ricardo Crespo asks, “Why Are You?”
As a first time attendee at a design related conference my experience at Design Thinkers was both informative and inspirational. Over the span of two days, four of us from Myplanet attended lectures, sessions, and tutorials related to a range of design specific disciplines. While many sessions were brief and lacked detail around specific areas in their process, there were a handful of talks that delivered high impact and they definitely made the conference worthwhile.
In between sessions, the Myplanet team spent the majority of our time reflecting on each of the talks. We spent even more time trying to figure out where each talk was being hosted due to the enormous amount of changes to the conference schedule, which was kind of a headache. Out of the talks given, my favourites were, ‘Designing Across Multiple Platforms’ by James Griffin and most notably, ‘Why Are You?’ by Ricardo Crespo. Ricardo’s talk was definitely the best talk delivered at Design Thinkers in terms of motivation, inspiration, and engagement. His speech captivated the entire audience - myself included. To provide a bit of background, Ricardo is CCO with th13teen in Los Angeles. Most recently, he was SVP, Global Creative Chief, at 20th Century Fox Film. Prior to joining 20th, he held executive leadership positions including as Worldwide Chief Creative at Mattel. His talk focuses on the importance of projecting yourself consistently and holistically as a creative brand. Crespo discussed the idea of understanding what it is we specialize in, or more precisely, what is the single thing we do best and why? He referred to this very thing as our DNA / Human Default. Ricardo believes our DNA / Default develops over many years of practice. Additionally, he believes your DNA / Default is analogous to the promise you make as a professional in any discipline.
Ricardo also explored the significance of looking beyond our function, and how we need to understand the desired experience of our clients, our customers, and our users, in order to produce effective designs. An example can be seen in the image above. He demonstrates how he was able to pinpoint his audience, understand their desired experience and design for it. He did just that. I might add that he achieved it in a very clever way. What’s seen in the image is an ad for Hot Wheels that showcases a sleeping dog with two books positioned like a pair of connecting ramps, with no text, description or logo to give readers any context. Crespo communicates that kids would be thrilled about the infinite number of ways they can launch their Hot Wheels toy off of the books. The execution of his idea was flawless.
Unlike the other talks given at Design Thinkers, Ricardo spent less time talking about process and strategy. Instead he did an excellent job of empowering his audience and leaving them with a set of guiding principles to succeed as a young creative professional. As a young designer myself, he quickly caught my attention and never let it go.
Overall, I thought the conference was an excellent way for gaining insight into other firm’s design practices and the success that follows. Initially I was excited to attend talks that directly aid or benefit the kind of work we do here at myplanet however; I did find that there weren’t enough about building digital products or user experience - two of the things we do best at Myplanet. Thankfully I was one of many people who were fortunate enough to see Ricardo Crespo and James Griffin speak; two of the talks which made the conference both memorable and worthwhile.