Quite a few times a year I am asked to make presentations on various aspects of the design business to education or business groups around the country. This past week I was invited to make two presentations in Spokane, WA. The flight up to Spokane, on Tuesday evening, was beautiful. The plane left Portland on a crystal clear day and flew up between Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams - with St. Helens putting on a little show with a steam plume. I was surprised at the size of Spokane as we arrived in the city. I hadn't been in the area since I was a teenager and it's grown just a bit.
Spokane Advertising Federation President Dean Davis picked me up at the airport and delivered me to the beautiful Spokane Athletic Club - my home for the night. After getting settled I went for a walk around the vibrant downtown area; checking out the Spokane Falls and the historic Davenport Hotel. Back at the athletic club I took a quick steam bath to clear my allergy-stuffed head, grabbed an incredible burger in the bar and crashed for the night.
Bright and early I was picked up and driven to the Spokane Falls Community College campus. Design instructor Greg Stiles gave me a complete tour of the impressive design department facilities, showed me examples of great student work, and prepared me for my presentation. In addition to Spokane Falls design students, I was speaking to students from the Eastern Washington University Visual Communication Design program. It was pleasure to meet Assistant Professor Mindy Breen, who was responsible for writing the grant to cover my visit, and I enjoyed learning more from her (and department instructor Tom Couraud) about the EWU program. Hopefully I will be able to check out their facilities in person in the future.
The topic of my discussion was Designing in my Underwear: Briefs on a career, the original vetoed title proposal for my book The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success. I shared anecdotes about my career, online resources of value to students beginning their careers, portfolio suggestions for new designers and answered numerous questions posed by the attentive audience. Greg Stiles told me he was especially pleased when I told the students "As you leave school behind, the door of that learning experience will hit you in the ass and your actual design education will begin."
Then it was off to my next presentation at the stunning Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture. I wish I'd had time to check out the entire museum and its exhibits. After grabbing a quick sandwich, it was time to speak to the members of the Spokane Advertising Federation. My topic, Tooting Your Own Horn, was probably a refresher course for many of the attendees - but I gave it that "it's better to be a smart ass, than a dumb ass" spin. I really enjoyed the time spent with the group and met some great people.
Following the luncheon presentation, group president and professional photographer, Dean Davis (you really should check out his work) got to "babysit" me for a couple hours before I jetted back to Portland. He took me to his wonderful commerical condo space in a renovated brick produce warehouse. The studio was in a bit of turmoil as it was becoming a gallery for an exhibition of "tramp art" sculptures and installations by Spokane artist Tim Lord. Dean and I escaped the studio and went to scout a location for his photo shoot the next day of pollinating red oak trees (not that I really needed a good dose of pollen). It was a great opportunity to see more of Spokane and enjoy the warm spring day.
When we returned to his studio, Dean took me upstairs to the offices of Klündt Hosmer Design - where his very talented spouse, designer Judy Heggem-Davis, happens to work. (By the way, "Happy Birthday" Judy!). I had the opportunity to meet most of the Klündt Hosmer gang, including principles Rick Hosmer and Darin Klündt. Darin was responsible for me speaking in Spokane. He recommended me after having seen me speak at the 2005 HOW Design Conference. Thanks to everyone at Klündt Hosmer for making me feel so welcome, for the copy of your new direct mail piece and for the popsicle!
Back downstairs in his studio, Dean shared some of one of his 40th birthday bottles of wine with me and then it was off to the airport. My visit to Spokane was just about 24 hours. It seemed much longer as so much was packed into the limited stay. I look forward to returning again - and now have many reasons to do so. Thanks to everyone who made my visit so enjoyable. Special thanks to Greg Stiles, Mindy Breen and Dean Davis for their efforts in putting together my Spokane adventure.
Spokane Falls photo ©1997-present, Spokane Community College
© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives