A Look Back: An Evening with Seth Johnson

AIGA Jacksonville heard from one of AIGA’s most influential chapter presidents Thursday, November 3 at Keiser University. Seth Johnson, president of AIGA Minnesota (a chapter with more than 1,400 members), capitalizes on figuring out what his clients need to say, how they need to say it and who they need to say it to. He is a teacher and advocate for volunteer work, and founded MNtor Program, which fertilizes the career growth and professional success of emerging graphic designers.

His talk, “I Didn’t Know Sh!t … Until I Started Working,” inspired all in attendance and proved that he is a talented communicator and strategist. Couldn’t make it? Check out these six takeaways from the evening:

  1. Tell your client what you think they need—it’s your job.
    Seth shared an example of how he turned an invitation into a gift for a private restaurant party that turned out to be a big success. Without his input, the client would not have had invitations, and the party would not have met expectations. A direct mail piece ended up boosting profits by 85%.
  2. Make your own work.
    Anything in life can be designed well. If you are a student, don’t sit around waiting for projects to be assigned. Make your own work for yourself.
  3. Make things better.
    It’s not only about making things prettier or stylish, it’s all about function, function, function. Design thinking begins with functionality. Don’t frustrate your customers or viewers, make things easier by starting with this concept.
  4. Do a lot with a little.
    Designing on a budget is not always fun, but it is a challenge that designers will no doubt encounter at some point. Stretch your client’s money by making it work for them and their purposes, not against them.
  5. Shut up and listen.
    This serves as a humble reminder that your client knows what they are talking about. As a designer and problem solver, you need to listen to them to better understand their needs.
  6. Always be curious, never be satisfied.
    Being satisfied leads to ignorance and laziness. A designer/thinker who is constantly asking, “Why?” will ultimately be more successful.

Thanks to everyone who came out to hear Seth. We hope to see you at our upcoming events!

~ Samantha, AIJax Student Chapter President

(photography by Jim Ward)

By aigajacksonville
Published November 10, 2011