Jie Lian, AI’s interactive designer and a Maryland Institute, College of Art alum, returned to MICA yesterday evening to attend a lecture by the well-known brand expert Brian Collins.  Brian is Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of COLLINS: a laboratory for innovative and transformative design, where teams of artists, writers, architects, technologists and strategists collaborate with their clients, as they put it, “to invent the future.”

We enjoyed touring through some of the past COLLINS projects that he discussed in his presentation:
Collins used the “space race” in the 1960s, the current war in Iraq, and issues surround global warming — including an argument for why drinking Fiji water is absurd when you consider it’s carbon footprint — to suggest that our culture and economy is in desperate need of transformative thinking that will shift us away from a “packaged” view of the world.  He was a very interesting speaker.

Perhaps more importantly for AI, he had some suggestions about how to resist packaged thinking, as well, as a young, creative professional.  He said:

  1. Learn as much as you can in your 20s and early 30s, with the goal of becoming an encyclopedia of information.
  2. Do what you do for love, not money.
  3. Work from nine to five if you want to a  job; work from nine to twelve if you want to make a difference.
  4. You will never produce anything worthy until you have worked over 10,000 hours, unless you are that rare genius on the level of Picasso.
MICA’s visiting artists series is about “saving the world with design.” Brian closed by saying that every answer to a “why” question can be categorized as either grievance or hope, and a designer’s job — we think really any passionate, creative person’s job — is to visualize hope.  Brian Collin came across as smart, knowledgeable, angry, and full of hope for the future.  He certainly left us with lots to think about.