Friday, May 7, 2010

Nuggets of Wisdom: AIGA Pgh Fellow Awards

Last night was the AIGA Pgh Fellow Awards honoring Rick Landesberg and Dennis Moran for their long commitment and significant contributions to excellence in the field of design. AIGA Pgh President, Greg Gibilisco, in a brief speech before delivering the awards, described Rick and Dennis as design community leaders, mentors and inspirations; in short, motivators.

The event was held at the August Wilson Center... perfect location. It was nice to see a good turnout from the design community and to catch up with all the former/current AIGA board members.

The dialog/chemistry between Rick & Dennis was entertaining and their career/business 'war stories' were both comical and packed with valuable nuggets of wisdom. An added bonus, Ray Werner was the event's moderator.

The complete presentation was recorded and I will post the link when it becomes available. For now, I'm including a few of my favorite quips and -isms that I can remember:
  • Don't work for jerks (RL)
  • Always keep a sharp x-acto knife (RL) ... you'll have to see the video for the whole story
  • Two traits of a design entrepreneur: an inquisitive mind & tenacity (or strong 'ego' as Dennis called it).
  • In this business, we get to learn a little bit about a lot of different stuff. (RL)
  • I've only ever met three real geniuses -- they were all designers. (RW)
  • All the 'true' designers, the real greats of our industry, have been the nicest, most genuine people I've ever met; nice to a fault, a rare-breed. (RL)
  • I miss the illusion of magic. What we (as designers) do used to be highly esteemed for its craftmanship/artistry. Now, there's this idea that anyone who has access to the programs/tools can do what we do. (DM)
  • It's tough having employees in this business. When I was managing a group of designers -- really creative people, but with very strong egos (the strengths as weaknesses thing) -- I was the most miserable I've ever been in my career (DM)
  • I was never very employable... I knew very early on that my only option was to be an entrepreneur (DM)
  • My adaptation of the Pocket Fisherman, the Pocket Portfolio, was the best sales pitch tool I've ever had. It's so compact and portable that I would bring it with me on the old 'three-martini' lunch meetings. (DM)
Feel free to add your favorite quotes (or your corrections to the ones I've posted:) in the comments.


  1. Thanks to Jenny Pearson for the following quotes that I forgot:

    - Dennis' dad told him, "My telephone calls every other telephone and my typewriter has the same number of keys as everyone else's."
    - Nothing happens until someone gets excited. (RW)
    - Rick's dad also told him, while teaching him to use a camera, 'If it resists, don't force it.'
    - I think Rick said, always use a fresh x-acto blade.

  2. I can't believe I had to miss this...I can't wait to see the recorded footage. Great post!

    – Daniel