Friday, September 16, 2011

AIGA Nebraska: the Reboot Camp “Small Talk” with Robynne Raye (Modern Dog Design Co.)

Robynne Raye photograph by versluis 2011

Reboot Camp with Seattle-based graphic designer Robynne Raye was a three-day design workshop organized by Paul Berkbigler, education director for AIGA Nebraska and hosted by Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska (Phil Schimonitz, graphic design instructor). As Paul said in the promotional materials, “this is an opportunity to meet with one of America’s top designers.” The workshop, which took place from September 15-17, 2011 was team oriented and geared for professional designers, design educators, and students.

At the end of the first day of the workshop Robynne held a “Small Talk” (small group session) with workshop participants and for those just interested. Several students and I made our way to Norfolk to gather for a Q & A with Ms. Raye.

Interestingly, Raye graduated from college with an art education degree, but since teaching jobs were scarce at the time, Robynne turned to graphic design. Near the beginning of the session she stressed that the roots of her company, Modern Dog Design, were in serving non-profit organizations and developing Identity projects. Raye said, “Non-profits have been very good for us because we feel we’re making something of a difference with graphic design by really helping people. However, we’re able to stay in business because of our [loyal] for-profit clients.”

At the end of the session Ellie, a Dordt student, asked Robynne about her design process at Modern Dog (I’m paraphrasing):

I use the Internet – Google. But first we think about the project and then we talk about the project. We look at and study a lot of other designs and images.

We don’t necessarily try to be original — it’s very important that we know the source of every inspirational thing we look at. We’re always aware and know where our ideas have come from. We parody through redrawing, which helps translate a copy either with hand-drawing or the computer into our own unique interpretation.

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