By Egotist / /
I remember the first time I attended an AIGA Saint Louis board meeting. I had no idea what to expect. Admittedly, I was a little nervous. I imagined the room would be filled with people uniformed in black turtlenecks and dark-rimmed glasses. Instead, there was talk of budgets and schedules and planning the next design-related event for the St. Louis creative community.
I can’t remember exactly how the conversation started. I was probably giving my usual “What’s the point of any of this?” spiel, when a smart and talented young designer named Amanda Yates said something that would haunt me. What she said has been burnt into my brain since, and I’ve used it as a compass to guide a lot of what I do personally and professionally.
Amanda said, “We need to show that St. Louis is a viable place to have a career in design.”
Amanda probably doesn’t remember saying this, and I’m sure she didn’t realize it would stick with me as much as it did, but it has, and I’m grateful.
It seems like every month I’m saying goodbye to some awesome creative person who’s been hired away by a company on a coast. It’s sad. I worry our creative market is shrinking, and that creativity and design are the last things our city will be in the news for.
I’m not judging those people, by the way. They’re great people, and I wish them the best. I genuinely mean that.
But to the creatives that are here: we need to continue supporting our community. We need to show that St. Louis is a viable place to have a career in design.
St. Louis ADDY Week is next week, brought to you by the dedicated people of St. Louis AdClub, not AIGA (just to clarify), and I’m excited about it. My company isn’t going to win a bunch of awards, and we’re not speaking on any panels, but I’m excited because it’s a chance for all of us to step out of our respective agency caves and get together. It’s a chance to talk about all the things we have in common, good and bad – new business and not knowing where it’s coming from, project management theories, not having time for ideas, competitors we loathe and tiny budgets.
You might argue that awards are bullshit, and the agency model is dead. Maybe. But to me, ADDY Week isn’t about awards. It’s not really even about advertising anymore. It’s about celebrating the wonderful and endlessly frustrating living we all make selling our ideas and imagination, and letting people know that it can be done in St. Louis.
Mike Spakowski is an enthusiastic young man and spends his days at Atomicdust.