Design Conversations Series, fueled by AIGA Minnesota members, contributes over $6,000 to The BrandLab non-profit organization

MINNEAPOLIS, MN — November 12, 2010 — The Minnesota chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design, in partnership with W Minneapolis–the Foshay and Christina Jackson, Marketing Director for Azul 7, today announced that a total of over $6,000 was contributed to The BrandLab, the combined total of all proceeds from ticket sales for Design Conversations, a trio of autumn events hosted by W Minneapolis–The Foshay.

Design Conversations, created and underwritten by W Minneapolis–The Foshay and produced by Christina Jackson, is an informal lecture series featuring internationally recognized design experts. In 2010, its inaugural year, Design Conversations featured Kit Hinrichs with Delphine Hirasuna; Gael Towey with Stephen Doyle; and James Victore with Debbie Millman. AIGA Minnesota, the fourth-largest chapter in the nation, provided promotional and tactical support for the event series, which drew a strong audience from AIGA members.

“Design Conversations connected the Twin Cities creative community with national design leaders in a setting more like a living room than a lecture hall,” said Joe Isaak, Director of Communications for AIGA Minnesota. “The fact that we could tie this event series to The BrandLab and both promote and raise funds for the nonprofit organization made it even more meaningful.”

The BrandLab was established to create opportunities in the marketing industry for students with diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. By placing students in internship positions with leading design and marketing firms, The BrandLab introduces them to opportunities and experiences that may not otherwise be available to them.

“If our industry is to reflect the diversity of the world around us, we need organizations like The BrandLab to help close the loop,” said Seth Johnson, President of AIGA Minnesota. “The BrandLab introduces marketing, advertising, and design firms to student interns outside our traditional circle of art schools and marketing programs, and we in turn get to introduce them to what our profession has to offer. It’s win-win.”

The BrandLab will use proceeds from the Design Conversations series to further its efforts, including outreach programs to local Twin Cities schools, promoting the program to local firms that offer internship programs, and providing scholarships for students pursuing post-secondary education.

About The BrandLab

John Olson started The BrandLab, a 501-c3 nonprofit organization, as a response to the lack of diversity in the advertising and marketing industry. The program was first piloted in a single classroom at South High School in Minneapolis. In 2010–2011 school year, the program is targeting twelve classrooms in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding Metro. The program is supported by Target, General Mills, and OLSON and relies on both staff and volunteers to develop its semester-long curriculum. For more information, please visit

About W Minneapolis–The Foshay

W Minneapolis–The Foshay, a hotel located in downtown Minneapolis, marries the W’s vibrant, modern style with the historic Foshay Tower and its iconic Art Deco architecture. The hotel features 230 luxury guest rooms, including 18 suites, and provides guests with city views, expansive meeting space, Manny’s Steakhouse, two bars—including Prohibition, a skybar on the hotel’s 27th floor—a museum showcasing the Foshay Tower’s colorful history, plus the Twin Cities’ only public observation deck. For more information, please visit

About AIGA Minnesota

AIGA Minnesota is the state’s primary resource for professional development and excellence in design and one of the largest design-focused professional associations in the nation. Its mission is to advance designing as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force. It encourages the exchange of ideas and information among professionals involved in design and other related fields. For more information, please visit

Contact Leadership

Emily McLaughlin
Emily McLaughlin
Director of Communications
Emily is a graphic designer and creative director based in Saint Paul, MN. She passionate about the potential for design to cultivate collaboration and cleave opportunities. As Communications Director of AIGA Minnesota, her emphasis is on supporting and engaging the design community while kindling new connections.