Lutsen Design Conference Posters
First MGDA Design Conference at Lutsen (1980)
Regional design conferences were rare in 1980 when the Minnesota Graphic Designers Association (MGDA) board of directors organized the Lutsen Design Conference, predecessor of Design Camp, in 1980. The idea of going to one of Minnesota’s most beautiful resorts on the north shore of Lake Superior for a three-day weekend to discuss timely design topics met with overwhelming approval from the MGDA membership.
“Graphic Design in Transition” was the theme. Speakers RitaSue Siegel, Robert Vogele, Ken Carbone, and Jerry Allen, and the 70 conference participants discussed changes in technology and design thinking, the growing awareness of strategic design among clients, the need for designers to become more businesslike, and the need for design professionals to anticipate the future.
Jerry Allen’s practical advice on defining a client’s problem and finding creative solutions, Robert Vogele and RitaSue Siegel’s pleas for more professionalism, and Ken Carbone’s innovative ideas about signage sparked lots of lively discussion.
After the conference, MGDA President and Design Conference chairman Tim Larsen received a letter from Heather Soladay of Design Group in Des Moines, Iowa. Her comments reflect her enthusiasm and appreciation for this pioneering conference. “… the Lutsen Design Conference is certain to be confused with the Aspen Design Conference in its excellence and professional organization. Lutsen easily matched Aspen … it drew significant speakers, intelligent and intellectual participants, an aura of compatibility among graphic designers, and one heck of a lot of rain!”