Eric Madsen—designer, artist, illustrator, calligrapher, AIGA leader, and mentor extraordinaire—invited guests to submit, in advance, their top design career-related questions for his consideration. He then inspired us with his responses, drawn from both an experiential and metaphorical perspective, during the December 12 lunchtime discussion at International Market Square.

We asked:

  • What are the most marketable attributes for a job-seeking designer?
  • What have been your greatest professional challenges?
  • What is the best advice you have received in your career?
  • What are the most important decisions you’ve made as a design practitioner?
  • What type of work are you doing today?

Eric’s answers ranged from Scandinavian debate team tactics to one of his favorite sayings from Buddha, as well as his twice-yearly practice of making “The List” and the daily pursuit of his three muses.

In closing, Eric gave each of us a boxed set of his printed notecards, which feature his detailed tribute in graphite and watercolor to his late father-in-law Carlyle’s collection of old tools.

And that favorite saying from Buddha? “Your work is to discover your work, and then, with all your heart, give yourself to it.”



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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.