The AIGA 100 Show

I was kinda hoping that the official photographer's pictures would go up by now so I could post proof of both of us at the event, but alas. We'll make due with our meager pictorial offering. 

Friday Night, I attended the AIGA 100 Show Gala and Benefit in SLC on the arm of the very talented Graphic Designer William McCrery.

What the heck is AIGA, you might ask?
Why, it's the American Institute of Graphic Arts (thanks for asking). But no Graphic Designer would call this super-group something as incredibly drab as the American Institute of Graphic Arts. And anyway, AIGA is far more fun to say. Try it.

AIGA is a nation-wide community of professional Graphic Designers. Think SAG for actors.

And this last Friday was the AIGA Salt Lake City chapter's annual 100 Show.

What the heck is a 100 Show, you might ask?
Long answer: The Graphic Design community rallies to submit the years 100 best design pieces for careful consideration by the selected judges (this year, in New York). The judges choose 10 pieces. The creators of said 10 pieces are awarded the coveted Copper ingot award the night of the gala.
Short answer: one heckuva party!

Think Oscars for actors. But less corrupt.

This year's gala was held at the incredibly cool Salt Lake City library. If you're into libraries at all, this one is a must-see.

We pulled into the basement parking, and Bill rolled down the window to ask a passerby if he knew where in the library the event was. The man waved Bill off with a snort and said, "It's in the library, that's all I know," and bustled his way to the garage elevator, clearly too harried to be bothered by anyone driving a minivan. Even one as cool as ours (oh, rental, how I will miss you!).

"Maybe he's presenting," I said, and we decided to watch for our very important parking garage buddy at the gala. "He's probably the president of something, and you just ticked him off." I said.

"See?" Bill said. "Networking already!"

Standing in line...

Turns out the gentleman in front of us with all the awesome hair was one of the evenings sponsors. Thanks, man!

And here a random passerby queries the bouncer AIGA representative about the event. This is the part where he says, "Well, yes, you could attend the event - tickets for non-AIGA-members are $45, and can be purchased -"
And this is the part where the passerby coughs politely and walks away.

Once inside, the long lobby area was set with black-clothed tables that stretched from end to end and showcased a lot of the work that was up for consideration. I love seeing how Graphic Design has no boundaries. From company identity (logo, business cars, etc.) to packaging (there was a box designed to house really cool headphones there that was going for around $150 at the silent auction when we went through. We met the designer, and he told us that he just returned from a 2 month job in New York designing the next box for that company. There would only be 500 in existence.) to toys, to greeting cards, to architecture, to screen print art, to pins.

A small sampling of what was featured:

 You can see the 100 pieces that were submitted for consideration here.

Schmoozing (next year, sunglasses!)...

...with the likes o' them:

I loved how there were people in formal dress shaking hands with people in jeans and t-shirts.

When you were admitted past the bouncers greeters, you were given a ticket for a drink. We discovered to our immense delight that the drink ticket was for one alcohol drink on the house, and that non-alcoholic drinks were free all night long. So we tried one of everything, and kept our ticket as a souvenir (we thought about gifting them to drinking guests, but then decided we'd rather encourage artistic liberation through other means).

They had a grapefruit apricot beverage with a fresh mint sprig that I lie awake at night thinking about.

Besides, the Drink Guys were incredibly charming.

They had water in tall, square glass bottles (no tap water, here, ma'am. We're professionals!) and many flavors of Italian sodas. I asked the Drink Guy if I could mix flavors, and he gave me a puzzled expression and said, "sure." My guess is that the Italian sodas were so delicious, blending them was probably some kind of an insult. "I like living on the edge!" I offered by way of explanation. He grinned at me as he finished making a gorgeous alcoholic beverage for the stilletto'd gal beside me, and I tried not to laugh at my vanilla ice-cream version of 'the edge'.

"For the lady living on the edge," the Drink Guy said with a slight bow as he handed me my insulting beverage. It was a cranberry tangerine blend that made me feel sorry for all the boring old martini drinkers present.

Much later in the evening (once he deemed it safe to venture back to the Drink Table after my 'edge' comment), Bill tried a pomegranate orange.

I'm telling you. Mixing them is the way to go.

If you thought the Drink Guys were something, you should see the gourmet buffet!

They had macaroons, and my guess is that I've only had counterfeit macaroons in life to this point, because I've never tasted anything like them. Bill really enjoyed a sweet-potato cake beef minon offering. The server carefully placed the golden, flaky cake on your plate, and then carefully placed two perfectly sized pieces of the beef on top. It was beautiful and elegant. Bill said it was incredible. I, unfortunately, don't care for sweet potatoes, so it was a lost cause on me. But the macaroons!

We bid in the silent auction. We hoped to win this Leila Bell screenprint (for Daphne! was the excuse):

But were outbid by three lousy dollars!

Instead, we took home a tin of charming pins!

My favorites are the "white space" and the "I draw pictures all day". 

Pictured behind the pins is all the swag we took home. Lots of paper products (the sponsors were largely paper companies vying for business), and a really neat box of color keys designed to help you determine the true color of an ink when printed, because looking at a color on your computer screen can be so unreliable. 

The awards ceremony was very interesting. The 10 winners well deserving. Bill's professor Ray Elder presented one of the awards.

The man we met in the parking garage didn't present or win anything. We still wonder what his story is. Perhaps he was stressed because he was one of those mentioned by way of a joke that had been attending for 9 years and still had not won an Ingot? Perhaps he's an incredibly wealthy benefactor who was scouting the talent for his next prodige? 

Perhaps he didn't get a macaroon?