Past Design Events

AIGA Maine hosts many design events focused on bringing the design community together to hear industry speakers, host workshops and, of course, socialize.

lecture: draplin design co.’s “pretty much everything” book tour
Aaron Draplin, Draplin Design Co.

March 20, 2017 · One Longfellow Square

We got a book deal! That mythical call up to the big leagues. Hear the harrowing account of making our first book. From the contracts to the scheming, from the pagination to the design, from the tears to the nightmares… we’ll share what it’s like to cram your whole half-wit career into 256 pages. Learn about how things can get weird, and yet, be applied to the smallest of projects or that once-in-a-lifetime book project we still can’t believe we pulled off. And yes, the book has typos, and so does life. We’ll show examples of both from the making of Pretty Much Everything. Print’s not dead! Let this talk be proof. The entire presentation is dipped in Pantone Orange 021.

The DDC operates under a very simple mission statement: “Work hard. Do good work. For good people.”

Founded in 2004 by designer Aaron James Draplin, the DDC has been lucky enough to work for interesting, creative, progressive people who they can now consider close friends: Ride Snowboards, Patagonia, Field & Stream, Nike, Sub Pop Records, Gnu Snowboards, Target—and the list goes on. If you’ve ever used a Field Notes notebook, you’ve used a DDC creation.

workshop: behind the scenes with the ddc
Aaron Draplin, Draplin Design Co.

March 20, 2017 · The VIA Agency

Get the inside scoop with Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co. and learn what goes on behind the scenes! We’ll give an in-depth walk through of some of our projects and answer questions in a more intimate setting. Tips, tricks, tales and threats from our questionable existence! Questions answered. Riddles solved. Enigmas discussed. Don’t miss out!

Hosted by The VIA Agency

lecture: graphic practices
Elvira Barriga, Creative Director, Local Projects

February 6, 2017 · Osher Hall, Maine College of Art

Local Projects is a ground-breaking NYC design firm that integrates architecture and digital media into immersive, content-rich experiences for clients such as The National September 11 Museum, StoryCorps, and Target.

Local Projects’ Elvira Barriga will share her observations as a creative director and designer. From coding in her bedroom as a teenager, to becoming the youngest partner at Blotto, the renowned graphic design studio in Berlin, and leading the Brands & Environments team at Bruce Mau Design in Toronto, Elle’s path has been far from a straight line. In this talk, she looks back at a career living on both sides of the Atlantic, designing across disciplines, and figuring out what it means to be a creative leader.

Sponsored by Maine College of Art


October 22, 2016 · Thompson’s Point

It’s a pumpkin hackathon.
CARVE is a good-natured high speed pumpkin carving challenge brought to you by AIGA Maine. Teams of carvers have one hour to cut, hack and assemble the best pumpkin creations, as chosen by our judges and public votes. Finished pumpkins are auctioned to the public to support AIGA Maine’s educational programs. The goal of CARVE is to gather the local creative community, celebrate fall, and support AIGA Maine’s professional development and mentorship programs.

Sponsored by The Bar Association, Bissell Brothers, Thompson’s Point, Garbage to Garden, Table 6 Designs, Rising Tide Brewing

Drew Hodges: How I Sold Out—and Cashed In—Designing Posters for a Living

September 14, 2016 · Osher Hall, Maine College of Art

An intentionally provocative lecture describing how Drew’s firm, SpotCo, (a NYC based design studio turned entertainment advertising agency) went from doing small time logo design to branding for 9 Pulitzer prize winners and selling 30 million dollars worth of tickets to some of Broadway’s biggest shows.

Sponsored by Maine College of Art

Web & App Design: An Adobe Workshop

May 11, 2016 · Osher Hall, Maine College of Art

Best practices for web and app design, and prototyping using Adobe XD
Experience matters. People decide within seconds whether your app or website is useful and engaging. Crafting a great user experience requires more than just visual design. Adobe XD (Experience Design) is an app for doing it all -­‐ wireframing, visual design, interaction design, prototyping, previewing and sharing. In this session, we’ll discuss web and app design best practices and how prototyping is used today. We’ll show you how to design and prototype a complete experience using the new Adobe XD. Learn tips and tricks to immediately be more productive, creating a great user experience.

Presenter: Brian Wood,
Download the Adobe Responsive Web Design Links reference guide

Design + Print = Impact

January 27, 2016 · Maine Charitable Mechanics Hall

An introductory lecture on design considerations for print, what makes great printing, what makes great paper, and case studies of brands who use print effectively.

Sponsored by J.S. McCarthy Printers and Monadnock Paper

AIGA Maine Holiday Party

December 9, 2015

A holiday-themed mixer and celebration of community and creativity, featuring Oxbow Beers and food from Mami Food Truck.

Sponsored by Knack Factory

Curious About Crowdfunding? A Q&A with Kickstarter

June 24, 2015 · The Bearded Lady’s Jewel Box

With Terry Romero, Food and Crafts Outreach Lead, Kickstarter.

D.W.Pine: Inside the Red Border

April 23, 2015

The Creative Director of TIME Magazine shares an inside look at what makes it onto the cover of TIME, and what doesn’t—and why.

Seth Johnson: I Didn’t Know Sh!t … Until I Started Working

April 1, 2015 · Osher Hall, Maine College of Art

Through case studies and anecdotes, Seth shares several life lessons that are essential for all designers to master but are unlikely to learn in the classroom.

Sponsored by Artists at Work program at Maine College of Art

Seth Johnson: Design at Scale: Ten to Ten Million Users

April 1, 2015 · Gilsland Farm at Maine Audubon

In this workshop, IBMer Seth Johnson introduces you to IBM Design’s approach to design thinking, engaging participants in an series of activities and methodologies that can immediately improve their own design practice.

Sponsored by Key Bank

Douglas Coffin: The Authority of Stone

February 23, 2015 · SPACE Gallery

Letter carver Douglas Coffin reveals how the act of carving can manipulate letterforms and the effect that size and dimension have on letters. Participants try their hand at carving forms in slate.

Sponsored by Maine College of Art and Type Culture

Chip Kidd: Get Your Mind Into the Gutter

May 22, 2014 · Port City Music Hall

An inspiring, entertaining and motivational look inside the career of this legendary book designer. Lecture, cocktail reception and book signing.

Sponsored by Puelle Design and Key Bank, with support from Maine College of Art and J.S. McCarthy Printers
Poster design by Morgan DiPietro
Printing by Arm Factory

Margot Bloomstein: Content Strategy at Work

April 1, 2014 · SPACE Gallery

Real-world strategies for crafting powerful, effective, brand-appropriate communications and getting them to your target audience.

Sponsored by Might & Main and Broadreach Public Relations

If You Build It

March 26, 2014 · SPACE Gallery

IF YOU BUILD IT follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller to rural Bertie County, the poorest in North Carolina, where they work with local high school students to help transform both their community and their lives. Living on credit and grant money and fighting a change-resistant school board, Pilloton and Miller lead their students through a year-long, full-scale design and build project that does much more than just teach basic construction skills: it shows ten teenagers the power of design-thinking to re-invent not just their town but their own sense of what’s possible.

Ethan Marcotte: The Father of Responsive Design

November 22, 2013 · SPACE Gallery

In this session we revisit what we’ve learned about responsive design, and ensure our content, not just our design, is readily accessible to audiences wherever and whenever they are. In doing so, we’ll look at some ways in which our audience reshapes the way we think about our medium, and see where they might be leading us—and the web—next.

Sponsored by iBec Creative, Kevin Brooks Web Development, Portland Webworks

Design is One: Lella & Mossimo Vignelli

October 29, 2013 · SPACE Gallery

Italian-born Massimo and Lella Vignelli are among the world’s most influential designers. Throughout their long career, their motto has been, “If you can’t find it, design it.” The work covers such a broad spectrum that one could say the Vignellis are known by everybody, even those who don’t know their names. From graphics to interiors to products and corporate identities, Design is One brings us into the work and everyday moments of the Vignellis’ world, capturing their intelligence and creativity, as well as their humanity, warmth, and humor.

Aaron Draplin: Tall Tales from a Large Man

May 2, 2013 · One Longfellow Square

Using scientific proof and state-of-the-art multimedia techniques, Aaron James Draplin of the Draplin Design Co. delivers a suckerpunch of a talk that aims to provide bona fide proof of work, the highs and lows of a ferociously independent existence and a couple of tall tales from his so-called career in the cutthroat world of contemporary graphic design.

Poster design by Chris Avantaggio, Live ME

AIGA Maine Holiday Party: Design & Dysfunction

December 4, 2012 · Zero Station

Drinks by Trey Hughes and Nan’l Mieklejohn, music by DJ Mosart.

The Business of Design

May 21, 2012 · Abromson Center, USM

An in-depth afternoon designed to help creative businesses of all sizes run more smoothly, efficiently, and profitably.

Linotype: The Film

April 24, 2012 · SPACE Gallery

Linotype: The Film is a feature-length documentary film centered around the Linotype typecasting machine invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler in 1886.


April 13, 2012 · Hannaford Hall, USM

Using Adobe InDesign and the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite / Adobe MUSE
Under the gun to deliver your designs for print, websites and now iPads? Join AIGA Maine, Friday, April 13 for two in-depth Adobe workshops where you’ll learn how to create websites and iPAD apps with Adobe’s Digital Publishing Creative Suite. Adobe has been hard at work developing new technologies that allow you to design publications for the iPad as easily as if you were laying out a page in InDesign (morning session) and design HTML websites without writing code (afternoon session). Laptops are not necessary. AIGA Maine is proud to offer this intense and practical full-day Adobe workshop to help you gain the digital publishing knowledge and expertise you need as a creative to evolve with technology.

Sponsored by Adobe Systems, Inc.

BoNE Show 2011 Opening Reception

April 6, 2012 · Think Tank

AIGA is bringing the Best of New England (BoNE) Show 2011 – Wicked Problems. Wicked Solutions. – to Portland for the month of April. Join us for the opening reception at Think Tank’s new Congress Street location during the First Friday Artwalk. Come experience the exhibition, mingle with other creative types, and enjoy a glass of wine.


January 24, 2012 · SPACE Gallery

The film is followed by Q&A with Noah Chasin, Assistant Professor at Bard College and Mitchell Rasor of MRLD Landscape Architecture + Design.

snowBALL ’11

December 2, 2011 · Port City Music Hall

Join AIGA Maine, Ad Club, MMA, and MPRC for our annual holiday party. It’s the ONE to attend this year if you’re in the marketing, advertising, design, or creative fields! Live music by The Waiters and hors d’oeuvres by Black Tie Catering, and of course, a cash bar.

Good Design is Good Business: The Elements of Branding

October 7, 2011 · Opening reception | November 11, 2011 · First Friday Opening
Lewis Gallery, Portland Public Library

On view through October and November. Experience the identity work of local creatives that craft bodies of work designed to fit into well-considered brand hierarchies.

The Little Friends of Printmaking

October 24, 2011 · Burnham Lounge, USM Gorham Campus

USM Art Department & Fall 2011 Printmaking Students, with co-sponsorship from AIGAMaine, the professional association for design, and in coordination with Maine College of Art, invites you to an evening lecture by The Little Friends of Printmaking, J W & Melissa Buchanan.

ABSTRACT: The Future of Design in Media Conference

June 10, 2011 · Abromson Center, USM

Six design world stars who have collectively held senior positions at more than 35 leading publications present a conference on the future of design in media. Alice Twemlow moderates a business-focused discussion of design as a driver of innovation (and revenue).

  • Florian Bachleda, Creative Director, Fast Company
  • Dirk Barnett, Creative Director, Newsweek and The Daily Beast
  • Arem Duplessis, Design Director, The New York Times Magazine Group
  • Scott Dadich, VP, Digital Magazine Development, Condé Nast
  • Luke Hayman, Partner, Pentagram
  • Gael Towey, Chief Creative and Editorial Director, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
Visionary sponsor: The Loud Cloud
Sponsors: Pop!Tech, Downeast Magazine, Live Work Portland, VIA Agency, Maine Magazine/Maine Home + Design, Downeast, MaineBiz, University of Southern Maine and Portland Color
View pictures of the event here:

Debbie Millman: Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits

Thursday August 11, 2011 · Osher Hall, Maine College of Art

Over the last year, Sterling Brands’ Debbie Millman has interviewed 20 of the world’s most brilliant and provocative brand leaders, providing an insightful overview of what brand leaders think about brands. Whether you are a designer, marketing manager or CEO you’ll find this presentation an illuminating experience as she reveals the common denominators, the disagreements and the ramifications of the positions brands—and brand leaders—have in our culture and in our lives.

Millman is partner and president of the design division at Sterling Brands – one of the leading brand identity firms in the country. She currently serves as the national president of AIGA and chair of the School of Visual Arts’ master’s program in Branding. She is host of the podcast “Design Matters,” a contributing editor to Print magazine and the author of How To Think Like A Great Graphic Designer (Allworth Press, 2007), The Essential Principles of Graphic Design (Rotovision, 2008), Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Inter section of Life and Design (How Books, 2009) and her latest due out this Fall Brand Thinking and other Noble Pursuits (Skyhorse, 2011).

Kevin Graham: Financial Planning 2.0: Left Brain Financial Planning for Right Brain Creatives

Thursday November 10, 2011 · Osher Hall, Maine College of Art

Independent freelancers and small business owners enjoy more freedoms than an employee: they set the direction, answering only to themselves. They are the captains of their ship. But, with these freedoms come enormous responsibilities and challenges: getting new clients; taking care of your own benefits (retirement, healthcare); wearing multiple hats (sales, creative, marketing, accounting, etc.)

This 60-minute business planning workshop, presented by financial advisor Kevin Graham, will cover financial planning topics such as:

  • Setting financial goals
  • Budgeting
  • Planning for the unexpected
  • Understanding the risk/reward trade-off
  • Forth, income and stability
  • Saving for college and retirement
  • The changing face of retirement
  • Strategies for the business owner, the freelancer and the employee

Kevin Graham is owner of Princeton Retirement Planning & Wealth Management, LLC, located in New Jersey. He has been in the financial services industry for over 20 years and has presented workshops nationally. His ability to articulate the, sometimes, obscure language of finance and translate into accessible terms will make this evening a valuable experience for creatives and small business owners alike.

Costs: Students: $5/10 at door, AIGA Members $10/15 at door

Adobe Photoshop Workflow

April 22, 2010 · Maine Grind, Ellsworth, ME

Tim Plummer from Adobe led this 2-hour workshop focused on improving Photoshop workflow for visual communicators, including photographers, multi-media and designers.

CMS: A Visual Designer’s Guide

April 6, 2010 · 28 Maple Street, Portland, ME

AIGA and Pemaquid Communications present Content Management Systems – A visual Deisgner’s Guide. 2010 will be the year of the Content Management System. Learn how the usual CMS suspects–Wordpress, Drupal and Joomla–affect the visual design of a website interface.

Stanley Hainsworth

March 3, 2010 · Glickman Library, USM

Stanley Hainsworth, founder of the global creative agency Tether and former VP of Global Creative for Starbucks presents a candid discussion about his creative leadership experiences at Starbucks, Nike, and Lego and the ever increasing value that design brings to business. Will talk about the 10 things he’s learned in 20 years including:

  • the ever-increasing value design brings to business
  • creating emotional brand connections with consumers
  • raising the perception and influence of designers as strategic thinkers
  • In-house life vs. agency life
Sponsored by University of Southern Maine, Hilton Garden Inn and Curry Printing

snowBALL ’09

December 4, 2009 · Port City Music Hall

AIGA Maine, the Maine Marketing Association, the Maine Public Relations Council, and the Ad Club of Maine invite you to the 4th annual holiday party for creatives in Maine. Featuring live music by Sly Chi, hors d’oeuvres by Aurora Provisions, a cash bar, and plenty of holiday cheer.

Rick Poynor: “Designing Pornotopia”

March 29, 2007 · Port City Music Hall

Also the title of Poynor’s latest book, Designing Pornotopia is a critical look at the prevalence of sexual imagery in mainstream visual culture.

Rick Poynor, based in London, is a founding editor of both Eye magazine (1990 to 1997) and Design Observer, a weblog for design discussion, and a regular contributor to almost every English-language design publication. This is a rare opportunity for the New England design community. He writes columns for Eye and for Print, and he has covered design, media and visual culture for Blueprint, Frieze, I.D., Icon, Domus, Metropolis, Adbusters, Harvard Design Magazine, The Guardian, and many other publications. His books include Typography Now: The Next Wave (1991), Design Without Boundaries (1998), Typographica (2001), Obey the Giant: Life in the Image World (2001), and No More Rules: Graphic Design and Postmodernism (2003). Designing Pornotopia, his third essay collection, was published in 2006 by Princeton Architectural Press. In 2004, he was curator of the traveling exhibition “Communicate: Independent British Graphic Design since the Sixties” at the Barbican Art Gallery, London. He is a research fellow at the Royal College of Art in London, and he lectures widely about design in Europe, the US, Australia and China.