Jackie Chou (BDes ’20), a Design for Environments senior at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design, recently attended the Brand New Design Conference in Las Vegas, NV. The Brand New Conference, which stemmed from the Brand New blog run by Armin Vit and Bryony Gomez-Palacio, is a yearly design conference that focuses on identity and branding and featured speakers from all over the world.
“There were two days of talks at the Smith Center in Vegas,” said Chou. “I met design students and professionals from different companies. Some of the coolest parts were the customized, hand-made swag that the conference organizers designed and manufactured. It was such a great atmosphere and there was a lot of energy from the hosts, speakers, and attendees.”
The conference organizers invited people from all over the world, including some with very few credentials, in order to create a diverse and inclusive conference experience.
“Some of the most memorable talks came from the most unestablished designers,” added Chou. “It made me realize that almost everyone has something valuable to share and their own unique story to tell.
“Bryony later told me that their goal was to bring the best speakers, which meant taking a chance on booking unknown or obscure speakers.”
Chou’s experience at the Brand New Conference was provided in part by the Design Student Experience Fund. The Design Student Experience Fund aims to help subsidize expenses Design students can incur while pursuing opportunities outside the School of Design.
“It's really important to connect with the design community outside CMU to experience new perspectives, and the fund allowed me to do this, especially as I transition from my academic to professional career,” said Chou.
Chou feels that the education and interdisciplinary opportunities he has received at Carnegie Mellon University have truly prepared him for where is career path will take him after graduating.
Jackie Chou (left) with fellow conference attendees.
“The School of Design, to me, is unique in that it's a design school situated within a research university,” said Chou. “That's obvious, but I really do believe it unlocks opportunities to learn and expand your skills in ways you wouldn't anticipate. Because of that, I discourage students who come here to decide what they want to explore before they get here. I think they should follow the opportunities that interest them the most once they get here.
“Some of my most memorable experiences have been in non-design courses where I could contribute some of the skills I picked up in design classes and through professional experiences.”