On Thursday, November 7, 2013, AIGA Pittsburgh members were invited to tour three of Pittsburgh’s premier studios in the South Side: Landesberg Design, Gatesman+Dave, and Commonwealth Press, as part of the fall [X]posed Studio Tour. Professionals and students learned about the studios, their processes, and gained insights into the design industry. Attendees were broken up into small groups to tour the studios in three sessions.
Landesberg Design is a design studio that does everything from print to interactive work, with a specialization in projects for the higher education and arts & culture industries. Company founder, Rick Landesberg, led the studio tour and discussion. In addition to describing the projects his office focuses on, Landesberg talked about his extensive background in the design industry and offered advice to the mostly-student audience.
Landesberg told the group that it is important for designers to understand the heart of the problem so that they can find different ways of addressing what clients need, not just what clients want. Embrace your curiosity, Landesberg recommended, and keep asking questions.
Gatesman+Dave is a full-service marketing agency whose scope encompasses everything from design to public relations. The participants met with Sam Pancio, Senior Copywriter; Dan Ayer, Copywriter and Jeff Barton, Associate Creative Director.
The team members described their process from ideation to publication for some of their portfolio projects, touching on how the team must come up with creative solutions under each project’s different constraints. For Barton, the most successful designers have a T-shaped skillset: they know a little bit about everything (the horizontal bar of “T”), but have deep understanding of a particular area (the stem of the “T”). Afterward, the three led AIGA members on a tour of their incredible offices.
At Commonwealth Press, the tour groups met with founder, Dan Rock, to talk about the company’s history and get a mini-lesson about the screen printing process. Commonwealth Press is a screen printing shop that does prints by hand on both clothing and paper. Rock recounted his extreme passion for screen printing since creating his first make-shift screen from pantyhose, a picture frame, and rubber cement.
Rock considers the work he does to be the final resting spot for his artistic talent—some way to make it tangible or functional. And screen printing itself? “Easy, as long as you don’t want to sleep,” Rock joked.
Commonwealth was kind enough to provide all of the AIGA Pittsburgh participants with a small screen printed booklet which was hand made onsite.
Special thanks to guest contributing writer Jacklynn Pham for the [X]posed Studio Tour recap and photos. Jacklynn can be found at jacklynn.com.