2,608 Miles

It’s a long journey from Omaha to Anchorage. Exactly 2,607.99 miles separate the two cities. I just returned back to the OMA from the ANC where I presented to AIGA Alaska. A round table discussion over lunch and an evening lecture about my work and approach. I met some really great people and shared a story of pursuit, independence, activism, and keeping it weird in the middle of America. 

Overall, Alaska is insanely beautiful. It was great to experience its vast landscape of mountain peaks and frozen oceans at the tale end of winter—blinding white snow crunching under foot and a burning bright sun beating down. My wife Katie made the journey too. We were able to connect with our longtime friend, fellow designer, collaborator, and Alaska resident Jontue Hollingsworth who helped show us some sights.

The roundtable discussion was casual. On the topic of going from raising awareness to moving people to action. We talked client relationships, measuring success, scope creep, and communicating to diverse audiences. The evening lecture was in an old theater in downtown Anchorage. It was an intimate setting on a stage furnished with the retro set of its current play. I presented on how principles can lead to doing the work you love, how my graphic design manifests itself along the way, and what five core projects look like at a deeper level. The audience was attentive and the Q&A time was thoughtful and broad. On community, inspiration, process, and politics.

The city and the pace reminded me a little of Lincoln. The designers who attended were young and old. They worked as freelancers, in small agencies, and at nonprofits. At dinner we commiserated about people who don’t quite know where either of our states are. At some point in our lives, we’ve had to explain to folks that no, we don’t all live in igloos or tipis. That Alaska is not an island and Nebraska does not have mountains. Good times all around.

Definitely make the trip to the 49th state in the union at some point in your life. You will not be disappointed. Whether for the sights, winter activities, fine food and drink, or welcoming residents. I’m so glad AIGA Alaska extended the invitation. I enjoyed sharing why I think making this design thing matter is key. Getting to meet another design community with lots of passion and interest in making things better, just one more example of the inherent desire of designers to use our talents for something bigger than ourselves.