Wyman in Ireland

This weekend I spoke at the most enjoyable design conference in a long time – OFFSET / DUBLIN. A labor of love, brilliantly orchestrated by the lads Richard Seabrooke, Bren Byrne, Peter O’Dwyer (congratulations on a job well done).

Of the many truly fascinating speakers, among them George Lois (standing ovation), Scott Dadich (Wired and more), Adrian Shaughnessy (brilliant design critic), Gary Baseman (master of the eccentric), Emily Forgot (delightful illustrator), and Lance Wyman, wayfinding guru and the creator of scores of graphic icons, including the emblematic 1968 Mexico City Olympics identity and marks.

This was the first time I met Wyman, but I’ve always admired the Mexico work he produced with Peter Murdock. OFFSET gave me the opportunity to see the rest of his impressive oeuvre, his marks for cities, zoos and the Museum of Natural History.

Listening to him speak in a public conversation with design historian Linda King was a pleasure. Wyman spoke of the need for designers to have “sensitivity.” From there, concept and technique follow. He also noted that the Mexico City Olympics identity was based on the indigenous graphic environment. When told by Mexican designers years later that they look upon Mexican design as pre-Olympics and post-Olympics, Wyman responded that all he did was reintegrate Mexican visual culture, which had long been rejected in favor of international styles, back into the national design vocabulary.

And speaking of vocabulary, the visual one he created for the Olympics was special to Wyman because it “did not need to be translated into words.”

If you missed Saturday’s post from the Emerald Isle go here, why don’t you?

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