Vignelli Design Conversations Lecture Series

Vignelli Lecture Series

The Vignelli Center for Design Studies fosters important discussions about design in society and commerce with its Design Conversations speaker series. Each year, it brings well-known designers to campus for insightful monthly lectures open to all.

2020 Lecture Series

Guest Speaker: Gary Hustwit
February 4, 2020
4:45 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Gary Hustwit is an American independent filmmaker, photographer, and vice president of He is best known for his Design Trilogy of documentaries, which examines the impact of European and American trends in graphic design, typography, industrial design, architecture, and urban planning. The Helvetica video, which included Massimo Vignelli, has become a best seller. His most recent documentary video is on the German product designer Dieter Rams and is accompanied by a photographic book.

At RIT he will be speaking about his work as a documentary videographer and his appearance will highlight the first public exhibit of his photographic record of a day with Massimo Vignelli.



Guest Speaker: Paul Sahre
March 17, 2020
4:45 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Sahre is one of the most influential graphic designers working today. He has doggedly remained independent, operated his own practice since 1997. He is a frequent visual contributor to The New York Times; designed book covers for authors such as Chuck Klosterman, Malcolm Gladwell, Rick Moody, and Clarice Lispector; authored books; and built and destroyed a life-sized monster truck hearse for the band They Might Be Giants. Paul received his BFA and MFA from Kent State University and has taught graphic design at the School of Visual Arts for the past 13 years. He lectures extensively all over the world and is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale.

Having previously written a design memoir (Two-Dimensional Man: A Graphic Memoir, published by Abrams Press, September, 2017), Paul is ready to share some of what he has learned during his first 52 years on planet earth (30 as a graphic designer). Paul will use examples of his own work for wildly imaginative clients: directors, writers, musicians, and artists (as well as a series of seemingly unrelated life experiences) to arrive at an (un)expected conclusion–that ultimately, the designer’s life is one of constant questioning, inventing, failing, dreaming, and ultimately making.

Guest Speaker: Natalie Nixon
April 7, 2020
4:45 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Natalie Nixon, PhD is an innovation strategist and President of Figure 8 Thinking, LLC. She advises leaders on change management at publicly traded and privately held corporations as well as non-profits. She helps them design optimal ways to leverage creativity, sustain innovation and achieve priority business goals—resulting in happier customers and employees.

Natalie is a published author (Strategic Design Thinking and INC online magazine) and a global speaker represented by the BigSpeak Speakers Bureau.

Her public speaking invitations have included CUSP, Business Innovation Factory, 360 Possibles (Saint Malo, France), Creative Mornings, TEDx Philadelphia, The Copenhagen Institute for Interactive Design, The European Innovation Academy (Nice, France), SEB Bank (Tallinn, Estonia), FUSE and the Mayo Clinic’s Transform conference. She is a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania in social innovation and design thinking and a Senior Advisor at Econsult Solutions. She has a background in cultural anthropology, fashion, and service design. She is certified as a foresight practitioner by the Institute for the Future and in charrette facilitation by the National Charrette Institute at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Natalie received her PhD from the University of Westminster in design management, and her AB (cum laude) from Vassar College in anthropology and Africana Studies.