Frog Design’s Honest Account of IDSA 2008


We love Frog Design, but not just because we dig their work. We also like them because they don’t mind being honest on their miscellaneous blogs. Such is the case in a report from the field by Jon Kolko about a trip to the recent Industrial Design Society of America conference in Phoenix. While Kolko was speaking there with another Frog member, he also took in a slew of the other lectures and events, and while his report isn’t all that negatives (actually, he was pleasantly surprised at how decent it all was, despite his tendency toward being “critical of the content at the conference,” and was happy with their decision to move into less self-congratulation and more practical information), he also isn’t afraid to call out some of the more absurd elements, such as the oblivious green-ness and things like this talk by a GM designer:

Perhaps the most obtuse talk I attended was by Bryan Nesbitt, from General Motors; Nesbitt, who claims responsibility for the design of the PT Cruiser, made an obviously artificial and self-defeating attempt to spin GM as a green and progressive company. His comment that “consumers aren’t ready for a green car, so we tried to figure out what percentage of green they would be ready for” was met with a dull and blunt silence.

We heard a lot of this same talk from GM, particularly when we got to talk with the company’s chairman, Robert Lutz. Though, when Lutz explained it, the position was made a little more clearly, because who really did care about gas prices and environmental concerns, at least in a big way, back in the mid to late-90s? Still, we concede how foolish it all sounds now, in hindsight.