Design in Sioux Falls is Having a Moment
It was back in February that Jeremy Fugleberg, from the SF Business Journal, and I started having this conversation about the changes afoot in Sioux Falls. I had just moved back to town and we were talking about the changes that had happened in the six years I was gone.
At the same time, my friend and former employer, Hugh Weber, had just joined the National Executive Board of AIGA and been named to the Graphic Design USA’s 2018 People to Watch list.
Jeremy, Hugh, and I sat down at Coffea to reflect on the special moment at hand.
These were the topics we covered:
THE NATIONAL DESIGN COMMUNITY
With Hugh now on the Executive Board of AIGA, it means that a South Dakotan is one of three people leading the premier design organization in the country. He’ll be the first to tell you that he is not a traditional designer and doesn’t quite fit in on the board at first blush. And yet, they value his insight. The elites in the graphic design world are grappling with how to be relevant to “fly-over country.” They are trying to figure out how to serve people that aren’t in Brooklyn or San Fransisco.
SIOUX FALLS MAYORAL RACE
At the time, we were witnessing a race that included not one, but two people coming out of the creative agency world. Paul Ten Haken, of ClickRain, went on to win the election over Jolene Loetscher, of Mud Mile Communications. The fact that there were two creative professionals in the hunt and that one of them won is certainly a statement of intent.
MAYOR TEN HAKEN’S HEAD OF INNOVATION
One of the first things the Mayor did was appoint an old pal of mine, Jason Reisdorfer, to lead a new, reorganized city department. It remains to be seen how effective the move will be, but it’s a progressive step nonetheless.
We’ve always had some local agencies doing national work, but it bears mentioning that the likes of Lemonly, Electric Pulp, Blend, Lawrence & Schiller, and others are spreading our local creative reach nationally.
BIG COMPANIES SHAPING OUR CITY
It’s not outlandish to say that Sanford and Avera might have some of the biggest impact on what our city looks like for the next 30 years as their central campuses expand and new properties emerge on the outskirts. At the same time you’ve got Raven working with Google, Good Samaritan’s business maturing, and the banks and credit card companies looming.
SMALL COMPANIES WITH A DESIGN POINT OF VIEW
To me, Fernson is a prime example of a design-centric small business working. From the very beginning, they deeply considered their brand identity and aesthetic. What’s more, rather than design the logo and packaging and move on, they give talented on-staff designer, Mitch Torbert, a seat at the table. They continue to include design in their day-to-day operations, and it shows.
Of the things that blew me away when I moved back to Sioux Falls was the collective momentum of the entrepreneur. 1 Million Cups, Start Up Weekend, ZEAL, and even a vibrant SF Entrepreneurs Facebook group are vital parts of the community. Finding ways for the start up world and design world to overlap is essential.
We’ve got work to do, yes, but the foundation is there. There’s no telling how long this window of opportunity will be open, so I hope we take advantage of the moment.
Please check out Jeremy’s full article, “Sioux Falls is having a design moment. Here's why, and why it matters” and let me know your thoughts.
~Andrew Brynjulson is a Sioux Falls-based freelance designer and art director specializing in logo, web and brand design. He often writes about art, design, marketing and business. Share your thoughts, @BrenniFresh.