November 10, 2022
Celebrating 25 Years of RSM Design
Our annual workshops are an event that every employee of RSM Design looks forward to each and every year. It’s a time to come together, get inspired, deepen our relationships with one another, and celebrate our accomplishments.
In 2020 and 2021 we put our gatherings on pause. It was hard, but it was the right thing to do, considering the pandemic. During that time, we noticed a longing for reconnection. They were craving in-person connection. The workshops had always been a crucial part of our company’s culture and connection. So when 2022 rolled around we knew it was time to re-gather. And, it was going to be the 25th anniversary of RSM Design. It was a no brainer.
DRAFTING UP A PLAN
Planning began with our internal team in the early half of the year. We connected with speakers local and far, researched team building activities, drew up a logo, put it on some cool trucker hats, tote bags, coffee mugs, and more. We let the creative wheels turn.
Speakers played an important role in our workshops, which we titled Creativity x Communication. Our first speaker was Robin Osborn, an executive coach at Kothari Leadership, who specializes in coaching and transforming organizations and leaders. Robin led the team through a DiSC workshop, which uses a personal assessment tool to recognize patterns in our communication and collaboration styles. Our team discussed how we can improve teamwork and productivity by gaining a deeper understanding of our different styles of communication.
Jenny Famularcano joined us on Thursday morning to talk about organizing your creative process, both personally and within a team. She is an educator at Chapman University and Denver Ad School, as well as a lettering artist. She shared with us her best practices for organizing creative ideas, and warmed us up with a little Zumba!
Tyrone Drake is an educator, graphic design professional, and an associate professor at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena. With over 25 years of experience in both the education and professional design realm, Tyrone discussed the benefits of working in teams to come to creative and innovative design solutions. He shared an inspirational story of his experience guiding students through a UX/UI project during a study abroad program in Berlin, Germany.
Our final speaker was Thokozani Mabena, who shared his touching journey as a designer coming to America from Zimbabwe. An inspiring creative who currently works for Gensler Portland, Thoko discussed the importance of finding meaning in the work that we do, and to always seek to put people and relationships at the center of our focus. His transformative story, which was previously recorded by TedX, can be watched here.
Each of our speakers brought insight to our work as designers, as well as shared important messages about how to communicate and work collaboratively with others. They challenged our team to consider ways to be empathetic listeners and positive influences in our industry today.
DESIGN EDUCATION: ACTIVITIES AND EXERCISES
Another key component of Creativity x Collaboration were our team building activities. These exercises brought various groups together to explore ideas such as product design, user testing, listening, creative design practices, and more.
You may have already seen our Egg Drop Challenge shared on social media. This is one of those activities that you may have done in your high school science class. But the Egg Drop Challenge also explores a number of design thinking principles: how to design and prototype an effective container solution that will safely protect a fragile egg as it drops from an elevated surface. We were divided into teams and each received a mystery bag of tools and props. Together we used communication and creative thinking to design egg containers, made of popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, marshmallows, paper bag scraps, and our favorite mystery item: a jar of peanut butter.
We presented our containers to the judges, Harry, Martin, and Suzanne, before dropping them off of our studio balcony. Some eggs survived the fall, and some didn’t. It was a lesson learned for all of us. Ultimately “Pineapple Express” took home the prize as the most effective as well as design forward egg drop container.
In addition to the Egg Drop Challenge, we also hosted a range of activities from design trivia to DIY pennant flags, a curated design book library, What’s in Your Wallet? (all about empathetic listening and why we hold on to the things we do), and a field trip to a neighborhood artist and friend, JP Greenwood.
THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
While the meat of our workshops were the speakers and activities, the celebratory moment was our 25th Anniversary Celebration, or Camp RSM. As many of you already know, this year RSM is celebrating 25 years of creative collaboration in the environmental graphic design and place branding industry. Those 25 years have shaped our company into what it is today. And our people are at the very center of that. Under a starry night sky, we went back to our Texan roots (fun fact: Harry, Martin & Suzanne met in Texas!) and celebrated those 25 years with a BBQ dinner, popped the champagne, and in true Texas style, line danced our achy-breaky hearts away. The truth is, we wouldn’t be able to do any of this without you. We’re so grateful for the opportunity to come back year after year and be a part of incredibly inspiring projects. Thank you for making the past 25 years memorable + exciting. It’s a lucky thing, we love what we do.