Alex Center is Pretty Special

If you think that it takes some moxie for a designer to get this compliment from rapper 50 cent – “You must think you’re pretty special” – then Alex Center wants you to know that his response was to be nervous and “instantly start sweating.” It’s probably a career first for a man who seems to not be intimidated by much in life; after all, it takes some moxie to try and reinvent the vitaminwater brand; after a few years of other competitors clustering around, turning those crystal clear waters murky.

Cue an advertising campaign with a bold graphic stripe running through it: a barrier to be traversed by skateboard, or leapt over by snowboard, or arched over by a high jumper, or… you get the idea, it’s for fit people. With some big goals. Even those of us who only jump when a waiter asks, “One pastrami dog?” couldn’t help but be transfixed by the giant billboards in New York and other cities, a kind of almost three-dimensional trompe l’oeil that almost literally jumped off of hoardings. The ads kind of dare you to become invested, even if it’s only to stop and marvel.

Maybe being a designer, earlier on, for the New York Knicks, honed Center’s sense of athletic competition; but it’s not all adrenaline and “hoo-hah” gusto. Center has a keen eye for the mechanics of storytelling and consumer collaboration which goes way beyond fist-pumping, and Visual Connections is proud and excited to have him as the first subject for their first ever guest speaker slot.

Over the years, he has designed packaging across the globe, created breakthrough marketing campaigns, launched innovative new products. In 2011, Alex was named one of the 200 Best Packaging Designers by Luerzers Archive. In 2012, he started sharing his story with speaking engagements at The Dieline Forum, HOW Design Live and as a guest on Debbie Millman’s famous Design Matters podcast.

Center, who also improvs at the UCB Theatre in what spare time he has, can riff across a range of subjects: “User experience design, brand personality and tapping into culture.” It’s a holistic approach that might just empower the brand target with a little more sense and sensibility (and moxie all of its own) than other brands might admit to. Center is adamant that there “are ways to design for people, not products.”

Center continues to steers brands for The Coca-Cola Company. Named a Person To Watch by GDUSA Magazine – joining the likes of legendary prior recipients such as Milton Glaser, Primo Angeli, George Lois and Saul Bass (Hitchcock’s title sequence designer; who would probably have been proud of Center’s dynamic clarity) – also oversees campaigns for global brands at Coca-Cola that include vitaminwater, smartwater & Powerade.

Alex will share how his experience working on the vitaminwater brand.

There is no need to register for the session, just register for the expo and turn up in good time to grab a beer or glass of wine before the start at 5:30pm (it will be popular, and space is limited).

Entry to the exhibit floor, Footage Q&A Session and Guest Speaker are all free. Tickets for the Keynote Q&A Session cost just $35 in advance (or $50 at the door, subject to availability). Complimentary lunch, snacks and beverages will be provided throughout the day, with beer and wine served after 5pm.

Register now at: http://www.visualconnections.com/Ny2014/

More about Alex: http://thealexcenter.com/

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