MODA Presents: August Design Conversations

Museum of Design Atlanta Presents August Design Conversations

in Partnership with Portfolio Center

Atlanta (July 20, 2016) – This August, Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) and the Portfolio Center are partnering to present two extraordinary lectures featuring Ellen Lupton, a renowned graphic designer, author and curator of MODA’s current exhibition, Beautiful Users: Designing for People, and Debbie Millman, designer, author, educator, brand strategist and host of the award-winning podcast Design Matters.

Both lectures take place at the Hill Auditorium at Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Street. Tickets are now available at

 The August lectures include:

Ellen Lupton: Beauty, Sensation, and User Experience

Tuesday, August 2, 2016 | Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

VIP Packages available. Information below.

General admission: $20 / MODA Members $15 / Students $10

MODA and Portfolio Center present a Design Conversation with Ellen Lupton. Together with Lupton, the audience will explore the design thinking behind her recent work at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, where she organized the exhibitions Beautiful Users (currently on exhibit at MODA), Beauty (2016, currently on view at the Cooper Hewitt) and Designing Sensation (opening in 2018). These projects explore design and human experience, examining crucial ways designers engage people’s bodies and emotions.

During this talk, the audience will participate in acts of perception, interpretation and storytelling, considering: How do people interact physically with objects? How do vision and language influence taste and smell? What does a Nina Simone song taste like? What makes the shower scene in Hitchcock’s “Psycho” seem so violent? How does color represent taste and smell? Lupton invites guests to see, hear and touch the world in new ways.

Writer, curator, graphic designer and 2007 AIGA Gold Medal recipient, Ellen Lupton ( serves as director of the Graphic Design MFA program and director of the Center for Design Thinking at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. As curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum since 1992, Lupton has produced numerous exhibitions and books, including Mechanical Brides: Women and Machines from Home to Office (1993), Mixing Messages: Graphic Design and Contemporary Culture (1996) and Letters from the Avant-Garde (1996), just to name a few.  Lupton has published essays and illustrations in The New York Times, and her book Thinking with Type (2004) is used by students, designers and educators worldwide.

Lupton VIP Package
$75 / MODA Members $70

MODA invites guests to join Beautiful Users: Designing for People curator Ellen Lupton for a VIP tour through the exhibition at MODA, a Beautiful Users book signing and priority seating at Lupton's Design Conversation. VIP tickets are limited and include:

  • Ellen Lupton Curator Tour at 2 p.m.
  • Curator’s Tour of Beautiful Users at 2 p.m. on August 2
  • Signed Copy of Beautiful Users
  • Priority Seating for Design Conversation at 7p.m. on August 2
  • Custom MODA Notebook

Debbie Millman: Why We Brand, Why We Buy

Business of Design Lecture Series

Thursday, August 11, 2016 | Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

VIP Packages available. Information below.

General admission $25 / MODA Members $20 / Students $15

MODA and Portfolio Center welcome Debbie Millman, one of the most influential graphic designers working today. Millman will present a lecture titled “Why We Brand, Why We Buy,” a sociological, scientific and entertaining historical overview on why we brand and buy things. Millman will discuss what makes a brand stand out, considering whether there is some magic that turns a simple script logo for a soda into the international graphic icon that is Coca-Cola, or makes us salivate over the latest product from Apple. This presentation will take a deep dive into the influence branding has on our everyday lives, from branding ourselves and the world around us to the role branding plays in the products we buy and the way we live and will explore the following:

  • The five waves of modern branding – Millman will examine each one, focusing on the brands that defined each period
  • How human evolution and population trends are linked with branding
  • How psychology and behavioral rituals are linked with branding
  • How technology has changed the way we interact with each other and with brands
  • What it takes for modern brands to stand out in a crowded marketplace
  • How branding connects with our most hard-wired, basic instincts

Millman is chief marketing officer for Sterling Brands in New York, where she works with some of the world’s largest brands such as Pepsi, Gillette, Colgate, Kimberly-Clark, Nestle, and Campbell Soup Company. She is also the co-founder and chair of the world’s first Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, host of the award-winning Design Observer podcast, Design Matters, and an author, teacher, and artist.

Millman VIP Package (women-only event)
$150 / MODA Members $140
MODA invites guests to this women-only event where they will join graphic designer, artist, brand strategist and host of the Design Matters podcast Debbie Millman for lunch and conversation about courage in creative careers. With Millman heading the table, guests will discuss risk taking, learning from failure, the feelings that failure provokes and how we can build risk-taking and courage into professional and personal strategies for growth. VIP tickets are limited and include:

  • Debbie Millman Luncheon from noon to 2 p.m. on August 11
  • Debbie Millman book
  • Priority Seating for Business of Design lecture at 7 p.m. on August 11
  • Custom MODA Notebook