Passion and rebellion at DI2011

Dana Arnett doesn’t just design for brands, he defines them and adds the necessary emotion.

Dana Arnett is the “A” in VSA Partners, an international design firm of which he is the founding principal and CEO. VSA leads a group of 150 associates in the creation of design programmes, digital and interactive initiatives, and brand marketing solutions for a diverse roster of clients.

With somewhat of a hard-rocking reputation, probably because of the Harley in his garage and his portfolio, Arnett’s sense of passion, rebellion and the freedom of the road resonates in many of his designs. Over the past 28 years, he has won nearly every industry award, globally recognised by over 60 competitions and designations including Communication Arts, AIGA, Graphis, the Type Directors Club, the American and British Art Directors Clubs, ID, the LA Film Festival, the AR100 and the American Marketing Association.

Arnett’s accomplishments define the important role he has played in design leadership, business consulting and policy-making. This is probably why Nike, Harley-Davidson, IBM, Motorola, General Electric and Coca-Cola are just some of the big names that VSA Partners has not only designed for, but created the backbone of their brands.

As such, Arnett believes there’s an emotional core to each and every organisation, which a designer must tap into. Arnett and VSA take brand experiences to a new level, believing that design can be a force for social good and a platform for questioning everything.

Besides building brands, Arnett:

  • Is a former member of the AIGA National Board of Directors.
  • Believes that keeping business is more challenging than winning business.
  • Currently serves as a board member of the Architecture and Design Society of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago Children’s Theater. 
  • Arnett is also active as an advisor and member of the business development and capital group, Cueball Collective, who help fund and incubate consumer and socially driven ventures.
  • Arnett holds the honour of being named to the ID40, which cited him as one of the 40 most important people shaping design internationally.  
  • Recently started doing more advertising work and found that he enjoys this fresh way of reinterpreting design.

Dana Arnett will be speaking at the 2011 Design Indaba Conference from 23 to 25 February

Watch the Talk with Dana Arnett