Bill Thorburn > Art + Design Lecture

Don’t Miss this lecture in the Tweed!

Bill Thorburn

Tuesday,October 16, 2007, 6pm

Bill Thorburn became founding principal of Carmichael Lynch Thorburn (CLT)in 1996. CLT, Minneapolis, specializes in the design needs of clients looking to establish their identities and build their brands.

Thorburn has 20 years of internationally recognized design expertise. He started way back then with a fine arts degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He worked in the agency setting for several years and then became design director for Dayton–Hudson’s– Marshall Fields. With CLT, Thorburn exercises his vision for strategic, powerful, lasting design every day. His list of client work is impressive: Nike, Microsoft, Harley–Davidson, Neiman Marcus, Dayton’s, Caribou Coffee, ESPN, and Porsche, just to name a few. Bill Thorburn’s design work is included in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum of Art in London, and the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. He has also had individual exhibits in Japan and London.

some recent work by Carmichael Lynch Thorburn>



One thought on “Bill Thorburn > Art + Design Lecture

  1. I’m ambivalent about the Bill Thorburn Lecture. I could tell he has a very strong passion for design, and that was inspiring. And the ability his company had for finding the “soul”, as Bill called it, of a design problem and solution was admirable. I love to be able to spend some time at his firm to learn how to work in that way, not just design-wise, but business-wise as well: learn how to research, conduct focus groups, predict trends, things like that. And the level of their craft was amazing. It was really beautiful stuff.

    But I was also a little turned off by the idea that they were creating an experience that these products could probably not live up to. The Benjamin Moore paint may be amazing paint, but I don’t think ti’s going to cause a paradigm shift in home decorating, for example, and I doubt I’d feel like a revolutionary or visionary after buying a can. I love Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and I ride cycles. And I can tell you that most of the people I know that ride them are anything but black sheep or renegades sticking it to the man. Doctors, Lawyers, teachers, network executives all ride Harleys, and not a black sheep in the bunch. I guess I feel a little like branding tries to manipulate me, instead of convince me, to buy the product. Making those kinds of designs is not something I see myself doing.

    Branding a company, however, seems like a different animal to me. Crafting a message that says, “This is who WE are”, instead of “This is who YOU could be”, is a bit more palatable. But is it any more honest? No answer from me yet…

    Can I blame them, though? They’re all businesses, each trying to grow and be more successful. They need to do what they can to increase sales. It’s up to me to apply my own critical thinking to what they tell me so I can determine if what I’m hearing and seeing is true and relevant for me.


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