Designing museums and pay phone booths

NEW YORK–Last April 22, a new venue emerged from the meetups gaining popular steam in springtime New York, just as the Tribeca Film Festival was rolling its week-long fest of indie and alternative films. It had the same makeup as the tech meetup talks, except it was held at the De Niro-propelled film center and headlined Designing Innovation.

Mike Dyer who wears many hats for Daily Beast as co-managing director, chief product and strategy officer of Daily Beast, moderated the panel consisting of Mike Abbink, creative director of the Modern Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Colin O’Donnell, founding partner of Control Group.

Abbink addressed the museum’s main concern now—how to attract more 18 to 39 year olds, a hard demographic to capture which was interesting given that the new Whitney Museum is opening next month in a location with heavy foot traffic, a tourist belt called the Highline.

In line with the day’s agenda, O’Donnell spoke about how the Control Group is well on its way to convert New York City’s pay phone booths around the city into free Wi-Fi spots. It won the right to do that under the initiative of Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s first CTO Minerva Tantoco.

Abbink is responsible for managing and leading the internal design team at MoMA as well as creative leadership of the brand experience and visual identity of the Museum across all platforms and departments.

This includes exhibitions, advertising, programs, and events, as well as retail, publications, digital, and the MoMA PS1. Before joining MoMA Mike spent the past 18 years developing brands and designing identities, typefaces, packaging and websites.

Mike’s design career started at MetaDesign in San Francisco where he helped developed the strategy and visual concepts for Niketown Honolulu and in-store design systems for Nike stores in Melbourne and Toronto. After three years there, he went on to co-found the agency, Method, where he served as creative director and helped shape the company’s design vision. Mike oversaw the development of corporate identity, interactive design and web design for clients such as Adobe, Autodesk, MSN, Gucci and MoMA.

Mike gained extensive experience working as a design director at Apple Computer where he designed packaging (the first PowerBook G4, Power Mac G5, iSight Camera, and OSX Panther) and directed a major update to the company’s corporate identity when Apple changed their typeface from the classic Garamond to the more austere Myriad — a decision that affected every piece of the company’s collateral which was redesigned by Mike and his team.

O’Donnell, on the other hand, is responsible for corporate strategy, business development and thought leadership that drives the company’s growth. He has led the company toward groundbreaking initiatives such as On-the-Go, the award-winning information kiosks for the New York City MTA; and LinkNYC, the most advanced public Wi-Fi and advertising network in the world.

Recognized as one of AdAge Magazine’s Creativity50 for being a top creative influencer, O’Donnell works with forward-thinking clients to develop business-focused strategies and products that take advantage of the web’s evolution from browser, to mobile, to the physical world. He has been featured in major media outlets such as Fast Company, Wired, and the New York Times for his transformative work with urban environments, retail, and mass transit.

Dennis Clemente

Shuttling between New York and other US cities, Dennis writes about tech meetups when he's not too busy working as a Web Developer/Producer + UX Writer and Digital Marketer.

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