debbie millman

Friday, November 02, 2007

Tennis, Anyone?

my buds

Bonnie and Clyde. Scarlett and Rhett. Bogie and Bacall. Butch and Sundance. Thelma and Louise. All great friends or great lovers or great adversaries. Every once in a while, they are all three. But in some way or another, these celebrated duos have come to embody what it means to be great partners. On Friday, November 2nd at 2:00 PM Central time, you can add Bantjes and Vit to the list. Or more accurately put, Bantjes vs. Vit.

The kind folks over at Coudal Partners are currently hosting a series of live design events on Friday afternoons called Layer Tennis. They originally called the game "Photoshop Tennis" but these days there are so many more tools that can be used to create and they wanted to open up the games to millions of new possibilities. The matches use a lot of different applications, from Adobe® Photoshop® to Adobe® Illustrator®, but the basic idea is the same no matter what tools are in use. Two designers swap a file back and forth in real-time, adding to and embellishing the work. Each designer gets fifteen minutes (yes, you read correctly: 15 minutes) to complete a "volley" and then Coudal posts the results to the site. A third participant, a writer, provides play-by-play commentary on the action as it happens. The matches last for ten volleys and when it's complete, everyone with an opinion sounds off in the Forums and a winner is declared.

I had the distinction of providing the play-by-play commentary several weeks ago, and let me tell you, this experience is harrowing at best. It is fast, it is furious and it gets real messy, really fast.

It's hard to imagine who will win this one. Both our dear friends, it is hard to imagine who to even root for: the girl with the delicious swirls or the bad boy with the feisty fingers.

On your mark, get set...go... and may the best man win.


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Location: new york city, United States

Debbie Millman has worked in the design business for over 25 years. She is President of the design division at Sterling Brands. She has been there for nearly 15 years and in that time she has worked on the redesign of global brands for Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Campbell’s, Colgate, Nestle and Hasbro. Prior to Sterling, she was a Senior Vice President at Interbrand and a Marketing Director at Frankfurt Balkind. Debbie is President of the AIGA, the largest professional association for design. She is a contributing editor at Print Magazine, a design writer at and Brand New and Chair of the Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. In 2005, she began hosting the first weekly radio talk show about design on the Internet. The show is titled “Design Matters with Debbie Millman” and it is now featured on In addition to “Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design,” (HOW Books, 2009, she is the author of "How To Think Like A Great Graphic Designer" (Allworth Press, 2007) and “The Essential Principles of Graphic Design” (Rotovision, 2008).

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