Letter from the Creator of Command X
Twelve years ago, while serving on the national board of AIGA, I noticed that the audience at the national conferences was mostly younger people but they never got to see themselves on the stage. I created Command X to right that wrong and it has worked out better than I could have imagined, and is still going strong after nine “seasons.”
Watching these videos of all of the incredible contestants I have chosen of the years makes my heart swell. I am so very proud of every one of them. In their videos, they each express the power of this forum for young designers better than I ever could. It was and is an amazing opportunity to help jump start a design career.
Each year, after reviewing the applications, I have the honor of calling seven contestants and telling them that they have been chosen to participate. Some of them shriek with joy and others are immediately filled with dread but all of them rose to the occasion once they got there. One by one, they took to the stage and presented their ideas with confidence and poise, blowing the audiences and judges away. It’s not at all surprising to me that so many ended up finding new opportunities from people at the conference. They took a risk and their courage, drive and talent paid off. The most satisfying part of creating Command X each year is seeing the lasting friendships that develop among each group of seven contestants. I feel like a matchmaker!
I want to thank Kathleen Budny for putting up with me all these years, my partner at Number 17, Emily Oberman, who started this with me, our first emcee, Michael Bierut, our current master of ceremonies, Sean Adams, and all of my amazing colleagues who have served as judges and mentors over the years.
Good luck to this year's contestants!
Command X 2011
Partner/Type Designer, Undercase Type
Instagram: @phaedra.xyz and @undercasetype