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Mortality of Design Wrap Up!

Cher Fuller
Senior Digital Strategist

Welcome to Old Town ChinaTown, a magical land of unexpected treasures, a place where creative agencies and small local shops build their creative dreams during the day before OTCT’s children of the night turn the area into Portland’s Entertainment District.

We love our little corner of the world, and proudly invited over 500 guests into our home at eROI headquarters for Design Week Portland 2014 where we wrapped a higher concept of the Mortality of Design around what was an incredible week focused on Design in Portland.
If you missed any of eROI’s events, you’re in luck. Below are our favorite takeaways to fill your little designer heart with all the passion and innovation we brought to life last week.
eROI's Mortality of Design wrap up

Old Town Walking Tour + Trivia

Old Town Chinatown is THE hidden gem of our creative community. Designer Robin Clark kicked off our inaugural #DWPDX event series with a tour of OTCT, showcasing current, past, and future creative spaces. As told by a scrappy old-skool punk who’s lived here for more than the standard 5 minutes, we learned that the future shoe designers of our generation are blowing expectations and innovation out of the water at Pensole, North America’s premier footwear design academy. X-Ray Cafe (circa 1990-1994) existed for the sole purpose of community. “X-RAY was born out of a hole in the community, not built for money.” This community was spearheaded by an eccentric man named Tres. After the the ultimate death of the X-ray, Tres had the crazy idea of an all night Doughnut Shop. The dream of Bacon Maple Bars and Cock ‘n’ Ball doughnuts served in pink boxes was born. Some refer to it as Voodoo.


Old Town ChinaTown is exploding with creativity and amazing people doing amazing things. Don’t write it off as the shady part of downtown.

Re: Re: Re: Re:volution. A history of Email Design

Life isn’t about finding problems, it’s about looking for solutions. Ray Tomlinson revolutionized the way we work and communicate together when he invented email, a program he wrote on his own time because, “It seemed like a neat idea.” Ray saw an opportunity to share messages, and took the initiative to make it a reality. As the most widely used application on the internet with over 3 billion unique addresses, email still stands as the most personalized way to reach your audience. Nicole Mors, Design Lead at eROI, brought to light that our audience has to opt-in to this form of communication. They are asking you for your content, so give them something personalized, scaled to their viewing device, and optimized for interaction and response. Lead Developer Matt Grankski gave us a glimpse into the future of email design by showing that by using modules we can create a design system with a reusable framework, but completely custom to the need. Focus on your audience’s preferences because the most pure and powerful art of email is, and always will be, the message – so make it a good one.


Email is all about the pure message. Stop creating one-size-fits-all marketing and start giving your audience the proper love and attention they need to fully engage with what you are directly sending to their inbox. They asked for it; give them something good.

Till Death Do Us Art: eROI Open House and Art Show for p:ear

We were floored and so grateful when over 20 artists agreed to donate pieces of their art to benefit p:ear, a non-profit that mentors homeless youth through creative guidance. The art was beautiful, the drinks were flowing, and good times were had by all.


Portland is full of some damn good-hearted people who make killer pieces of art!

Selling Ice Cubes to Eskimos: How Design Motivates Reluctant Buyers Online

Tyler Holmes, Director of Performance at eROI, gave it to us straight: The megamall concept ended in ‘06. Expansion and endless teenage retail loops nearly died overnight, with no new enclosed mall being built since that time and an 86% drop in new retail space being built. Sorry bra, the Death of Brick and Mortar is here. Thankfully, digital designers have cultivated some fascinating tactics to bridge the e-Commerce experience of offline with online to persuade reluctant buyers. Digital Strategist Cher Fuller gave us a thoughtful lesson in digital brand awareness. The key takeaway? Consumers aren’t just shopping with their wallets anymore. They are buying with their emotions and their hearts. It’s important to understand who you are and what you do as a business – because they are not the same thing. Figure out WHO your brand is, and then what your customer’s values are. Sell that, and you’ll captivate the quality consumer who will stay loyal for years.


Offline retail is dying. Succeeding online means giving your online audience the same experience they get offline so they feel comfortable pulling the trigger for e-Commerce sites. Figure out who your brand is, your audience’s values, and what makes them different. Sell that lifestyle along with your goods.

Stop, Collaborate, and Listen: The Worldwide Movement

eROI played host to a panel on collaboration facilitated by Design Lead Tatiana Mac. In attendance were, Pippa Arend from p:ear; Van Havig, Master Brewer at Gigantic Brewing; Kim Malek, Owner of Salt and Straw; and Kelley Roy, Director of ADX. The panel was moderated by eROI Creative Director Gerry Blakney, who led the panel through an insightful glimpse into their world and what collaboration means to them. Across all industries it was clear to see that when it works, collaboration can feel like magic. As Kelley Roy pointed out, “We wouldn’t exist without collaboration.” We ended the night with some sweet treats from Salt and Straw (thanks Kim!) and a heart full of inspiration to work together towards the greater good.


Collaborate or die. Oh, and don’t be a dick.

Death of the Design Comp: Down With the King

Designers are the Swindlers. Comps are the Cloth. And the Emperor is the Client. Design Lead Nicole Mors blew the roof off our closing event with a fresh perspective on using comps in design, and whether we should continue doing so or not. The comp is how designers have always been able to communicate their intention. But, the comp gives both designer and client a false sense of control where there is none – especially in an age of dynamic digital interaction. Unlike print, the comp never will be an exact representation of how experience design will be rendered in the browser. Nicole’s recommendation? We need to educate our clients on the process, the benefits, and the savings of designing in a comp-free world. Using communicative content, style tiles, and prototypes, we eliminate the need for a “map.” We can design richer and more meaningful experiences that our developers are able to bring to life in real-time as we build things out of collaboration and communication with our clients.


Ultimately, everything we design ends up in a browser – let’s start there. Designers: learn your medium, learn to code at least the basics! Create moments in real-time built on conversations with your clients.

We had fun and learned a lot during our six events for Design Week Portland 2014.

We hope you did too.


Come stop by and have a beer with us soon!