The most valuable of all that we can ever own costs us nothing. When it is passed from one person to another, it does not diminish in quality or quantity. In fact, what happens to this possession is quite the opposite – it grows. It develops and becomes strong, frightening the closed minded and exciting the willing. Let’s have a look at few video presentations on this special little something at the Technology, Education & Design conference – TED.

TThe most valuable of all that we can ever own is an idea. A thought.An idea is the start of everything. most of everything is, obviously, ultimately worthless. Which means many of the ideas that come to us through the ether are, you guessed it, ultimately worthless.

Yet once in a while, an idea grabs hold. It latches on and infects the host with curiosity and passion. It pushes those in its path to discover something new. To do something great.

It may be something as simple as the ball-point pen or as complex as a thought as to how the human brain functions.

In a nutshell, the TED conference is about clever ideas. Creative, awe-inspiring ideas that help to shape worlds – be it the world of science, the world of the hungry, a third-world nation or the world of business.

An annual conference (or should I say because of recent expansions, conferences) TED runs for three days, as fifty people share their ideas, 18 minutes at a time.

It is for reasons like TED that I hold reverence for the power of the internet. A few years ago, those behind the conference began to share some of the moments of what happens on stage online. The popularity and spread of these videos is extraordinary. It shows that we are all curious and interested in how to better ourselves and the worlds around us.

The collections is now at over 400 videos, and it’s growing.

What you’ll find below are a few videos which I find to be fascinating and in relation to what you are here for—what it is we love—graphic design, creativity and beauty.

Stefan Sagmeister.

… much, much more difficult is, this,
where the design actually can evoke happiness.

There are two lessons that are to be learned from Stefan Sagmeister‘s talk at TED.

The first is about happiness. It is about the importance of finding as much happiness as we can from the work on which our thoughts dwell. And more than merely finding happiness for our selves, the joy one can take when they can inject happiness into their work and have it show through to the point of the audience being able to connect and share in such feelings.

The second lesson, and one that is no secret to anyone to whom Sagmeister’s work and career holds some familiarity, relates to honest. Honesty and the ability to place a little part of your own mind and thoughts into the work.

It is perhaps because of this that many see Sagmesiter dancing upon the line that separates graphic design and art. It is definitely why his work is so engaging and entertaining. Through his work, which is all client requested, he makes it easy to appreciate what it is he is thinking, feeling and saying, because the messages are perosnal to him. And they are messages he wants to share.

A follow up video to this one was given four years later and is a quick 5 minute update and showing of some of his work.

Paula Scher

The best way to accomplish serious design is to be totally and completely unqualified for the job; which doesn’t happen very often.

Good design springs forth when we play. When we don’t quite know what is right and what’ll fit, and instead, we relish in the discoveries we make along the way.

Ultimately, Paula shows us that it is through play, and ridiculousness, and the willingness we must have to throw ourselves into waters unknown that helps us grow. It helps us to take the steep leaps in growth and development like those trodden at the start of a career of which we are passionate.

There are a number of places from which the charisma, knowledge and humility of Paula Scher can be felt—and this one is no different. TED gives a platform on which this great talent has a chance to shine and enlighten us about creativity a little.

David Carson

You have to utilize who you are in your work, nobody else can do that,
nobody else can pull from your background, from your parents,
your upbringing. Your whole life experience. If you allow that to happen,
it’s the only way you can do some unique work and
you’re going to enjoy the work a lot more as well.

David Carson is a designer for whom I, and many others, hold conflicting thoughts.

I enjoy much of his work. I find it to be interesting and expressive and personal. I appreciate what it is he did for graphic design and admire him for his courage to do what he feels to be right in the way of communication.

Then there are moments when his ego, his smug arrogance, sticks firmly in my craw and I dislike the man. Which, let’s face it, is just silly.

The talk he gives at TED is much like his work. It’s disjointed at times, jumps around, but is personal. It feels as if we are stepping into his mind rather than listening to a man on a stage. I’m not going to lie – this is a moment of David Carson like many, there are aspects that you will love and aspects that’ll cause your stomach to cringe. But it’s pretty damn funny, entertaining, smart and charming.

Milton Glaser.

You have to have a front—I mean, you’ve got to be confident,
if you don’t believe in your work, who else is going to believe in it?

Mr. Glaser is a remarkable thinker.

I find it hard to place my finger on it, but there is something ever so charming about the way he talks. He’s smart. Very smart. But doesn’t show this off. It doesn’t take more than a moment to realise this. The next moment will teach you that, more than just smart, he’s witty. Not to mention funny, calm and enviously relaxed.

I suppose it may be said that Milton Glaser is the way you would hope an accomplished and legendary designer would be – humble, honest and still intrigued. Still searching for an interesting and original solution to the problems he is given. In what we are shown here, it’s a joy to see him step through his thought process and the development of some of his work.

Paul Bennett

Often the good ideas are so staring at you,
right in the face, that you kind of miss them.

Paul Bennet talks very little of design. Or at least, speaks very little about design, as many a designer would.

He talks mostly of ideas. Clever ideas. Ideas which are elegant in their execution because of the focus that is given to the users. It is the users, the audience and the people that come before the clients. Before their brief and even before the aesthetics of that which they are called to design.

As important a lesson as it is to keep yourself and your work in check, it isn’t the best one he gives during his time on stages. What I found to hold more strength is summerized by the quote I included above – the ability to look plainly at a situation and discover the gold from the dust. Rather than burrying it in synthetic beauty and practicallity. Figure out what is needed and what will give that human touch, then make it pretty.

Jacek Utko

You can live in a small, poor country, like me. You can work for a small company, in a boring branch. You can have no budgets, no people. But still, you can put your work to the highest possible level. And everybody can do it, you just need inspiration, vision and determination. And to remember that to be good is not enough.

Jacek Utko is a European newspaper designer who understands the power of design.

He is responsible for massive increases in the sales for several papers throughout Europe. And not just through the delivery of content through good newspaper design, but because of good design period. His work and thoughts on how to display content go beyond the stereotypes and boundaries of the traditional way to design newspaper, which may focus on no more than the columns, rather than the pages.

Instead, he delivers design that focuses on the overall experience of reading a newspaper. Rather than focus on a few columns or a page, he focuses on whole spreads and the entire paper, front to back. He designs work that dances upon the walls of separation between newspaper design, magazine layout and poster artistry. Which is then used to unify and harmonize the entire publication, in an effort to have the reading of all the content and absorption of all the imagery to feel harmonious.