There comes a point in every designer's life when he sets out in search of inspiration beyond what his everyday life can provide. Sometimes this inspiration comes from talking to a mentor; sometimes this inspiration comes from a walk down a street never taken; and sometimes this inspiration can only come at the end of a great adventure into the unknown.
I'm at that point in my life when I need adventure and inspiration of my own. Only two days ago I graduated from college and for the first time in my life I can honestly say that I have no five-year plan. Over the next few weeks, before I pack my bags and move down to Brooklyn, I will fulfill a lifelong dream: to do the great American road trip.
I've grown up watching movies like Into the Wild, The Motorcycle Diaries, or even It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and wondering, when can I have my own adventure? Well, my time has finally come. But this will no ordinary road trip—I will be doing this road trip Core77-style. In every city that my cadre of road trip adventurers and I visit, we will bring you the latest and greatest in design and innovation to come out of that destination. As young designers, this will be the next step in our education.
Our itinerary includes 25 states we'll be stopping in at least as many cities along the way, including:
» Boston, MA
» Philadelphia, PA
» Washington, DC
» Richmond, VA
» Charlotte, NC
» Atlanta, GA
» New Orleans, LA
» Austin, TX
» Las Vegas, NV
» Los Angeles, CA
» San Francisco, CA
» Portland, OR
» Seattle, WA
» Boise, ID
» Salt Lake City, UT
» Denver, CO
» Omaha, NE
» Madison, WI
» Chicago, IL
» Detroit, MI
» Pittsburgh, PA
Do you live in one of these cities? Do you know of any designers or innovators that we should check out? Want to meet up? Drop me a line at: core77dave [at] gmail [dot] com.
Also follow our adventures on Twitter with the hashtag #route77.
See you on the road!
Notes from the Road: Route 77 Travelogue
» Digital Storytellers (Philadelphia, PA; Washington DC; Richmond, VA)
» Defining the Future of Design in Charlotte, NC & Atlanta, GA
» Shaping Communities through Design in New Orleans, LA & Austin, TX
» The Future of Cars (Phoenix, AZ & Los Angeles, CA)
» Artefact and Astro Studios (San Francisco, CA)
» Ziba and Pensole (Portland, OR)
» Red Camper and Matter (Denver, CO & Boise, ID)
» The Midwest Doesn't Suck (Chicago, IL, Omaha, NE & Madison, WI)
» Why I Love Detroit
» Cop Cars and Sideshow Performers (Connersville, IN & Pittsburgh, PA)
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Glad to hear you'll be rolling through Madison, WI! Stop by and see us at Design Concepts. We're an innovation and design firm here in town. We'd love to introduce ourselves and take you on a tour of the city, too. Lots of great work being done in the area.
The Martin Agency
MWV (Mead Westvaco)
C. F. Martin in Nazareth PA is still making amazing guitars by hand and offering tours. The Gibson Guitar factory in Memphis is cool, and the Louisville Slugger factory in... well, Louisville, is well worth touring if you're in the neighbourhood. There are still plenty of people making great and iconic things in America.
You are going to want to do more than glance at places like Austin, Detroit and Atlanta. I definitely agree you should add Milwaukee to the list, as well as Memphis. The list is too long for one trip.
I was going to suggest checking out Yee Haw Industries in Knoxville, but I just looked at their site and we're too late, after 15 years they closed in April. I'm glad I got to meet them and have a tour.