Presented by AIGA San Francisco, Compostmodern is an interdisciplinary design conference dedicated to transforming products, industries and lives through sustainable design choices. What started as a way to catalyze the sustainability conversation has now become a world-class event and a reference point for the design profession. The conference name, Compostmodern, was conceived as a way to view communication in a new way that pushed the boundaries of what is possible. The 2011 event will build upon the success of 2009, expanding the one-day event to two days. The new format will include inspirational speakers, as in the past, and will also feature networking sessions, opportunities for open discussion, and platforms for launching real-world projects. Day one, which will be held in the Herbst Theatre, includes presentations from luminaries and cutting-edge thinkers. Day two will be an UnConference where participants will drive breakout sessions and incubate projects.


The conference's evolutionary timeline reflects the growing awareness and interest of designers in seeing themselves as part of the solution in creating a more sustainable world.


Compostmodern was conceived by Phil Hamlett (then AIGA SF Environment Chair), Jennifer Pattee and Amos Klausner (then AIGA SF Chapter Director).


The inaugural event, co-presented by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) was held at the California College of the Arts (CCA) San Francisco Campus and drew over 400 attendees.


The event moved to the Academy of Art University's Morgan Auditorium and drew 500+ attendees. With the establishment—and subsequent involvement—of the AIGA Center for Sustainable Design (CFSD), alongside AIGA SF, production of the event broadened. The event was produced by Phil Hamlett.


Gaby Brink (AIGA SF Sustainability Chair) was lead producer with counterparts Phil Hamlett (AIGA Center for Sustainable Design) and Don Savoie (AIGA SF Executive Director). The 2008 event drew 600 attendees from all over the country. The addition of Joel Makower as emcee and speaker podcasts on the website further extended the conference's reach and appeal.


The event was moved to the Herbst Theatre and once again Gaby Brink was lead producer with counterparts Phil Hamlett and Don Savoie. The event drew 600 attendees from all over the country. The event was webcast live and edited content was made available to other AIGA chapters and educational institutions for viewing parties.

Developing Principles

Building on the success of the Compostmodern conference, AIGA sought to create a sustainability framework for designers and a perennial online community where designers could co-create, share, and showcase sustainability best practices, tools, stories and ideas. This led to the 2009 launch of The Living Principles for Design, an actionable framework for integrated sustainability and a common point of reference to which all designers can refer. The ongoing development of the principles is dependent on the contributions of the design community at large.

About AIGA San Francisco

AIGA, the professional association for design, is the oldest and largest membership association for professionals engaged in the discipline, practice and culture of designing. Founded as the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 1914 as a small, exclusive club, AIGA now represents more than 22,000 designers through national activities and local programs developed by more than 60 chapters and 240 student groups.

The San Francisco Chapter of AIGA is one of the largest and most active in the country, representing over 1,500 designers in graphics, interaction, experience, motion, and affiliated fields in the Greater Bay Area. Run by an Executive Director and a volunteer board of directors, the organization celebrates design and provides unparalleled opportunities for networking within the local design community and a variety of resources to advance professionalism and broaden knowledge. AIGA San Francisco's events stimulate discourse and enrich the collective experience of design.