Robert L. Peters

3 May 2011

FITC Toronto 2011…

Toronto, Canada

I gave my presentation at FITC Toronto 2011, the 10th-anniversary gig, earlier today… exploring “why” we do what we do, and “to what end.” My talk included a personal existential narrative (tracing back to the 16th-century Holy Roman Empire) wrapped in a “big-picture exposition” on the power of design to shape culture and influence our tomorrows. Thanks to Shawn Pucknell for bringing me back to FITC on this special occasion (my 8th time giving a talk at FITC I believe).

Thanks also to those in attendance for the positive comments and feedback following the session. As promised, anyone who was registered for this FITC event can contact me and I’ll send you a link to download a PDF version of the presentation.

17 December 2007

FITC Amsterdam


Amsterdam, Netherlands

Momentum is gathering for FITC’s debut European event… on 25 and 26 February 2008 in Amsterdam, at the venerable Felix Meritis, the European Centre for Arts and Sciences. I’ll be giving a talk entitled “Do The Right Thing. Do The Thing Right.”

18 November 2007

FITC Road Show…




Winnipeg, Canada

Saturday was an interesting day back here in the ‘Peg, and I once again gave my “Design 101” talk at FITC’s “Design & Technology” event… though I must admit I felt like somewhat of a dinosaur presenting alongside high-energy Flash aficionados such as Hoss Gifford, Joshua Davis, and Eric Natzke. While my “design primer”presentation dealt with important (read boring?) fundamentals such as the basics of form, composition, typography (e.g. legibility), colour theory, and visual Gestalt principles, theirs exhibited the cutting edge of motion graphics…

22 August 2019

See What I Mean?



Toronto, Canada

On 21 October 2019, I’m slated to give a talk at the #FITCSpotlight ‘Design Ethics‘ event (making this my 9th appearance at an FITC event in the past 14 years). Here’s an abstract of my presentation

See What I Mean?

We live in uncertain times on a rapidly warming, fragile, and over-stressed planet. Tumultuous political, social, ecological, and economic instability — along with information overload, an overwhelming pace of change, threatened eco-systems, and staggering social imbalances — threaten our individual sense of purpose, place, and wellbeing. For the majority of our planet’s 7.7 billion human beings, the world remains a place of inequality, injustice, and suffering; even while the privileged of our “developed world” frolic in a buffet of excess, with gluttonous over-consumption as the daily modus operandi.

It’s been said that designers and artists can see and observe differently, more acutely than others — looking deep inside issues, perceiving hidden relationships and causal patterns, possessing an innate consciousness and natural tendency to question and identify needs in “the big picture.” As today’s world has been largely shaped by designers and intentional “form-givers” of the past few generations, are our creative professions even aware of the considerable responsibility that accompanies what we do, and of the complex forces our work exerts on aesthetic, technological, social, environmental, economic, and political fronts?


30 June 2012

The Keith by Fluevog

Vancouver, BC

I bought a new pair of shoes last week—an event so momentous that my colleagues at Circle insisted I write a post about this (admittedly, I rarely buy shoes—in fact, the last pair I bought was in Chicago, four years ago to the day [I was there giving a talk as part of FITC Chicago]). I’m a tall guy, and I have big feet… size 14 (48-1/2), 320mm long to be precise (12.6″ for those who still measure in inches). Frankly, it’s damn hard to find footware of any kind, never mind anything stylish…

Well, “The Keith,” as the Fluevog footware that I now own is called (first time I’ve ever bought a shoe with its own name) is described as a “knuckledustin’, swaggerin’ shoe that is the perfect attitude accompaniment for all rockin’ rebels and outlaws. Featuring a stitched leather sole with a rubber topy and heel lift, 1.25″ stacked leather Cuban heels, and a strong shark-nose silhouette, the Keith shoe might be the actual epitome of cool… it will take wild horses to drag you away from The Keith Shoe! All you need is a silk scarf and a Telecaster, and the rest is history (mullet and black eyeliner not included).”

Fluevog shoes are designed by the Vancouver-based firm’s founder, John Fluevog, who creates and produces shoes using traditional methods and eco-friendly materials. My “Keiths” are made in a small family-owned factory in Portugal. Due to the fact that they’re made in a traditional method, any cobbler is able to work with them in the future to fix up everything from stitching and resoling to heel lifts. Something tells me that “The Keith” and I will walk a long and winding road together…

2 December 2010

Cause an Effect

Toronto, Canada

I’ve been asked to give a talk at FITC Toronto 2011 (my 4th time with FITC in hogtown I believe… also enjoyed previously contributing in Chicago, Amsterdam, and Winnipeg). This is Sean Pucknell’s/FITC’s 10th anniversary event, and it promises to be “a busload of thrills.” Early-bird pricing for event attendance closes on 11 December. My presentation is entitled Cause an Effect. The blurb reads as follows:

Our globalized society is morphing rapidly from an information era into the age of ideas—at the same time our fragile planet accelerates towards the edge of survival. Those of us involved in creative pursuits (such as data manipulation, visualization and ideation, media-making, image creation, and content delivery) find ourselves thrust suddenly into the leading role of change drivers. Though equipped with previously unimaginable power, the influence we now wield outstrips our own understanding.

This presentation will explore “why” we do what we do, and “to what end.” Expect humor, passion, pithy insights, astute maxims, and a personal existential narrative wrapped in a big-picture exposition on the power of design to shape culture and influence our tomorrows.

14 November 2009

Bill Klingensmith | Drive Project…






New Orleans, Louisiana

I first met Bill Klingensmith at an FITC event in Toronto I was speaking at in early 2006. He had driven north from upstate New York, where he was teaching design at the Rochester Institute of Technology. I was intrigued by a project he described to me over the din of one of the evening parties: DriveProject, which involved shooting thousands of photos from his car window while on a trip across the USA. His original intent was to transform a long automobile journey into a powerful visual experience by condensing the collected images into an interactive presentation on the Internet.

Fast forward to August of the same year… for his next project phase, DriveProject’06 : New Orleans. Aided by advanced techniques and equipment, his goal was to drive through neighborhoods of New Orleans and somehow capture images that would reflect the current state of recovery efforts (or not) in the area one year after Hurricane Katrina. With a Nikon D2X mounted inside a rooftop carrier on his 2003 Subaru Forester and tethered to an Apple MacBook Pro, Bill recorded the trip using a Garmin eTrex Legend GPS device, collecting over eight thousand photographs of the city’s various neighborhoods in five days. Upon returning home, he placed the images into an interactive map on the Internet, allowing visitors to research and explore the city as it stood one year after the devastating storm. Read all about the project and navigate the visual results here.

Bill has since left the University and started his own studio in Rochester in order to “find greater meaning in life through working with his community and other underdogs who share his passion.” He also volunteers his time as president of the Upstate New York chapter of AIGA, and has a website at

Keep up the good work, Bill!

24 August 2008

Special Defects



Eindhoven, the Netherlands

Check out the “personal experimental project and digital playground” of Antonio Costa at (and preview a work-in-progress piece inspired by the work of Chris Jordan entitled Running the Numbers). I had the pleasure of meeting the multi-talented architect/interaction designer/podcaster at FITC Amsterdam earlier this year—Antonio’s just informed me that he’ll be tutoring at the prestigious Academy of Design in the University of Eindhoven this coming semester… best wishes!

23 June 2008

Do the right thing. Do the thing right.




Chicago, Illinois

Following my FITC talk today various people asked if they could receive a transcript (e.g. of the numerous quotations in the presentation). If you’d like me to e-mail you a PDF file, please let me know via the ‘contact’ form here.


21 June 2008

Summer solstice, in Chicago…







Chicago, Illinois

Ev and I are spending the weekend in Chicago, in advance of my speaking at FITC’s Design & Technology Event here. Today’s highlights: a lengthy visit to the Art Institute (even though much of the main gallery is under construction, and a sizable portion of the permanent collection is on tour); an incredible solstice evening at Olive Park beach on Lakeshore Drive (Lake Michigan).

Art: Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate (110 tons of polished stainless steel); Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain; Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges-Pierre Seurat; Nighthawks by Edward Hopper; where did Van Gogh go?

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