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Joshua Berger: Plazm Magazine

Doing Better: How I Broke My Brain and Changed My Mind

Website: Plazm Magazine

When I set out on my bike for my normal ride to work toward the Steel Bridge on May 18, 2012, my to-do list was packed with stuff—call designers for Plazm, the magazine I art direct; manage global retail campaign for the launch of Windows 8; prepare my work for an art installation; take my family to my cousin’s birthday party. A couple weeks later, my task list said, "Wake up more," written on a whiteboard in my hospital room. I had no memory of the accident itself. Apparently I flew over the handlebars and smashed the left side of my head into the pavement, resulting in a severe Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI.

My bike accident put a process into motion: coma, returning to consciousness, inhabiting a pre-verbal state, and being unable to walk or control my body. My view of the earth, human life, and our role as individuals has changed. I am still recovering and exploring new territory. As I have added things back into my life, I have taken the approach of evaluation. How much time do these activities take? How engaging are they to me? Do they fit my values? There are many things clamoring for our attention in today's world. These can cloud our judgment and distract us from what truly matters. How do we filter out the noise and find what is meaningful to us? This is an opportunity to do better.

Josh Berger has been recognized for his leadership and vision for over twenty years. A founding art director of the award-winning magazine Plazm and a creative director working with some of the world's most recognized brands, Josh consistently inspires his collaborators and clients to produce their best, most committed work. Josh came to international attention in the early 1990s, when the magazine he co-founded became part of an uncrushable revolution in graphic design. Plazm magazine gathered awards, accolades, and criticism alike, and in the mid 1990s spawned its own design studio, Plazm Media. It was listed by ID magazine as one of the 40 most influential design studios in the world and received the Creative Resistance Award from Adbusters. The complete catalog of Plazm magazine resides in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Denver Art Museum, and the Princeton Architecture Library.

Josh has also served as the executive creative director of ID Branding and the brand content director at Liquid Agency building brand identities, editorial content, interactive experiences, custom typography, social strategies, original publications, advertising campaigns, and retail environments for clients including Nike, Microsoft, LucasFilm, Samsung, ESPN, TriMet, and MTV.

For his book design work, Josh won Gold Medals from the Portland Design Festival and the Leipzig Book Fair (with John C Jay), and has been recognized by the AIGA Annual Show and the Art Directors Club. As a fine artist, Berger's prints, installations, and streeet interventions often confront sociopolitical and environmental issues. He was selected as a finalist for the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards at the Portland Art Museum. His work has been shown at the TBA Festival, the Museum of Sex, at the ZGRAF festival in Croatia, and in Times Square.

Joshua Berger illustration by Patrick Long.

Earlier Event: February 10
Nahanni Arntzen: Nahanni Reforestation
Later Event: March 10
Jack Harris: Fort George Brewery