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Michelle Obama teamed up with TV’s Tim Gunn on Tuesday to honor the nation’s top designers at the White House for innovations ranging from fashion and architecture to the realm of new computer fonts and floor-cleaning products.
“Good design is good citizenship,” Obama said, quoting the graphic designer Milton Glaser. She said that’s because good design makes life better for everyone.
The first lady hosted a luncheon for winners of the 2011 National Design Awards, which are presented by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City. Obama also invited 15 high school students to join leading names from the worlds of fashion, interactive computer design and other fields in hopes of inspiring them to follow suit.
This year’s design award winners include Matthew Carter of Boston for his lifetime achievements in typeface designs that included creating the fonts Verdana and Georgia for Microsoft.

Michelle Obama and top designers at White House
Michelle Obama.

For 16-year-old Princess Lawrence, it was dizzying to be one of 15 high school students invited to the White House as Michelle Obama honored the winners of the National Design Awards.
In a few heady hours Tuesday, Lawrence got to meet the director behind Kanye West’s music videos, fashion designer Gilles Mendel and other top innovators in the worlds of architecture, graphics and computing. Those hours spent rubbing elbows with the first lady and leading U.S. designers had Lawrence giddy amid the White House whirl, asking herself repeatedly: “Is this real?”
For a day, Lawrence and fellow teens tasted Washington’s fast-paced networking as artists, film directors and designers converged for an East Room luncheon. There, Lawrence was in the midst of the VIPs, introducing herself to Obama as “Princess Lawrence, fashion designer.” Never mind that a few hours earlier she wanted to be a museum curator. She had other ideas after meeting Mendel.
“You’ll probably see me next year” with the fashion winners, she jokingly told the first lady, who smiled at the junior from Washington’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts.
Obama teamed up Tuesday with TV’s Tim Gunn and the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City to honor the designers for innovations ranging from fashion and architecture to the realm of new computer fonts and even floor-cleaning products.
The awards are in their 12th year, but this was the first time the first lady invited students to lunch with those being honored. It’s the kind of connection Obama was likely hoping for: She has made a point of inviting students into the halls of power to learn and be inspired.
“There are a lot of people out there who think you guys can do whatever you want to,” Obama told the 15 teens who attended an East Room luncheon with the design winners. “They’re willing to take the time, on one of the days that we’re here to honor them, to give something back to you all.”
After the pep talk, it was on to the awards.
“Good design is good citizenship,” Obama said, quoting the graphic designer Milton Glaser. She said that’s because good design makes life “glorious for the rest of us.”
This year’s design award winners include Matthew Carter, 73, of Boston for his lifetime achievements in typeface design that included creating the fonts Verdana and Georgia for Microsoft and others for major newspapers and magazines. He shared secrets of his work, telling the students he starts with the letters “h,” “o” and “p” when designing a new font.
One personal secret he confided: his handwriting is “terrible,” and he doesn’t like to draw on paper. He only uses a computer for his work now.
“I can see in my mind’s eye what I want a letter to look like,” he told them.



One Response to “Michelle Obama and top designers at White House”

  1. link Says:

    President Obama and first lady walk out of the North Portico of the White House to begin to greet Nordic leaders for the state dinner.

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