Designers As EntrepreneursTM

Terms coined in 1977 by Patrick M. Redmond:

Designers As EntrepreneursTM and “Designer As EntrepreneurTM

Patrick M. Redmond (b. Milwaukee 1950; resident of Minnesota since 1968), of coined the term “Designers As Entrepreneurs” and “Designer As Entrepreneur” at the 1977 “Shop Talk” International Design Conference in Aspen (IDCA), Colorado, when, during an ad hoc open-topic breakout session, he, at age 27, proposed that a panel discussion take place in the main tent on the topic -- which he originated, initiated, and proposed -- of designers working as entrepreneurs themselves rather than working, primarily, as designers providing design services for clients. This became a popular topic of discussion during the open session and he discussed this with individuals attending the conference including Craig Vetter, of Vetter Motorcycle Products (Vetter Windjammer, Vetter Wheelchair, etc.), Richard Saul Wurman (Access Press), Anne Blocker (Business Consultant), and others. That day at the conference in 1977, designer George Nelson had been scheduled to be featured during an afternoon session under the big tent but he had been ill so an alternative needed to be featured on short notice. Patrick Redmond suggested/proposed with enthusiasm, to Jane Thompson, IDCA Conference Chair, that a panel discussion on the topic “Designers As Entrepreneurs” take place instead of the George Nelson session (since he was ill). She approved since this had become such a popular topic that Patrick Redmond had initiated during the ad hoc open discussion session earlier. With the approval of the conference Chair,
Patrick Redmond assisted with identifying and the impromptu recruiting of panelists who were themselves working as “designers as entrepreneurs”, including Craig Vetter, Richard Saul Wurman, and others. Patrick Redmond recalls Richard Saul Wurman moderating the discussion. The topic was so popular that it was integrated into what then became the main theme of the next year’s (1978) IDCA Conference re: the business of design. 

The following is quoted from for academic reference:

" invitational summit was held by the leadership of the International Design Conference in Aspen (IDCA) in partnership with AIGA.” (see

The following is quoted from for academic reference:


Chicago industrialist Walter Paepcke founded the International Design Conference in Aspen more than fifty years ago. He and his wife Elizabeth envisioned Aspen as a place where leaders from throughout the world could gather to share ideas. Their vision was first realized in 1949 when the Goethe Bicentennial celebration attracted more than 2,000 people to Aspen to honor the 200th birthday of Goethe, the great German humanist. Albert Schweitzer opened the convocation. In 1951, two years after the Goethe Bicentennial, Paepcke established the IDCA as an opportunity to bring together designers, artists, engineers, business and industry leaders. That first June, some 250 attendees and their families assembled for four days of presentations on the theory and practice of design. The title, "Design as a Function of Management," was chosen to ensure the participation of the business community. The IDCA, along with the Aspen Institute and the Aspen Music Festival and School, grew out of the Paepckes' belief that Aspen provided an ideal environment for nurturing the whole human being. Isolated from the distractions of urban life and inspired by the abundant natural beauty of the Colorado Rockies, people could take advantage of Aspen's recreational, intellectual and cultural resources. They would return home renewed in "body, mind and spirit," a concept that has come to be known as "The Aspen Idea." Today, Aspen is renowned for its wide range of cultural activities and opportunities for learning.”