College of Design
Maurice Blanks

Maurice Blanks

Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Blu Dot

Blu Dot: Our Experiment in Design, Branding and Business

October 2014

When Maurice and his partners started Blu Dot, the Minneapolis-based modern home furnishings company in 1997, they vowed to design the company itself as carefully as they designed their products. They applied the spirit and the concepts that informed their product design process -- simplicity, efficiency, humility -- to all parts of the business, from the brand to the supply chain. Maurice will share the story of Blu Dot and how the company's simple ideas about design have driven its brand and shaped its business.


Maurice Blanks is Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Blu Dot. Prior to Blu Dot, Maurice practiced architecture in Chicago, most recently in his own firm, Maurice Blanks Architects. He has an MArch from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BA from Williams College. Maurice serves on the Board of Trustees of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and on the Advisory Board of The College of Design at the University of Minnesota.

Blu Dot was founded in 1997 by Maurice Blanks, John Christakos and Charlie Lazor with the goal of producing well-designed modern home furnishings. Blu Dot brand products are sold through independent retailers across the US, directly through and through the company's own retail stores in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Austin. Blu Dot product designs have received numerous awards, including the 2003 ICFF Editor's Award for furniture, the 2010 ICFF Editor's Award for Best Body of Work and numerous Good Design awards from the Chicago Athenaeum. In 2002 Blu Dot was a finalist in the Cooper Hewitt National Design Awards, and the founders were honored at a reception at the White House. Blu Dot's work has been exhibited at numerous museums, including MoMA, the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Blu Dot and its marketing collaborators have also received several awards for packaging and marketing, including: "One Show Entertainment" Gold Award in Innovative Media, 2011; "Cannes Lion International Advertising Festival" Bronze Cyber Lion Award, 2010; "Best Full Page Campaign" Award, MPA Kelly Awards, 2010; "Best of Category: Packaging," ID Magazine Design Review, 2000.