Hey everyone! Just as a warning this is a loooong post but I am just so excited to share with you guys my trip to Boston!! :D
So this weekend a co-worker and I were able to attend the HOW Design Live Conference in Boston, MA! It was seriously one of the best weekends I've experience. There were fantastic speakers, wonderful workshops, super awesome design, an incredible bookstore, and tons and TONS of FREE STUFF!!! I seriously have a HUGE pile sitting on my bed that I just want to jump into and shove all of the great design in my face!
It was so sweet!
I don't even know where to begin talking about all that happened. But I'm sure the beginning would work :)
THURSDAY JUNE 21
Becca and I got to the airport and everything went well from Cincy to Washington. It was in Washington when our flight got delayed by about 3 hours that we had time to get some dinner and do THIS to the tablecloth ;) never leave a paper table cover in the hands of two designers.
So anyhow we FINALLY got to Boston and driving through the city at night was so beautiful.
FRIDAY JUNE 22
(3 months till my wedding btw)
So Friday morning we woke up early and took a trip on the subway to the Hynes Convention Center in downtown Boston. The conference started off with studio tours of graphic design firms around the city.
Be sure to check out their websites they are all incredible firms with amazing work. Their offices are so open and stimulating....I LOVED THEM!!! I wasn't able to get pictures at Weymouth. But I did get some at Toth + Co. As well as Cory McPherson Nash.
Toth + Co.
Corey McPherson Nash
This studio was really really nice. They had fruit out for us and also gave us a flash drive at the end of the tour. They also had this little contest going on where they encouraged you to take pictures of their studio and tweet it #Coreylivetour. Whoever has the best picture at the end of the weekend would win of these awesome shadow boxes each of the employees made. It was super fun trying to capture their space (which was made from a reconstructed old school house).
So after the tours Becca and I headed out to find some lunch. We walked around and came across this sweet restaurant called Max Brenner. It was delicious! The whole place smelled of chocolate and the food was super delicious! It also had this BEAUTIFUL branding, as well as KILLER desserts :) (see below!)
After lunch we went back to the Hynes center and went to our workshop! It was "Change the Way You Think About Type" with Dr. Shelley Gruendler. We spent 2 hours working with other designers doing these little typography games that actually were a lot of fun! We also learned so much about type, the history of type, and how to look at it as an art form.
During the summer she teaches at Type Camp. She gave us this YouTube channel to watch.
She also gave us some great resources to check out.
That evening we walked back to the hotel, checking out the city along with way. Here are some of the beautiful buildings we saw!
Once we were ready we headed to the Quincy Market. A hoppin place with a market (not a lot different than Findlay Market here in Cincy) with tons of food, music, restaurants, shops, and bars. We had a great time eating at Cheers and just taking in the culture!
GELATTO!!!! :) so yummy
SATURDAY JUNE 23
So Saturday was the first day of the conference where we had the speakers. I don't want to ramble on and on about how AMAZING everyone was...but it might be hard :)
Our first designer we got to listen speak was Chipp Kidd, Under the Covers with Chipp Kidd.
Chip is a book cover designer who does fantastic work. He's actually incredibly raunchy and dropped the F-Bomb about 15 times, BUT he's super interesting and his design thought process is fascinating.
He's actually created a new Batman Novel titled "Batman: Death by Design". He showed us part of the story and it looks like it'll be a great read.
Next we heard Johanna Bjoerk talk about The INs and OUTs of Working In-House.
She was especially awesome since that is what Becca and I are, in-house designers for Matson Money. It was so nice to see that the issues and barriers that we run into at our job, everyone else in an in-house position are running into them too. But it also made us be appreciative of the benefits and perks of having a corporate job. Johanna had a list of points to help in-house designers be their best.
- Make Friends (or at least not enemies)
- Respect Corporate Policies (there are worse things than dress codes)
- Beware of Greige (make your workspace creative)
- Stay Curious (the world is very inspiring)
- Have Side Projects (they make you a better designer)
- Learn to Write (it makes you seem smarter and more professional)
- Write Great Creative Briefs (to get your work approved)
- Become a Storyteller (makes your work come alive)
- Learn to Speak the Language (otherwise they won't understand you)
Another thing we covered were the positives of in-house positions such as stability, tech support, name recognition, being able to use a mail room, and awesome corporate outings :)
Drawing Conclusions with Von Glitschka was our next lecture.
This guy was great. He really pushed the point that drawing and sketching out an idea is super important to the design process. We as designers need to not LOOK, but CREATE!!! Looking will put us at the risk of copy-write....and that's never good.
Next was Type Lessons From Young Guns with Allen Haley.
Allen talked about the incredible work that is coming out of the next generation of designers; college students, recent graduates, and 30ish professionals. Every designer he showed us was under the age of 30, and it was beautiful!
Characteristics of a young-gun designer:
- Seductive Typography
-Typography that creates a venue
- Type that changes a venue
- Type alluring lettering
- Engaging typography
- Making a typographical game
- Provocative typography
- They are UNAFRAID!!
Our last speaker of the day talked about The Standard 5: Special Effects with Sappi paper and Kit Hinrichs of Studio Hinrichs.
Mr. Hinrichs introduced the Standard 5 book and showed how the creative use of special effects can make a printed piece dimensional, tactile, intriguing and even interactive. This book is AMAZING I've looked at it at least a dozen times and it just fascinates me. What can be printed on paper today is just so cool!!!
Another thing that made this lecture so neat is that Sappi, also has worked with the Organization 826 National a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students with their writing skills, and helping teachers inspire their students to write. Its an incredible cause and there is one located in Boston. After the session we each received a free copy of The Standard 5 and also a poster signed by Kit Hinrichs. As well as an awesome octopus tattoo!
So that was the end of our first day! On our walk home we ran into this food truck that sold cupcakes!
We shared a chocolate chip cookie dough one that was sooo delish!
Boston really is a great city to go out in.
SUNDAY JUNE 24
Sunday was an absolutely beautiful day!!! Our first speaker was Debbie Millman talking about Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits. She was fabulous, she talked about how the brands we use today have been transformed because we as humans are constantly in need of change. Our history has moved through 5 waves;
Wave 1: (1875-1920) - brands guaranteed quality and greatness, we expected them to be safe. Coca-Cola.
Wave 2: (1920-1965) - Brands become identified by people. Betty Crocker, Uncle Ben. People related these characters to their brands and associate with them.
Wave 3: (1963-1985) - Brands as self-expresssive, they provide status such as Nike, Levi, and Malboro cigs (which were actually advertised for women at first!)
Wave 4: (1985-2000) - Emotional Transformation such as Disney, Starbucks, and Apple computers. They created these emotions that people identified when they saw the brand.
Wave 5: (2000-present) - Limbic brands, creates an experience to connect people. Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter, MySpace, Pinterest, ect.
Its not what the next new trend is that makes it hot, its what we do with it!
Our second speaker on Sunday was Armin Vit talking about How to Make Killer Logos and Identities in the 21st Century. This guy is funny. He went through tons and tons of logos and talked about why they worked...and why they sucked. One of his main suggestions is just to not make a logo look like a penis.
No penis logos!
His idea of a logo that works is: Simple, Memorable, and Perfectly executed. He also brought up the topic of trends and whether you should avoid them or ride them out? His suggestion was to avoid them if you can, but if they are relevant to what you're final design needs then go for it. Haters are gonna hate no matter what.
To create a great logo you must:
1. Pick a story - a relevent story - and tell it!
2. Execute flawlessly
3. Blend the austerity of mid-10th-century design principles with the robustness of the 21st century innovation.
So I know I don't have many pictures of the speakers, but it was really hard to get a good one with my phone unless they were projected on the big screen like Chipp, and most of the time they were not. But I do have more of our lunch outings!!!
Today we walked around a different block and found a really REALLY cute street that had a lot of different independent businesses as well as some more commercial stores.
The first one we went into was Johnny Cupcakes.
NO SUGAR! NO CARBS! NO FAT!
Johnny Cupcakes is a company that sells t-shirts, buttons, magnets, boxers, and other items. They are super nice and have a killer branding!
How sharp is that business card!
After not actually buying any cupcakes, we had lunch at this extremely yummy italian cafe where the birds were not at all afraid to pay you a visit.
Why hello there!
Another place we stopped at was Fish and Bone, an urban pet essentials store. Becca found this adorable collar for her dog Lilly and there were also these sweet dog treats that looked good enough to eat myself!
After looking at dog treats..we did finally get some treats for ourself :)
Lemon Blueberry cupcake! Probably the fanciest cupcake I've ever had.
Once we got back to the conference we went to see Mikey Burton (from OHIO!) speak on Will Work for Work. His topic was about turning your freelance/extra projects into a profit for yourself. His story of his own journey was really fascinating. One of the coolest thing he did was create a project re-designing book covers for classic novels such as "Lord of the Flies", "Animal Farm", "The Great Gatsby", and "The Outsiders". Check them out, they are fantastic! They also got him an article in The Daily Heller.
His tips to making your work work for you are:
1. Make lots of stuff!
2. Be Patient
3. Good things happen
LOVE WHAT YOU DO!
While we were talking to Mikey afterwards about Ohio (he was the first person we met at the conference from Ohio) one of the workers from HOW approached us and was like "I'm from Ohio too! I'm from Cincinnati!" and of course we're like SERIOUSLY!? And according to her, and we felt super dumb for not knowing this, HOW Magazine is based in Blue Ash! Right outside Cincinnati!!!!!!!! WWWWHHHHAAAATTT???? How sweet is that!
Our very last speaker for the HOW Conference was Melissa Ivone Morris talking about How to Survivie Your Soul Crushing Day Job. Now I know the title is a little harsh, and there is no way I would describe my job as "soul crushing", I really enjoy my job! But as any in-house design position, sometimes it is not as creatively stimulating as one would wish.
Melissa is an extremely entertaining speaker as well as an avid blogger, designer, and crafter. Her blog Operation Nice has been talked about on Good Morning America and received national recognition. She is sooo funny and cute and you just want to go up there and be her best friend. She worked for a medical supply company for 9 years where she created pamphlets and brochures about wound care, signs to be hung in the bathroom, and other hospital issues. Sounds exciting right? :(
Her talk was about keeping your creative muscles strong even though you may not be passionate about your day job.
She had 6 tips for helping you survive:
1. Think Positive
2. Let Your Freak Flag Fly!!! - be yourself and don't conform to the office
3. Join a Gang - get a design posse and keep them close
4. Get Passionate - about anything and go for it!
5. Get Busy - get more skilz, get out there and be involved
6. Don't Stop Believing - go for what you want, make a goal list.
Protect your soul and don't get crushed!
Another cool thing we did was get posters signed by these rockstars; Jake and Pum Lefebure from Design Army!!!!!!! Check out the website, their work is A-MAZING!!
OK so finally we heading back home and on our walk we passed by a street with these incredibly stunning homes as well as a park with tons of weeping willows and a charming pond.
MONDAY JUNE 24
A.K.A. airport D-Day
OOOOK so I don't need to bore you with our travel adventure home, but lets just say that I now feel comfortable handling ANYTHING the airport throws at me. We had 3 delayed flights, 2 of those being completely canceled, about 5 lines to stand in, and lots and lots of waiting. We got there at 9:30am and left around 7:00pm. There was weather, airplane problems, Obama landing, New York's airport closing, and 2 guys who almost got into a flight because one of them "pushed the other!". It was crazy.
Silver lining!! We did get to see Debbie Millmanm, and tell her that we thought her talk at HOW was super. She said we made her day, and gave us two sketchbooks she designed. It was great :)
So finally we got our hotel room for the evening figured out and the airport was actually extremely nice. They paid for our taxi cap to and from the hotel, as well as the hotel room, and they gave us meal vouchers. They also gave us this STELLAR overnight kit that included an extremely large t-shirt, razor and shaving cream, cotton balls with q-tips, as well as a toothbrush and the smallest bottle of toothpaste in the world!
The rest of the night involved a trip to Walmart (since our luggage was on the plane to New York we decided to not get on), ordering takeout from a local pizza place, and watching Shawshank Redemption on TV.
The next morning we went back to the airport, and buzzed through security again. One of the guards recognized me from the day before (probably because I was still in the same clothes) and said I looked "Wicked Familiar!" haha made me laugh :)
Our flight did get held back by about 40 minutes but we boarded and FINALLY flew home to Cincinnati!
I ended my day by doing laundry, laying out int he sun, and going to a Zumba class to buzz off some steam. It actually was a great day :)
SO! To any other designers out there, if you ever get the chance to go to HOW Design Live TAKE IT!!!! I want to go back so bad next year it isn't even funny. I hope that my job feels like it was worth sending us because we absolutely loved it and appreciated it soooo much! So thank you Matson Money, my boss Kim and my other boss Michelle for deciding it was a good idea to send us. We are so grateful! :)