Sniff Crayons – Session Reviews

Reviews of Sessions I attended

A lot of info to cover and I know I didn’t do these sessions much justice with my recap but I hope you enjoy what I do have. I highly recommend you check out the Twitter searches on these, there are a TON more amazing little tidbits to inspire you!

And if they don’t, sniff crayons, its proven to take you back to childhood and spark your creativity!

The official HOW Design tag: #HOWLive
Opening Keynote – Being Alive in the Moment

  • Kristina Robbins and Jo McGinley, Founders of Juice in Los Angeles, CA
  • This session wasn’t my cup of tea but they did have some good points about allowing yourself to be in the moment and open to the possibilities.

Galumphing, Goats on Roofs and Other Revelations to Spark

  • Sam Harrison, Founder of Words-Ideas-Actions in Atlanta, GA
  • This session was such an amazing way to start the day! He talked about how we need to be silly and give ourselves time to play. “If no one ever did anything silly, nothing serious would ever get done.” Make mistakes, take risks, ask questions, look outside and stretch yourself. “Does your work inspire you? Or tire you?” If it tires you, replace it with something that inspires you.
  • A great story about changing perspective:
    • A kid was out practicing being the “best batter in the world”, he threw a ball in the air, swing to hit it and missed. “I’m the best batter in the world!” Threw a ball up in the air, swing to hit it, and another miss! “I’m the best batter in the world!” Threw another ball in the air, swing, and a miss. He stopped for a minute and before he threw the next ball in the air he said, “I’m the best pitcher in the world!”

Creative Stuff: The Comprehensive Bulleted List

  • Chris Elkerton, Creative Director at Zygoht Partners in Toronto, ON
  • I loved listening to everything in this session! A few key points: get inspired, get hands on, keep a healthy mindset, and bring it all together. Never lose the kid in you! STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER! Take the time to do YOUR projects. And lastly, change your prospective!

Get Out of Your Rut!

  • Cami Tavis-Groves, Graphic Designer at American Public Works Associations in Kansas City, MO
  • This was a very interactive and fun presentation. When I walked in the room I saw 20 posters on the wall and each had a different icon/image on it. The group would yell out numbers and Cami would tell a story based on the number on one of the posters. It was energetic, entertaining, and informative! A few things I took from it: try something new, ask questions, stay humble, don’t give up, and change your surroundings so that it positively affects you.
  • And possibly the one thing that I will forever remember and wish I knew in college: YOU ARE NOT YOUR DESIGNS! You are not your creations! You are not the one being critiqued!

How the New Kids on the Block Do It

  • Mig Reyes, Interactive Designer at Threadless in Chicago, IL
  • I cannot say enough good things about this session. Seriously, I think this one was my favorite! Mig talked about how he got his start and how he works with design. He told it like it was and laid it all out there. Which is why I think I enjoyed it so much…there was no fluff! A few take aways: make LOTS of stuff every day, build something for yourself – create a passion project, do work that matters to you, be open and check the ego, no designer was “born this way,” you have to get through the sh*t first, and lastly, “If this sh*t was easy, we wouldn’t be paying $1400 to go to a conference!”
  • You gotta check out Layer Tennis, it’s a great way to stay creative and is a 15min activity. And congrats to Mig for being the Layer Tennis champ!

Where Ideas Come from and Where They Go

  • Stephen Doyle, Founder of Doyle Partners in New York, NY
  • This session was full of great images, projects, and tidbits of information! It included the 6 Senses of Design: appropriateness, community, wonder, nonsense, purpose, and scale. All of the projects and images Stephen showed were out of this world amazing. A few take aways: you can’t own an idea because they always come from something else, “intelligence is nothing without delight,” have ambition, selfishness, and naivety, and make your clients think that your ideas are theirs.

The NEW Web Typography: Where the Sexy Is

  • Jason Cranford Teague, Managing Director of UX at Forum One in Alexandria, VA
  • This session was all about the web. I loved the things he had to say! It was very informative as far as how to use web fonts, where to get them, and using them successfully in your designs. Did you know, there are about 150,000 fonts in existence and only 5 core web fonts? There are so much more with @font-face though! I learned how to create a web font and why it’s important. “Typography is to type as voice is to speech.” Mix up your online fonts and make your webpages stand out! Besides, who gets excited about an entire website in Arial?
  • Session Notes

The Un-Guide to Creativity and Brainstorming

  • Chris Chapman, Graphic Designer at Disney Design Group in Kississimee, FL
  • I would first like to say, this kid has my dream job. No joke. Ever since I knew what Disney was I have been fascinated with what they do. When I was little I used to tell my mom I was going to be the person that colored in the cartoons…when they used to make cartoons with pen and paper. Every report I ever had to give in school was related to Walt Disney. Why I didn’t pursue a career with Disney after college is beyond me.
  • Much like the other sessions I went to, Chris’s passion showed through. This session was a top contender for first place on my favorites list. I sat there in awe and rapidly writing and tweeting anything and everything I could. A few things I learned: go by your gut reactions, rapidly fail – that’s when you get to an awesome idea, be in the kid phase when ideating, we create the box, you cannot think like an adult and make great things, the invisible creative activity creates measurable activity (so when you’re starring off into space thinking, you might not be able to measure that or see the ideas moving, but they’re definitely there), and experiences can be damaging even if they are non-verbal so be conscious of how you act around others.
  • One of the best things Chris mentioned was how they run meetings at Disney. If you start thinking like an adult and play the ‘devils advocate’ on all ideas, you get a warning and have to wear a silly hat or outfit, or get shot with a water gun. I wish I could do this in all my meetings! Think of the creative possibilities if EVERYONE brainstorming ideas, acted like children!

Sketch, Sketch, Sketch

  • Jake Lefebure and Pum Lefebure, Founders of Design Army in Washington, DC
  • This session, as you probably could guess, was all about the art of sketching. Design Army starts all of their amazing ideas with a sketch. They share their ideas to the clients via sketch and in black and white. This allows them to convey the idea, without getting into the details of color. “Don’t stop sketching, we were born to sketch” is one quote that I will always remember. A few other great things to keep in mind: renderings are not final and leave room for edits, an idea is not an idea unless you execute it, everyone can sketch – you can sketch in lists, doodles, or cut/paste.
  • And finally, probably one of the best things to remember: Architects don’t build 2 buildings and ask the client which one they like the best, they draw sketches. Designers shouldn’t either. COLLABORATE YOUR IDEAS!

All Your Creativity Questions Answered – Panel Discussion

  • The Panel: Deborah Morrison, Chambers Distinguished Professor of Advertising, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR | Heather Lins, Founder, Heather Lins Home, Madison, WI | Chris Chapman, Graphic Designer, Disney Design Group, Kississimee, FL | Chris Elkerton, Creative Director, Zygoht Partners, Toronto, ON
  • This was a session where you could ask this panel anything and everything related to creativity. Some really amazing dialog came from this session! I think the best way to share everything is just to bullet point it all….
    • Find your passion for a self-started project
    • Show your thoughts
    • This is a generous profession, embrace it!
    • Put your own touch on things and share your ideas
    • MBA: Manage By Absence
    • Designers NEED to stay in the WHOLE process
    • The entirety of a business needs to be creative – not just the creative team
    • Have clients tell you what they want to happen, not how to do your job
    • For your portfolio: Don’t just show the final product, show what you wanted to do with it
    • Tell an interesting story and tell it well with your designs
    • Design schools need to start teaching business! KNOW BUSINESS!
    • For those that are afraid of change: do you want to be CDs, or do you want to be iTunes?
  • And to leave you with one of the best Disney quotes ever from Chris Chapman, “We’re not in the business of making money, we’re in the business of making memories.”

Closing Keynote – Fascinate: How to Persuade and Captivate

  • Sally Hogshead, Author and Consultant from Jacksonville, FL
  • Before this we were told to figure out our F Score here: I did and figured out my Primary Trigger was Rebellion, Secondary was Mystique, and Dormant was Trust.
  • Sally started off telling a story of a Disney ride. One side was the orange ticket and the other side had a green ticket. The orange ticket was not for the faint of heart, it was thrilling, exciting, and dangerous! The green ticket was for those that like calm, simple, and enjoyable rides with no real surprises. As you can imagine, the line for the Orange ticket was long and filled with teens and young adults. The line for the Green was not so long and filled with older adults. Sally took the Orange ticket because it ‘fascinated’ her. After the ride, she was curious so she also went on the Green ticket ride. Can you guess the difference? NONE!
  • So, what do you do to fascinate your audience?
  • Some great take aways: you can be comfortable or creative but not both, in a competitive market the most fascinating idea wins, attention span for most is down to 9 seconds…FASCINATE THEM! Make your work exciting and your structure boring, it is not enough to be the best, make people fall in love with your ideas, and lastly, my all time fav….99.9% of your DNA is the same as everyone else, so use your 0.1% to the fullest!
  • Sit on the Throne of Agony – presentation by Sally with the 5 emotional steps of the creative process

My Links from HOW Design Live

HOW Design Live Conference Cami Travis-Groves Deborah Morrison Jason Cranford-Teague Sam Harrison
My notes from the conference Chris Chapman Heather Lins Mig Reyes Stephen Doyle
My Conference Presentation Chris Elkerton Jake & Pum Lefebure Sally Hogshead  

Does it Inspire you? Or Tire you?

The HOW Design Live Conference
definitely inspired me!

It’s been about a week since I set foot in the lovely area of downtown Chicago for the HOW Design Conference. I was so excited to be back downtown! I spent 2 summers there and wished I never left, it is such an amazing place to be!

My experience at the HOW Design Live Conference was inspiring, fascinating, exhilarating, and a once in a life time kind of feeling. This is the third time I have been fortunate enough to attend this conference and every time I have gone, I have a feeling of ‘being home.’ Being around like-minded people and people that strive to make the world better through design is something I can’t even begin to explain. This industry is known for being generous and open minded so when I’m there, everyone wants to know what I’m working on and how they can help make it better.

One of the sessions I signed up for was a Portfolio Review. This is where up and coming designers have the chance to show the attendees of the conference what they are working on. It was a group of new designers displaying their work to “official reviewers” as well as whoever wanted to walk by that was from the conference. This was probably one of the most helpful things I participated in during the weekend. I received amazing feedback from top industry professionals as well as designers just like me from all over the United States. Their feedback helped me see my designs in a new light and allowed me to make revisions to my process to make stronger, more effective products. I will be sure to post my portfolio once I make a few key revisions. 🙂

A few of the speakers that I went to listen to really resonated with me and my design career. They were Mig Reyes from Threadless and Chris Chapman from Disney. These two individuals are so amazing it’s ridiculous. I wish I could just sit in a room and listen to them speak about their work all day. They have such passion for what they do and that really showed through in their session. They shared the things that worked for them and the things that didn’t. They shared their successes and failures and what it took for them to get where they are now. Every speaker I went to was the same way about their work, but these two really stood out in my mind.

To go to a place and to listen to industry professionals talk about how passionate they are with what they do and to give you motivation and confidence to keep going is priceless. The final key note of the conference was delivered by Sally Hogshead and before the conference everyone was supposed to figure out their F Score. She had to run the results twice because she could not believe the percentage of people that came back with Passion as their Primary Trigger. (More information:

Next year this conference is being held in Boston and I can only hope that every designer is able to attend. It gives you information on the design trends, how to effectively be creative and apply it to everything you do, and how to work with people that are nervous about creativity. This is the conference to go to if you want to be competitive in any market with your design work. This is the conference to go to if you want to stand out from the crowd and be seen. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of it.

(psstt….session reviews coming soon!)

HOW Design & Me

I am currently working on a new portfolio idea and trying to figure out if I have enough time to pull it all off!

The big HOW Design Conference is this weekend and I couldn’t be more excited/anxious/nervous! Each time I have attended these conferences I walk in feeling like I’m home. Everyone there is a designer of some kind so they understand your crazy imagination and fashion sense. They don’t judge and are always excited to hear what you’re working on. I’ve met some pretty amazing people at HOW that continue to inspire me to work harder and be the best at what I do.

This year I will be displaying my portfolio at the Portfolio Review for all to see. It’s exciting but at the same time a little intimidating. I’ve displayed my work to small groups before but never to industry professionals at a large conference! I am anxious to hear what they have to say about my work but at the same time, there’s always that small amount of, “what if I’m not impressive enough?” and “will they even like what I do?”HOW Design Live

Once I have it all completed, I will be sure to post some photos of the final product and a PDF to view of it all. Wish me luck! I’m headed out to see the best of the best in the design world and couldn’t be happier!