This post is sooo completely overdue, but you know what they say. So I won't say it.
I can't put into words what a great experience the trip as a whole was. I only wish that I had attending something like this when I was still in college. Ticket pricing is cheaper for students and I really could have used all the free stuff back then. Oh, and I learned a lot, too. :) But seriously, it was great to meet and interact with new people and designers, travel and explore the city of Boston a bit, and listen to lectures/presentations of those whom I have looked up to for so long.
The trip to Boston began with some studio tours and a type workshop. The tours were especially nice because not only did we get to see how these studios function, but we got a bit of a guided bus tour of the city itself. The 3 companies we visited were Weymouth Design, Cory McPherson Nash, andToth + Co..I have to say, Weymouth was my most favorite studio. They really were friendly and open to questions...gave a really solid presentation/talk about how they interact with clients and also the workflow of projects themselves. You know that feeling of when you look into someone else's sketchbook and for a moment, you feel like you know a bit of how that person's mind works? That's sort of what their studio tour was like for me. It was really cool to see how they function as a whole.
The 'Change the Way You Think About Type' workshop we attended (given by Dr. Shelley Gruendler) was really interesting, but not quite what I had expected. We learned a lot about the history and evolution of type-which was crazy awesome, and after that we did some exercises with other attendees. I think I expected more of a modern application of the exercises-such as an exercise of how to develop type lockups, layouts, etc. for client projects, etc. Instead, we spent time learning more about how to sharpen our communication skills when thinking about type. They were pretty cool exercises-I had never done anything like them before. You can check out the result of our exercise labors here!
The rest of the conference was spent listening to and watching speakers! Some were very very good, and others, not so much. The first, and most audience packed speaker we saw was Chip Kidd. You may remember him from one of my previous posts. Chip was very interesting to listen to, but I assumed, or hoped, that he would speak more in depth about his work process-about how he develops concepts for his clients, how he delivers them and tips on how to successfully do these things. Instead, he mainly showed lots of images of his work and, as my friend put it, that is something that I could easily do on the internet. Nonetheless, I was still starstruck and I was grateful to be able to pose for a picture with him. He was very nice about getting pictures taken with his lecture attendees, which I have to admit I am surprised because he is like a fricken' celebrity when it comes to the design realm! He has some really great work out there, so check him out!
Kit Hinrichs of Studio Hinrichs was a lecture/presentation that I really enjoyed. It was titled The Standard 5:Special Effects. He spoke about special printing techniques and such; there were some things and techniques that I had never seen used before. Kit also spoke about and interviewed some of the volunteer designers that work with an non-profit organization called Organization 826. I was especially excited to hear him speak about this organization because I had heard about them and the wonderful things they do for their communities prior to attending this conference. it was so cool to listen to the designers that worked with this organization. It was really inspiring.
Another great speaker was Debbie Millman. Actually, she may have been the best speaker there, in my opinion. The title of her talk was Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits-titled after her book. It was so interesting to hear her speak about the history of branding and how it applies to modern day society. If her presentation was just a taste of what the book is like, then wow. That book is probably pretty cool.
Oh and on the day that Beth and I were trying to fly home/stranded in the airport, we spotted Debbie trying to board a plane herself! We went over and said hi and she was so very nice and humble. It was really cool!
Mikey Burton put on a pretty cool presentation, too, called Will Work for Work. He seemed like a totally normal design dude...other than his obsession with bears. But he had a super interesting story because he basically got famous/big by complete accident. If I remember correctly, I think he said out of the blue one day, he received a call or an email from Steven Heller (or maybe Steven Heller's peeps) about featuring some of his work on the Daily Heller! How crazy insane would that be?
Mikey is also from Ohio, which is pretty cool.
Dura Chew Monster BoneThe last speaker I'll talk about is Melissa Ivone Morris. She gave a most wonderful presentation on How to Survive Your Soul Crushing Day Job. You can check out a snippet of her presentation here. I'd like to clarify that my job is not soul crushing by any means. Sometimes, I lack motivation and creativity, though, and Melissa seriously has a knack for giving designers a boost in that area. She gave some great advice like how to just simply be yourself in an office environment and how to keep yourself motivated and inspired.
While in Boston, Beth and I did get to explore just a tiny little bit. This stunning church was on the way to the Hynes Convention Center. We walked past it everyday. When I first saw the structure, it threw me back into my honeymoon/Europe trip straight away. Actually, the whole entire city, really, was very European-esque (for obvious reasons), I really loved it there. I believe this is the Trinity Episcopical Church. Breathtakingly gorgeous.
We didn't realize it at first, but we were actually staying the in the theatre district-which was pretty cool. There were a lot of the flashy signs around. There were also a lot of small theatre colleges in that area, too.
This 60 story sky scraper is called John Hancock Tower and it was right next to the Trinity Episcopal Church. It is the tallest building in all of New England! It was really odd to see the juxtaposition of the old school church next to this modern building-but I soon realized that it was not a completely uncommon thing to happen in Boston.