Getting Cozy with Creatives

Did ya miss me? I was off enjoying Charlottesville Design Week in Charlottesville, VA. If you’re a design creative, it’s the place to be in April. (I believe next year’s event is scheduled for April 13-19, so mark your calendars… and double-check my dates.)

Great Design, by Laura,
Hosted by Tuesday Design Society.

Day 1: Networking with other Design Creatives, and what a hoot! I’m usually an introvert, but I come out and put on the social face for a day, er, week, but it is well worth it. I met designers from every niche, from animators to UI/UX designers, meeting designers, a landscape architect, curriculum designers, museum designers, your general graphic designers… and then there’s me, just along for the ride, taking it all in toward defining my niche, my brand, marketing strategies, yada yada.

Day 2: Firm Crawl. On this day, attendees get the chance to go inside some of the best design firms in the area. There, you get to see behind the curtain in businesses that do everything from architecture to graphic designers. Part of that day is reserved for portfolio reviews. Of course, some participants may have the secret hope that their portfolio is so flawlessly stunning they’ll receive job offers on the spot! More likely though, you’ll get some great, kind, professional feedback. As for me, I just sit back and watch in awe and wonder.

Day 3: The Design Challenge. This is AMAZING! Designers from multiple niches donate a day of their talents. They are assigned to teams that then compete in a Mad Men-type day toward completing brand assets for a deserving non-profit. This year, Appalachian Voices was the recipient of the collective genius of over a dozen designers. The winning team gets bragging rights for a year (until next year’s design challenge) and some pretty cool additions to their own portfolios. This year, it was Team Rock Gnome who won the challenge! All of the design teams delivered exceptional design assets, making choosing a winner tough. Did I mention it is all delivered in one day? I participated three years ago, pre-Covid, and all I can say is WOW! (Did I mention our team also won? And since the Design Week skipped three years due to the pandemic, we got bragging rights for 3 years. Okay, I don’t get bragging rights. I copy-edited for our team. I caught one type-o and one photo defect over the course of 8 hours. You’re welcome.)

Day 4: The Art Forum. This was a day of speakers, one of the few ticketed events, and well worth the modest price tag for a conference. “The Medium is the Message” was the topic delivered by editorial designer, Anthony Bryant, and Hannah Good, Comics Editor at the Washington Post. “Motion Creates Emotion” delivered by motion designers, Gerard Mallandrich and Creative Director, Matt Darnell. Aaron Draplin, graphic designer (and absolute hoot) delivered the keynote address, followed by acclaimed sign painter and type designer, John Downer, and capped off by Senior type designer and developer, Marie Otsuka. Wow! (This was also the reason I did not get last Friday’s blog posted. I blame it on great design.)

Day 5: And finally, the last day of the event was filled with a variety of workshops, from which you can pick and choose. I chose “Comic Book Journaling” with Comics Editor, Hannah Good. Gooooood golly! (And my own niche began to congeal.)

So of course, I came home and crashed landed. A week of being social is exhausting. But also fabulous! So please forgive my absence. I was engaging, being social, learning about branding and marketing strategies, meeting some fellow creatives, and hopefully, building a repertoire that will make my blogging engagement more meaningful to the twenty-five or so followers. 🙂

Until next Friday, I think I’ll take my own advice and… “Make some art. Read a book!”

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