Tuesday, June 27, 2006

HOW inspiring

Hello all! The HOW Design conference in Vegas was was one of the best gatherings of fun loving and friendly designers I've ever been a part of. Many of the presenters were truly outstanding. And HOW did a fantastic job of keeping us informed and entertained 'round the clock. Thanks everyone!

I feel so inspired, I started this blog to share some of my favorite HOW highlights, resources and outrageous fun:

Marketing is like exercise

Ilise Benun and Peleg Top's workshop on Monday was one of the best sources of practical advice on marketing and pricing your work. If you missed it, you can sign up for a FREE half hour phone consultation where you get a taste of their genuinely helpful marketing mentor program. I highly recommend Marketing Mentor
Makes so much sense:
"Get rich in a niche"
"Your positioning is how clients describe you when you're not in the room."
"When you specialize, clients feel like there is more value to your work, and will pay for it."
"Work with clients that are spending a budget, not their own money."

And the genius award goes to...
For anyone who can't get enough Michael Moschen, check out Quicktime videos of the keynote juggler
Makes you think:
"When I was a kid I had a game. I decided that whenever I would go into the woods alone, I would always come out a different way."
"Balance is not about standing still. It's a series of small, constant adjustments."

When Andy Stefanovich asked everyone to give a standing O to Angelica, the designer that wants to change the world, I felt like all 3,000 attendees were recognizing each other for all the things we do that go unnoticed or unappreciated. Gave me goosebumps! Check out Andy's company, Play
Get that inspired feeling all over again:
"What can you alter just 1 degree? It can be the difference between average and brilliant."
"Experience everything to be able to empathize with everyone."
"When people say something is good, ask why."
"Never underestimate the power to have lunch. Make a list of 3 people to have lunch with now."
"Give the gift of conversation."

Resource center
Anyone get their orange card fully stamped? I swear I looked for Gmund 3 times but never found them. Corporate sponsorships, wine and free paper samples - hooray! Some faves:
The Paper Mill sells small quantities of paper and envelopes.
Emma lets you create email marketing with style.
• Jakprints produces small quantity t-shirts, stickers and more. They even have a page where they feature banner links to graphic designers, and they told me they are looking to feature more talented designers.

Some piss you off questions
David Baker delivered a strong dose of advice on what you should and shouldn't be doing to position your design biz and get better clients. I prefer his insightful email newsletter and FREE downloadable white papers at ReCourses
The bitter pill:
"Designers are often more afraid of starvation than dilution. We'd rather die working hard than not at all."
"It's unethical NOT to make a lot of money. The money you make is an indication of how much your clients value you."
"When clients are forthright with their budget, it's an indication of how much they trust you."
"Until you publicly broadcast your work, or your specialty, it doesn't count."
"You can borrow money, but you can't borrow marketing."

Stealth disco and podium humping
An audio, visual, and performance extravaganza, Chris Elkerton and Dave Gouveia from 3 Dogz Creative kept it light with an onstage logo contest, cool prizes, a podium humping demo and a bonus activity book! These guys reminded me of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in the Wedding Crashers, only they're designers (in Elvis costumes). They're not just funny, but damn talented too.
Check it out:
One of the prizes was Daniel Pink's book "A Whole New Mind"
It's top of my must read list now. Have you read it yet?

Punctuation substitution
Oh how I regret catching only the last 15 minutes of Ze Frank's session! You must check out Ze's super funny thoughts on how to send an undercover message to your "challenging" clients. Go right now - you will love this!

Kevin O'Callaghan, chair of the SVA 3-d design program, hosted a wacky "Ironic Chef" themed competition that was designed by his students. I've been a major fan of the amazing "reinvent the everyday object" projects that come out of his classes for years. Check out the latest transformation of a Yugo And if you're in NYC, look for the exhibitions in Grand Central Terminal.
Made me cry with laughter:

I loved Stephan Bucher's "Hibernation is for suckers" and risqué bear slot machine, Justin Ahrens' Mickey Mouse eared bra wearing crane, and Zoa Martinez's abstract alligator paintings. But Jason Robinson of Springville, Utah ruled with PO-PO and Pigformers!

Early morning statistics
Moira Cullen, Design Director of Coca-Cola North America, gave a fantastic presentation about the growing value of design in business. She inspired me to start reading the Harvard Business Review I just heard she's writing a book (thanks Kevin), so all that factual goodness will be available to us then.
Fact # 187:
A fund of 63 publicly traded companies renowned for their use of design
outperformed the FTSE 100 Index during the 90's by 200%.

Party Time!
Sleep deprived and pumped up on Starbucks, I had the best time ever dancing with friends from New York, Panama, Puerto Rico and Illinois. Didn't that big circle we formed feel like a celebration of humanity?

Oh yeah! That's right!
The perfect ending to a totally inspiring event.
Sally Hogshead's radical web site is as smart and engaging as she is.
Radical truths:
"Expressing your truest self is your ultimate competitive advantage."
"Mistakes are tuition."
"The thing that is different about you - that's what makes you better."
"Take a look at what's not working and stop doing it."
"Do you want to be outstanding or comfortable?"
"Refuse to waste your career."

What inspires you? Where do you want to go with your design business/career? How can we help each other get there? Let's share ideas.