By day, I work as a graphic designer at a small studio. A few weekends ago, I had the opportunity to go to Design Camp. Yep, it is pretty much as nerdy as it sounds. In actuality, it’s just like a lot of professional development conferences, with just a far cooler name. Design Camp is put on yearly by the Minnesota chapter of AIGA (http://www.aiga.org/) (American Institute of Graphic Artists, the professional organization for design.)
What did I learn at design camp? (I better have learned something, work paid for this trip!) Lots of things, like, designers are kleptomaniacs, and border-line alcoholics. (See below photo for what the combination results in.)
Actually, I did learn lots of stuff, and did some networking too. Besides brushing up on design related stuff, a lot of stuff relates well with my Etsy life too, such as:
Everything, and anything can be self-promotion. What, you say you don’t promote? You give talks and workshop? I repeat, everything is self-promotion, even if it isn’t the typical, “Hey, here is my card.” As a business owner, everything you do, you pretty much do as a representative of your work.
Why should you self promote, (other than the obvious of getting business?)
// build new relationships
// maintain current relationships
// updates on the business
// landing custom jobs, consignment jobs, etc
Things to consider when self promoting?
// What is my brand? Does my brand have a tight, cohesive focus? Is it recognizable and memorable?
// What do I want to say about myself?
CREATIVITY & IMAGINATION
Somewhere between the 60’s and now we’ve lost our imagination. Now, I can only assume the speaker was correct, or at least more knowledgeable in this than I am, I’m only twenty-four, all I know of my youth is large bangs, and stirrup pants. And I certainly know that wasn’t the peak of creativity.
Anyway, Brian Collins’ (http://www.collins1.com/) point was, language influences everything we do—using words like “kill, debrief, engage, etc” set this mindset that doesn’t influence the imagination. We can only solve problems that are presented to us. In the 60’s, the age of space, we were inspired to dream of things that had never been seen, or even fully understood. Language like “hope, inspire, problem-finder,” we can find the “problems” and use our imaginations to inspire and change things.
Now what that is, is up to you, and me, and everyone in between. One great question was asked after the discussion, essentially was “Well, going out and doing these really great impactiful projects is great, but what about the rest of us who are just stuck making crappy websites for regional siding companies.”* (This question maybe very paraphrased and/or interjected with my personal questions.)
I don’t remember exactly remember what he said (sorry, I’m a bad note taker!) But I think it’s important to realize, that if you have a job that doesn’t seem to be having the reach, or impact you want, you really do have opportunities everyday. Unless you really do work entirely by yourself, you interact with people everyday. There, on a smaller scale are ways to make an impact. Put a bit of yourself, and your views into everything you do, and everyone you interact with, from the smallest, most insignificant job, to the largest.
*Brian Collins worked on re-imagining this gas station in LA:
RemixStudio , also known as Liz, makes awesome bags from t-shirts in addition to some graphic design. Check out her Etsy shop and get to know her a bit better by reading her blog.