Reasons to be Creative 2017
Its been quite a while since I've written about my experiences at Reasons to be Creative. I’m going to resist the usual anecdotes of a design conference blog and instead, I'll decribe running the Elevator Pitches, a couple of things that happened and some personal takeaways from my experience working at Reasons to be Creative, Brighton 2017.
Often a conference is as much about what you give as what you get. I had an opportunity to give a younger designer the sort of guidance on a project I missed out on when I starting as a designer. I'm keen for people to avoid certain mistakes or needlessly longer paths to their goals.
This advice is often not what they want to hear, but is what they need to hear. I know this because I've been there and done it already. A while after we talked, they came back and thanked me. A win—win for both of us.
1 hour, 1 stage, 20 people, 3 minutes each. No gaps.
The idea is to give creatives an opportunity to talk publicly about a project. The best of the group return to give a full talk at a future Reasons To conference.
Every year me and another designer Andy work with 3 AV guys and 1 person timing to make this this logistical nightmare happen. Over the years we have perfected a backstage process to minimise the chance of mistakes and give each person a clear path for a great presentation. This can be summed up in a single word: Practice.
We have found that making the nuts and bolts of getting on and off a stage as robotic and boring as possible. this means each person can simply focus on their presentation. There's a big difference between practice at home and practice on a huge theatre stage and because of that, we do all our dry runs on stage as if it were the real thing.
A slightly smaller group for 2017 gave us a tiny bit of wiggle room within the hour slot for problems: Thankfully there were no problems.
Bless 'em, this year the Elevator Pitchers gave me and Andy a thank you card.
Take aways from Reasons To
- The early starts and late nights that come with a multi day conference like this can lead to all kinds of in—the—moment possibilities. Unchaining yourself from a computer is ok. Being over tired can be a good thing.
- Ego aside, the 2 most important things to give any creative is a credit for the work they did and a public thank you.
- Atomic design starts with the smallest element, why not do the same with type? Its a nice idea from Mark Boulton: Layout the body copy before the larger titles.
- I love SVGs and so does Jon Hicks. SVGO is a lovely little Sketch plugin he mentioned. It sits under the hood of Sketch allowing you to export SVGs with clean underlying code and much smaller file sizes. Keep those Developers happy :)
- Its possible to mount two 5m x 2m canvas banners on giant church pillars with no previous experience or warning.
- You can fix shorts with packing tape.
- The conference format allows for the occasional conversation with someone you would otherwise not have met or talked to. This is an undervalued benefit of a multi day conference.
- An idea came to me while at the conference that could unite 2 different groups I belong to. An achievable and realistic project that could benefit each group. Once fleshed out I will devote some time to researching this to begin this project properly in 2018.
- I'm working on a new portfolio that I really need to get finished.