July 21, 2011

Lessons learned: thoughts on the HOW Design Conference #HOWLive

Filed under: Creativity,Small Business — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 9:28 am

HOW Design Conference in Chicago

Last month, I attended my very first HOW Design Conference in Chicago. It seems crazy that I waited so long, seeing as I started my design business over ten years ago. But since it was in my hometown, I made the time and effort. Now, being seven months pregnant at the time, it was a bit of a challenge and I did have to make some concessions (going home early, no cocktails) but it was well worth it.

In addition to catching up with friends and colleagues and making new connections, I walked away with a wealth of knowledge—and a new outlook on my business.

Lessons learned at the HOW Design Conference

  1. Go to more design conferences: it wasn’t long before I realized the benefits of being around like-minded creatives and how that could inspire my own work.
  2. Read more books: many of the speakers mentioned useful books—and the onsite HOW Bookstore was a great source of inspiration. I walked away with books on photography (Photo Idea Index) and web design (Above the Fold)—and recently picked up a copy of a book I had been eyeing at the conference (Made to Stick).
  3. Incorporate what I love into my business: Peleg Top‘s session, The Creative Side of Running a Business, made me realize how personal interests can be used to enrich your business. Actually, several of the speakers mentioned this concept which really resonated with me. (see #4 and #5 below)
  4. Focus on a creative obsession: Armit Vit‘s session Turning Your Creative Obsessions into Opportunities was one of the most inspiring. As someone who always has several “creative obsessions,” I realized how focusing on one (or at least just a few) can lead to business opportunities.
    One of my current creative obsession: photographing automatic sprinklers in my neighborhood. See the flickr set in-progress here.
  5. Incorporate personal interests into my work: Stephen Doyle‘s session, Where Ideas Come from and Where They Go, was a great example of this. He has successfully integrated both his remarkable paper sculptures and other personal interests into client and professional projects.
  6. Ask for advice: after taking a fantastic workshop on making and selling products by Heather Lins of Heather Lins Home, I realized the importance of asking for advice. Having your questions answered by someone who has been through it successfully can boost your confidence and encourage new ways of thinking.
  7. Tell a story: whether it’s for a client or your own business, it’s important to tell a story and be authentic.

Did you attend the HOW Design Conference in Chicago? What were your top takeaways?

January 21, 2010

Dogs who dig design

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

Essie: a set on flickr

I’m proud to announce that my office assistant Essie made it onto the HOW Design Blog!

Her passion for design is quite evident in the fact that she regularly naps in front of my stack of HOW Magazine back issues, not to mention her honest critiques of my design work (woof!! = yes, it’s very good. arrooo = nope, not quite there yet).

Though she was more than happy to model the sticker on the HOW Design blog, we hear dogs aren’t allowed at the HOW Design Conference in Denver (sorry, Essie). But maybe next year…