I got back from the HOW | Refresh conference last night. The title of the conference couldn’t have been anymore appropriated. I have so many ideas and so much drive right now that I am almost scaring myself.
I had the chance to see creatives speak that I always wanted to meet. Here’s just a few that really resonnated with me:
My personal highlight was to finally meet Jim from Coudal.com. His presentation was a breath of fresh air, compared to the ones I saw the day before. Jim has an amazing stage presence. He obviously has lots of experience presenting to large audiences. My friend BBlinks and I both walked out of this presentation holding two (coudal) thumbs up. Well done Jim!
(and yes, I was smiling all over my face when Jim pulled up the deck and I got to see swissmiss up there. yay!)
Steff Geissbuehler from C&G Partners, who’s one of my personal heroes and another ‘swiss designer gone NYC’, was another one of my highlights. His body of work is humbling. One thing I learned: For one of his international branding clients he researched colors and they came to the conclusion that orange is the color that, internationally speaking, has the least amount of bad connotations. Good to know!
So, I travelled all the way to Atlanta to see my next door neighbor, Matthew from the Chopping Block speak. It was well worth it. As perfectionists as he and his partner Thomas are, they of course put together and unbelievably designy presentation. I truly admire the Chopping Block’s attention to detail which carries throughout their work. Matthew told me once: “If I think of something, I can not NOT do it!” Their presentation was a blast. One can tell that these guys have F-U-N! (Watch out for their new ‘robot’ site that is launching soon. There’s a placeholder up for now!) Well done neighbor!
I had the pleasure to meet Sharon Werner from Werner Design Werks during breakfast. I have SO much respect for her aesthetics. It came through during her presentation that she TRULY cares about her clients. You might have seen some of her work, she and her partner branded the Miss Meyers cleaning products.
Chip Kidd’s opening keynote was definitely entertaining. He has quite a refreshing way to talk about his clients and work. Although, his ‘language’ was questionable at times. It seems as he set the tone for the conference saying ‘it’s ok to swear on stage’ and lots of speakers followed. Are designers just too cool to be professional?
Dave and Chris from 3Dogz Creative gave by far the most entertaining presenation. They themed it as a “Designers Anonymous” meeting and had everyone leave their name tag with their info on a wall at the back of the room. They also showed videos of ChippKidd, Paula Scher, Stefan Sagmeister etc etc saying “I have a problem”. Yes, we all are Designer Anonymous, and we all have a problem. (I picked up an interesting term Dave and Chris came up with: S.O.A.P job = s*** on a piece of paper.)
The presenters I admired the most in terms of their work were Matteo Bologna and Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich. Their presentation made me chuckle and go ‘awwwwww’ quite a few times. I have posted about Roberto’s Bembo’s Zoo a while back. He’s a master in illustrating with letters. Truly inspring. And Matteo showed some of his branding work he did here in the NYC restaurant scene. He is the creative force behind Balthazar, Pastis and Schiller’s, well known NYC restaurants. Andy Coon has a snipped of their presentation on video, see it here.
Both, two unbelievably gifted designers. It was an honor to meet them in person.
All in all I am happy I went. I must say though, the size of the conference was a little overwhelming at times. I enjoy smaller events and might stick to the regional ones down the road.
Alright, back to work!