So, you went to a design conference…  what now?  I’m sitting here using “The Gateless Method” by Suzanne Kinsbury to freestyle this blog post to you. That means that I just let it flow… all my ideas on the paper (computer of course- but you get the gist) ALL THE IDEAS… then after I’m done with the creative flow, I can focus on what concepts and words have the power and energy to stay. It’s a very freeing process! 

 I learned about The Gateless Method in a breakout session about Communicating Your Best Ideas, led by Terri Trespicio

“When you change the way you see your work – you see how you can change your future”

…is a quote I jotted down from this session. 


I’m reliving an entire week’s worth of wisdom and “pro tips!” on a midweek morning at my desk back home in Birmingham… one month later. Beside my computer screen sits my phone, which is buzzing, as notifications appear from our City Paper Instagram site. I posted a giveaway contest today. Another direct result of the design conference. Sessions about social media are in demand and the experts encourage you to post – “as often as you can” “with 11-30 hashtags that are relevant to what others are using”. Find influencers! Track and analyze! Facebook- Engage!! 


My notes are shouting at me. 


This morning I scoured my pictures, videos and snaps to help jog my memory- the week was a whirlwind, but here are a few nuggets that stand out:

Aside from the Fine Artists’ and celebrated Graphic Designers that I saw, Timothy Goodman, Shantell Martin, Chip Kidd, Kim Williams, Stephen Gates, and the list goes on and on. 

There was something exceptional about these:   

         Wise words of Keynote speaker Beth Comstock

“Change happens when… you give yourself permission to imagine a better future, and then you make it happen.”

And Jocelyn K. Glei who spoke about burnout. (This, we all can relate to!) She said,

“Downtime gives your creative ideas the space to incubate & percolate”

I remember as Jocelyn spoke my brain pinged like a pinball machine with connections – “if you fill all of your free time with podcasts, and information- when do you have time to just think?” “It’s not a coincidence we get our best ideas when we’re in the shower or doing menial tasks like cleaning the kitchen – if you are using that time to feed yourself more information, there is no time to just let the ideas come to you” 


“THAT’S SO TRUE!!” Whoa. That’s a game changer. 


And then this- In Lisa Congdon’s words:

  1. Creativity is Power!
  2. Sharing Creativity makes it more powerful
  3. Creativity should never be limited – follow everything that interests you

 I really related to Lisa’s story. (this is crux)

 Lisa had a crisis of identity from an early age. She thought if she just worked hard she would find fulfillment. 

 Me too. 

 … but she wasn’t fulfilled. Because she wasn’t doing the work that her soul was called to do.

 Me too.

 Lisa discovered art late in life. When she discovered it, it devoured her and she became obsessed. 

 Me too. 

 So, she started to make things. And then she posted them on Instagram and people wanted to buy her things. And she began to get some notoriety, and success! But she had “Imposter Syndrome” (also known as imposter phenomenon or fraud syndrome) it’s a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists referring to individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. 

 Ugh. Sometimes that’s me too. 


But she shared this quote:

“The only unique contribution that we will ever make in the world will be born out of our creativity.” -Brené Brown

I’m inspired.



Getting to attend a week-long design conference for a creative designer is like drinking water when your mouth is dry. You soak in all of the nutrients each speaker has to offer. You see work that is inspiring, you hear stories of failures, and near failures, and successes, and you feel replenished by those stories. It’s a whirlwind of meetings and lectures, and presentations. So many life lessons, so much knowledge- it’s humbling. 


So, I went to a design conference… what now?


Dream Big. Brand Big. of course!

Amy attended the HOW Design Live Conference in Chicago, IL in May 2019


1. Blog Thumbnail Image is from a T-shirt we received at the conference designed by graffiti artist, Timothy Goodman

2. Banner Images: 

a) HOW Design Conference Opening Remarks by Amy Conover 

b) Quote from Keynote Speaker, Elizabeth Gilbert

c) Powerpoint Slide from Self-Promo Breakout Session led by Justin Ahrens of Rule 29 

d) Timothy Goodman's Keynote address about his role in design as an activist 

e) Beth Comstock opens the conference with Keynote Address on Marketing  

f) Nicole Jacek and Noreen Morikoka from Wieden Kennedy Agency speak about projects they have worked on such as Formula 1,  Kentucky Fried Chicken & Nike.