Key Takeaways from Phoenix Design Week 2018

Design conferences are a way for the typically not-so-social breed of creatives to come out of their shell and meet their fellow design nerds. These conferences reinforce the fact that we are a community of enthusiasts and like-minded right brainers (for the most part), who face similar challenges, wins, losses, frustrations, emotions, and road blocks. Learning from each other’s experiences and ever-evolving industry trends, these conferences hit a reset button for the over-analytical left brain.

This year’s Phoenix Design Week, Beyond Design, conference was no exception. Six members of the creative team committed their weekend to learn and grow as individuals and professionals. Believe me, we weren’t disappointed.

Setting the Tone

The opening sequence for the conference really set the tone and brought together the theme of this year’s conference. A cult-like, secret-group feel, that gave you a sense of belonging. It was executed quite well.

Armit Vit
My favorite speaker was Armit Vit, who was the opening Keynote speaker on the first day of the conference. He raised the bar so high that, in my opinion, no one could really beat.

Armin’s work is amazing. His passion and dedication for every project is beyond admiration. Armin is the co-founder of Underconstruction LLC , a design house of two with just him and his wife. The work that they put in to design the yearly Brand New conference is outstanding. What I really liked about his presentation was the fact that he was honest and open about everything. His design process, creativity – life in general.

Some of the key takeaways from his talk were to never give up, be honest and true to your craft. He said to take complete charge of the work at hand and see it to fruition. Share your skills with other crafters, sculptors, letters, artists. Innovate new ways and materials to execute your project. Collaborate, stay inspired.

Steve Thompson
Another speaker that stood out was Steve Thompson. Being the principal designer at the Walt Disney company, he talked about how he had to reinvent his career after being known as an illustrator and working on animation for years in the industry. From illustrator to product designer, the evolution of his career at Disney was an inspiring experience to hear about.

Key Takeaways
Soaking up everyday experiences and driving inspiration from them was a key takeaway for me. To see how Steve reflected upon that in his “Drawing from Life” talk was amazing. Another takeaway came from a breakout session on Day Two, lead by Brian Wood from Adobe. The quick tips and tricks he showed us in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign were seriously game changers. We were so inspired by his session that we decided to schedule monthly huddles with our creative team to share tips and shortcuts amongst each other.

It was a great experience to see the ever-growing design community in Phoenix. This being the 10th year of the conference, it was great to see a video tribute from James Archer about how it all started a decade ago when the economy was crashing. If it wasn’t for him to start something so amazing for the local design community, we would not have experienced such a refreshing event this past weekend.

We’re already looking forward to next year!