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Creative South Conference

By April 25, 2022 September 17th, 2022 No Comments
Creative South 2022 stage

Community > Competition

This was my biggest takeaway from attending and volunteering at the 2022 Creative South Conference in Columbus, Georgia. I could write pages about all the design and business tips I garnered from the workshops, talks, and social events; but the one thing that touched my soul was the open arms in which I was ensconced in Columbus.

Group of ladies at a restaurant

My experience at Creative South contrasted vastly with my previous encounters with designers. I graduated with my degree in design from San Diego State University at the age of 40, while I had three teenagers at home and struggling with imposter syndrome. I’ve previously discussed my internship struggles (read about it in my post here ) but the months I spent there only furthered my insecurities. Creative South attendees and all the industry leaders there were magnificently humble and open. Their vulnerabilities and individual creative journeys on complete display were absolute perfection!

Two designers at Creative South

I was invited to Creative South by my dear friend Diane. She is a design professor in Alabama and literally knows everyone in the industry! Before I met her and began being a part of her Creative’s Ignite Community (check her community out here),

I was dangerously close to giving up on ever making money as a designer.

It was much easier to take on free work with low expectations than believe that my talent and time were worth business budgets. Diane and her friends have been an absolute blessing to my mindset and confidence.

During Creative South Diane gave a talk with her good friend Dave Clayton about friendship and building community.

Sadly their slide deck got messed up in translation to the screen. All Diane’s beautifully designed typography became a jumbled mess. My heart absolutely melted for them but seared their message of inclusion, thoughtfulness, and kindness into my soul. Being willing to be awkward = being RELATABLE. 

Creative South’s mantra is “Come as friends, leave as family.” Diane and Dave exemplify this concept. Making it a point to remember people’s names, connecting friends with other friends and not letting competition, or in my case, insecurities, get in the way of being willing to be uncomfortable. Biggest take away that also lends itself to my light bulb branding was:

“Don’t Dim Other People’s Light to Brighten Your Own”

We all have a role to play, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. You are a brilliant business owner. I  am brilliant at branding ideas and have trained hard to brilliantly execute them.

Which leads me to tell you my greatest knowledge gain at Creative South came from attending Mackey Saturday’s workshop. If you don’t know the name, you for sure will know his work. He created the branding for Oculus and Instagram. Such a humble, but knowledgeable guy!

Idea > Execution

Logo design is a unique niche where the idea far outweighs the execution. I have honestly always believed this concept, but felt like design school focused heavily on execution. During my design classes the focus was heavy on how cleanly we executed our work. My key ideas didn’t seem to make much of an impact on my grades. But this is completely opposite in the real world and especially so when it comes to branding.

A cleanly executed blah brand idea disappears and does not have distinction or memorable qualities.

Before Mackey’s workshop, I had not seen another logo designer’s specific workflow. Seeing how he goes about logo design did two things for me. First, it gave me confidence that I have always done it correctly. Second, it made me realize that strategy and research is in fact of greatest importance.

I always start your branding with research and then narrow and widen to close in on a key idea that fits your particular market’s needs. Understanding what is special about your company and branding your business personality is my goal. The way Mackey put it was

“Make your clients Iconic” 

If you are ready to be iconic jump on my calendar. Let’s begin by chatting about your business.

Get on my Calendar

About jencloesdesigns

Entrepreneur | Visual Artist

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