I’ve been working as a professional designer for the past 3 years. I went directly from college (I’m a proud alumni of Southeastern Louisiana University) to interning at a then up-and-coming 5 Stones Media where I am now the lead graphic designer. But one thing I sorely lacked in my upbringing was a strong sense of community.
Don’t get me wrong, I worked with some very talented designers as an undergrad; most of whom are doing great things now. But the world is so much bigger than our back yards; I needed an opportunity to network with like-minded individuals outside of my hometown. I was able to satiate that hunger at Creative South.
Creative South ’15 was the first design conference I had ever been to. A few of my friends had attended in the years before, but I shrugged it off because I though I was too busy and couldn’t justify using the funds. After visiting Columbus, Georgia for the conference in April 2015, I can attest that cost of admission is beyond worth it.
In many different industries we view anyone who does the same thing as us as a competitor. That all goes out the window at Creative South; you’ll find nothing but friendship, encouragement and a lot of hugs (oh, and free stickers, too). Designers, lettering artists, illustrators and more all come together to share their knowledge and learn from each other. It’s all about growth and personal development, not competition (unless of course you’re duking it out in the Typefight or a dance-off). You’ll make friends here; if that’s not motivation enough, there’s still a long list of benefits to attending a conference like Creative South.
Learn Something New
That’s probably the first thing you’ll expect from attending any sort of conference. You do things like this to learn and improve your skills as a designer and in turn, further your career. Wether you’re freelance or part of an agency, a seasoned veteran or just starting out, I guarantee there’s knowledge you can pick up. Creative South offers a multitude of speakers, panels, workshops and hallway conversations that are sure to leave you with a few new nuggets of wisdom.
One problem I used to encounter was the struggle of feeling drained of my creative energy. This happens when you work non-stop and don’t give yourself time to breathe. You should take regular breaks to allow your creative juices to flow unhindered. Going to Creative South and being surrounded by so many creatives, some similar and some vastly different, really put a new perspective on things for me. I returned to my hotel each night inspired to try something new that I might not have ventured into had it not been for the speakers and conversations I had that day.
Creative South was like an educational vacation for me. The downtown venue of Columbus, Georgia has a lot to offer and explore. And if you’re a foodie, there’s more than a few great places to chow down at. And getting to experience all the town has to offer with new friends is an experience in and of itself. Get out of the office and grab some fresh southern air!
Oh my God, the food. Do I really need to say anything more? We all know that the South has some of the best cooking; but if you’re looking for a good Philly cheesesteak or some real fish and chips, you can find that in Downtown Columbus, too. Don’t forget to try the Peach Cobbler Moonshine, it tastes like a dream.
Meet New People
Any business professional will tell you that networking is essential. Having trouble finding an illustrator to help you on that next project or the right screen-printer to partner with for future orders? Or do you just want to have a conversation with a creative who understands what you’re going through? You stand a good chance to stumble across them at Creative South. You can’t just sit in the corner though, you’ll have to actually engage in a few conversations. But trust me, you’ll leave Columbus with a new friend or mentor if you’re willing to introduce yourself to just a few people. We’re all friends, don’t be shy!
There are plenty of other reasons to join the fun at Creative South, but I’d rather not spoil too much of the fun. Plus, you’ll get the chance to meet Mike Jones, the superman behind the magic, along with the rest of the Creative South team. If attending a value-packed, educational, fun-filled, explosive, super amazingly epic creative design conference sounds like something that interests you, check them out online at www.creativesouthga.com. Maybe I’ll see you there in April.