A few weeks ago I had the awesome opportunity to take in the HOWlive Conference in Chicago, along with Lisa Feehan, our Art Director. For those who might not know what HOWlive is, it’s probably the biggest and badassed graphic design, web design, and marketing conference in North America…dare I say the world, that’s right the WORLD. Depending on what you choose to take in, the conference runs for about 5 days and features talks on all kinds of industry trends, tips, tricks, an industry trade show, and occasionally the odd party (or so we hear). This being our first time at the conference, we really had no idea what to expect. Would it be awesome? Epic? Inspiring? Educational? Terrible? Could HOWlive live up to it’s reputation?
Only having been to the airport in Chicago before, I was super pumped to check out the actual city, the architecture, and night life that I had heard so much of previously. Arriving at our hotel in the heart of downtown over looking the Chicago River, Trump Towers, and the Chicago Tribune was absolutely stunning and surreal. We checked in and chillaxed getting ready for our early morning Chicago design studio tours the next morning. The only wrench was that the flu had some different plans for my next few days. I was totally bummed not being able to go on the tours and having missed out on the opportunity to check our places like Threadless, Grip Design, and Design Kitchen. Although I did get the coles notes from Lisa, which sounded like they were pretty cool.
Over the next three days we heard from a handful of different presenters from Creative Directors, to Brand Managers, Authors, Principals, Consultants, Web Designers, Print Designers, and all around awesome people. The topics focused on design thinking, web trends, business development, creative and brainstorming techniques, and simply overall inspiration. Being that we were surrounded by thousands of other creatives, the presentations engaged all our senses in some interactive and crazy random ways. From character costumes, gospel singers, beach balls, inspiring videos, and thousands of paper airplanes being thrown around… I’d say that it was a little out of the norm from a standard business style presentation.
After the conference had concluded, we took a few days to simply relax in Chicago, check out some sites, go to a Cubs game, and digest all that we took in at the conference. Overall, I think that HOWlive was absolutely worth it, and a wicked experience. It was nice to learn some new things, confirm some old ones, and recharge our creative batteries. I feel pumped and excited to implement some new concepts into Pure Vision and our client work as well. SO – the long and short of it is, if you are in the marketing, advertising, design, or web industry and ever have the ability to take in the conference, do so. You just might find yourself with a renewed sense of play and inspiration.