“Gazebo? More Like “Ga-Zoinks-bo!” – Leslie Knope

This blog post is a bit sad, but also filled with much, much hope. Let’s move to the positive part, first.

Back in 2019, I made it my own personal mission to get out and see more conferences every year. Travel. Learn. Knowledge. Time is Money. Money is Power. Power is Pizza. Pizza is Knowledge.

I booked one in 2019, Making Midwest, and two in 2020! Brand New’s First Round in February 2020, and then FINALLY going to Creative South after many years and years of wanting to, in April 2020.

They say ‘Best of Three’, so technically I did win since I was able to go to two of three, but COVID-19 took over and the world closed up, especially conferences. But, now with conferences and events coming back here and there, I wanted to share the conferences I’ve been to, and the ones I’ve got on my list to do! 🤞

Conferences and events are great ways to expand your knowledge, plus network with your fellow creatives in a like-minded way. At both of the events I went to, I met a ton of new designers and illustrators [and more], that I still keep in touch with, plus opportunities that spawned off of those events.

1. Making Midwest

Making Midwest was my first introduction into a full design conference. Multi-days, plus in a difference city [Columbus, Ohio], so it was great to also travel outside and explore the city, too. Making Midwest was a fantastic experience. I was revitalized and recharged after going to it. Seeing the all of the amazing designers, illustrators, entrepreneurs, all in one space, speaking about their successes, failures, and more. My Instagram and LinkedIn was filled after this. I also participated in their Business School, which was an add-on day that included business-focused talks and workshop, Q&As and more. I use so much of what I learned from this still today. The knowledge was pretty invaluable. Now with COVID, they’ve done virtual meetings and are currently looking into another new way to revamp their conference. Can’t wait to see what they do!

I also was inspired by the talks and illustrated + animated quote GIFs, which were also shared by the Making Midwest Instagram, too! Quotes Part 1. Quotes Part 2.

2. First Round

I gushed a little bit about my love for UnderConsideration and all they do in one of my previous posts, which includes their Brand New Blog, plus their larger Brand New Conference [#4 on the list!]. I was thankfully able to make it to this one in February right before COVID was touching down. I flew out to Portland to hear from designers and creatives from companies like Nike, Wieden+Kennedy, and a ton more. Another incredibly insightful event that I learned so much from. Seeing how designers present their branding, how they conceptualize and their thought process with such depth was something you’re not always privy to. UnderConsideration does have some tentative dates and locations in place for 2022, but in the meantime, they also have Case Studies available to purchase.

Like Making Midwest, I was inspired by the vast amount of amazing info, and illustrated + animated my favorite quotes for each speaker. Quotes Part 1. Quotes Part 2.

3. Creative South

Creative Freakin’ South. Man, oh, man. I’ve wanted to go to this since I first saw it on Dribbble. Probably back in 2010 when it first started. Had the ticket and hotel booked, but as it was getting closer and closer to April 2020, the less likely it seemed it would be feasible to do the event, which was more than understandable. Creative South is a huge event that’s filled with incredible talent and inspirational designers and creatives. Many of which I’ve followed for years and years. It also includes fun events, plus workshops. They’re currently rescheduled for 2022.

4. Brand New Conference

After Brand New’s First Round, I had my hand right by the mouse-trigger, ready to purchase tickets for the Austin 2020 event, but held off. Thankfully and, unfortunately, it was cancelled before I could buy tickets. Another fantastic lineup of amazing designers, illustrators, and more. The events curated by Brand New are amazing, and no doubt the next lineup, set for 2022, will be amazing!

There are also archives of previous conferences where you can either download for free or purchase videos of the talks.

5. Crop Cons

While I was on my Making-Midwest-High, Crop Cons was on my list! A lot of great and amazing creatives filled their lineups. During COVID they did have a Crop Live Series to fill the void, and now they’re rescheduled for April 2022.

6. Creative Works

Another Making-Midwest-High-Find, Creative Works has a Conference and had “One-Day” events, too. They just recently had their 2021 conference, held virtually [just missed it! 🙁], hopefully they’ll have another one soon!

7. Canceled Con / Canceled Con II

A lot of creatives [and the world] turned to virtual events. Many of the above had their own virtual talks, IG Stories, and more. One virtual event was the Canceled Con from Hoch [Andrew Hochradel]. He quickly helped fill the void, especially the Creative South-less void, in early April 2020. Later in 2020, he had a second event – many of these can still be seen on Youtube and on the site itself, so definitely check it out!

Any More Fantastical Conferences or Events?!

Have any other conferences that you’ve been to? Virtual or in-person? I’d love to add more to list to help creatives out. Email me!

Head over to my Resources* page for more helpful creative-finds like Blogs, Books, Podcasts, Apps, and more! Plus, find those and more in my blog*!

*May not be live yet, but check back soon! Or shout at me on Instagram 😁😅

Curious what fonts I used? If it’s not my own handwriting or illustration, it’ll be in my very first blog post!

This post is not sponsored or an advertisement. these are just genuine recommendations, or/and thoughts.