90’s Graphic Design Mood Board

The 90’s were a magical time – a time of the Docs, Game Boys, and the sweet, sweet sound of AOL dialing-up. As everything that was once old is new again, the 90’s are making a come back.

Design trends from this era can be found in posters, album covers and fonts. As artist Dave Perillo has shown, even some of our favorite old friends are back in action. Deservedly so.

Dave Perillo’s art can be found on http://montygog.blogspot.com/

What about 90’s design is worth reintroducing, you ask? We created a mood board of sorts to answer this question and hope it helps uncover the truth. Below you’ll find 90’s posters, graphics, album covers, products, and other elements that may inspire you to create your next design piece enhanced with 90’s elements. We have arranged the elements in four categories. We hope you find this helpful. Enjoy!

90’s Design

1 – Color like WHOA.

The 90’s was at once a wave of color and a dash of grunge. But for this moment, at least, we are rejoicing in glorious brilliance of it all. Think Pretty in Pink (literally), color pops, neon lasers and this 90’s cup design that kind of grows on you after awhile. Totally unapologetic!

90's cup design

2 – Chunky Fonts.

If you take a broad look at fonts in the 90’s, you will see a lot of thick lines and truly unique fonts driven by theme. Oh – and we loved a drop shadow!

3 – Photo Posters

The focus around many of the posters or album art in the 90’s was around one simple graphic or photograph.  Many of these are iconic posters and I think their simplicity speaks volumes.

4 – From Bold & Vibrant to Black & White (and Red)

Though this era gave us a lot of pink, we also saw a lot of stark contrast – black & white – sometimes with pops of red.

What did you love most about design in the 90’s?

For more 90’s Graphic Design, head to the Go Media Pinterest Board.

Why You Shouldn’t Disregard Parallax Scrolling Yet

Parallax Scrolling for Web Design

Parallax scrolling was all the rage a few years ago, but designers quickly realized it has pros and cons. Parallax scrolling offers a three-dimensional look where some background elements move at a different speed or in a separate direction than other factors in the foreground. Think of a slowed down bit of video footage and then a real-time speed video in the front as just one example.

While using parallaxing for web design still has a few challenges, you shouldn’t disregard it as a viable option for grabbing user attention just yet — here are seven reasons why.

1. Parallaxing Isn’t New

The technique of parallaxing isn’t a new technique itself — Walt Disney used this technique to create movies such as “Bambi” and “Snow White.” Parallaxing appears in Mario Kart, Sonic the Hedgehog and Street Fighter. Think about the way Mario moves at a faster speed while the background scrolls more slowly, and you’ll get a good idea of what parallaxing looks like.

parallax scrolling for web design

Every Last Drop is an example of a website using parallax scrolling to grab user interest. The site educates UK consumers on how much water people use in a typical day. The image starts with a cartoon character sleeping and a night sky in the upper header. As you scroll, the background changes, the sun rises and the character wakes up. The website shares facts along the way about water usage.

2. Parallax Is Fun

Parallax is a lot of fun for users, making your site stand out from the competition and educating consumers in a unique way. However, it doesn’t seem to impact the effectiveness of your site. In one university study, researchers discovered that while participants liked parallax scrolling, they also didn’t find it necessary to use the site.

3. Add Visual Interest

People visit dozens of websites every week, so anything you can do to stand out from those other sites makes your brand more interesting to the user. You don’t have to create an entire animation for your parallax scrolling to be effective, either. Simple changes are sometimes the most powerful.

SK Builders offers a subtle type of parallax scrolling on their landing page that effectively shows the outside of one of their beautiful homes. As the user scrolls, a horizontal collection of images of the inside of that home appear. Because of the parallax scrolling, the larger image fades away more slowly, making the outside of the home still visible as you peruse the inside.

4. Stimulate Users

The animation and sense of depth of parallax scrolling stimulate users and gets them excited about your brand. The stimulation is likely the reason why those in the research group described parallax scrolling used on websites as “fun.”

Think about the message you want for your brand. If your message is that your brand is young and interesting, parallaxing helps underline that image.

5. Grabs Attention

You can use parallax scrolling in many unique ways. The first example we looked at used a changing scene and the second a downward motion with the top image at a slower speed. You can also move images sideways or zoom in and out. So, you can utilize parallax in several ways to grab the attention of those who land on your page.

The Boat does an excellent job of taking a story, animating it and using parallax scrolling to go through the various chapters as the action builds. The animation used is minor but adds to the overall impact of the tale. Using parallax scrolling allows an author or brand to grab the user from the minute they land on their website. The site also uses sound effects to set the scene even further.

6. Leads to Longer Page Views

Your page’s bounce rate should be under 55 percent if you want an average speed, but a lot of factors play into the success of your page, including the time a visitor spends viewing your page before bouncing away.

Parallax grabs the user’s interest and encourages them to stay on your page as they scroll through the storyline. Instead of landing on your page and bouncing immediately away, the user may hang around and see where the next scroll takes them.

7. Encourage Action

Sites continuously look for ways to improve the effectiveness of their calls to action (CTAs). Your business has probably changed your CTA’s wording, color, placement and even the elements surround it. What if you could drive action with parallax scrolling so the CTA is even more effective by the time your site visitor reaches it?

Urban Walks uses multiple layers to create a parallax landing page that features the screen of an iPhone. As you scroll down the page, the background image and the cell phone screen both change, playing several elements at a different speed than the background images. By the time you reach the bottom of the page, you’re ready to download the app to your iPhone.

Show Off Your Professionalism

Parallax scrolling for web design shows your company’s professionalism and attention to detail. While it does take a bit longer to load and has a few other disadvantages, don’t count this design technique out just yet. As Internet speeds increase and screen resolutions improve, users expect entertainment and high-resolution designs. Parallax may be the solution you need to reach those goals.

How to Gain More Subscribers One CTA at a Time

How to Gain More Subscribers One CTA at a Time

One of the most valuable assets you can build as a business owner is a mailing list. Unlike followers on social media or traffic from a search engine, a mailing list is under your direct control. You can reach out to those leads anytime, and because you spend the time to reach a specific target audience, they will be highly receptive leads as well.

Investing in email marketing pays off. Every $1 spent on email marketing results in $44 in average profit. Building your online mailing list is something that takes your business to a new level and keeps it growing.

There are several ways to gain more subscribers. Here are nine ideas to get you started.

1. Use the Right Color

The color you use for your call-to-action (CTA) buttons truly does matter. While some studies show red buttons grab more attention, other studies show blue or green ones do. The truth is more likely that the contrast of the button against the background is what matters most.

You should choose a color and shade that make the button stand out and grab the reader’s attention from the minute they land on your page. The key is to draw the eye to the CTA in the first place. Otherwise, your visitors might miss it.

2. Keep Your Signup Form Short

Your signup form should be short and straightforward, so users only have to fill in an email address and click to subscribe. If you make the form too long, you risk losing users who don’t have the time or patience to fill in lengthy information sheets. Some people may not want to give up private details, either.

Another idea is to allow an option to add a newsletter signup anytime the user is already filling in their email address. If they are in the middle of contacting you, you need a checkbox on your comment form that allows them to subscribe to your newsletter. If they order something, add an option to sign up for the newsletter there, too.

Nerd Fitness keeps the form to sign up for their mailing list short and to the point. They only ask you to enter your email address, have the option to share which gender you identify as and then click on the CTA, which reads “Free Stuff! Count me in!” Signing up truly couldn’t be easier.

3. Place Your CTA in the Best Spot

Knowing where to put your CTA for maximum impact helps you gain or lose potential subscribers. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to CTA placement. While some people say to place the CTA above the fold, others say to put it at the bottom of the information about what you have to offer.

If the content of your newsletter is obvious, putting a CTA above the fold will grab the reader’s eye. However, if it requires a bit more explanation to entice people to subscribe, you may need to place it a bit further down the page.

4. Offer Incentives

Offer incentives to people for signing up for your newsletter. These can be coupons, letting them know about specials as things go on sale or deals that are exclusively for your newsletter subscribers. Offering this type of incentive is often the only enticement people need to share their email address with you.

A bonus of this type of CTA is that if they want deals, they are likely already interested in what you have to offer. You’ll build a mailing list that is not only hungry for what you have to offer, but also highly targeted.

Wing Tactical uses an incentive of receiving discounts to get people to sign up for their mailing list. Note how their CTA button is in the large, red horizontal bar at the bottom of the page. The words “get exclusive deals” are in large, bold print, and then they clarify with slightly smaller text that reads, “when you sign up for our email list.”

5. Make It Big Enough

Is your CTA button so small it is easy to overlook? Remember, you want to grab your site visitors’ attention. While you don’t want to be obnoxious and fill the entire page with your button, you do want to make it stand out from other elements on the page and large enough to spot easily.

Remember that some people will come to your page specifically to get an offer or sign up for your newsletter. These people don’t want to hunt for your CTA to sign up for your mailing list. Make it easy for them to find it in mere seconds and take action.

6. Pose a Question

Another way to snag site visitors is to pose a question that guides them to the answer you’d like them to choose, which is to sign up for your newsletter. Consumers are pretty savvy these days. There are thousands of free newsletters, so to entice them to subscribe to yours, you need to stand out from the crowd.

Digital Photography School poses the simple question, “Ready to take better photos?” to make site visitors think. Since the natural answer to such a question is yes, they then explain you can receive free weekly tips and tutorials and provide a box for your email address and a button that says “Let’s go!”

7. Tie the Newsletter to Your Site

Newsletter readers tend to spend 80 percent more time on a website than non-subscribers. A big reason for this is likely because you are speaking to a highly targeted group of people who are already interested in what you have to offer. However, meshing the site and your newsletter in some areas can interest people in signing up.

At some point, you’ve likely seen a CTA that says something along the lines of “never miss another post” or “get updates when we post new content.” These types of CTAs remind the reader they don’t want to miss what you have to offer.

8. Hold Their Attention

Don’t forget the copy around your CTA is equally important as the button. You must attract the reader’s attention in a fun or exciting way. They see dozens of ads in a typical day. If you don’t stand out, why would they even bother? Tell them what they have to gain and do it in a way that will make them sit up and take notice.

Look at Campaign Monitor’s customer Flume and the way they entice people to subscribe. They show how they kept Flume’s email subscribers interested and in the know. Then, they offer to help you “build an email like this.”

9. Add More White Space

Filling your page with information is tempting. However, sometimes you need to reduce the noise and allow the user to home in on your CTA offer. Do some A/B testing and remove a bit of the clutter around your CTA button. You’ll likely see an increase in conversions.

Adding white space isn’t always easy, but more than likely, there are elements on your page you can easily do away with. Use heat maps to help you find which areas of your page visitors linger on, and which ones can go.

More Subscribers

Better CTAs will bring you more subscribers, but you also need to understand how to convert those subscribers once they’re a part of your mailing list. No matter what type of business you run, CTAs help you make that initial contact with site visitors and convert them into raving fans.

Approaching Your Design work with Jon Phenom

3 Tips to Approaching Design Work with Jon Phenom

My Top Three with Jon Phenom

Jon Phenom, apparel designer and brand director for BLVD Supply, has been advising entrepreneurs on how to create and grow their fashion and clothing lines for over ten years. You can find him doling out advice on YouTube, where he has over 425 free videos for designers looking to grow their clothing lines and launch their businesses into the stratosphere.

Jon’s many passions include brand consultation, design and production work, public speaking, and providing online courses to help other designers launch their clothing lines. His Clothing Brand Academy will be launching soon, so stay tuned to learn how to create an original garment design and learn how to successfully launch your own apparel line.

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You can find Jon on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, as well as on his Official Site. Make sure to subscribe to his Official YouTube channel now for all of that free knowledge Jon has blessed us with. It’s truly extraordinary stuff.

After you’ve subscribed to Jon’s channel, check out this video he created exclusively for Go Media, where he gives us:

3 Tips to Approaching Your Design Work

UX Design Tips for E-Commerce

Top 7 UX Design Tips for E-Commerce Product Pages

A product page that conveys a purpose and benefit of a store item, and smoothly take a user through all the features and demos, and to the checkout page is considered an ideal user experience (UX) design. The web design UX focuses the removal of every possible hurdle that may stop a user from taking action and the addition of a feature that adds comfort to the user in reading, clicking, entering detail, or paying for the order.

Pursuing a UX design is not restricted to the layout or appearance of the product page, in fact, it is about enhancing the web design usability and understanding for the end users. Like, easing the users in scanning the content, viewing the images with a focus, comparing prices with product features, expediting the checkout process, and lots of more.

Optimizing the UX design for higher conversion is crucial as the developer, designer, or the merchant has to put himself in the shoes of a common user and examine the areas that have to be improved. Following are some of the UX design tips that may give you a checklist to expeditiously review product pages and adopt relevant strategies to enhance the ease and usability for a layman.

1. Set a Competitive Price and Justify It

Price of a product is a major driving force of a purchase decision. The internet users are browsing the internet and compare product prices along with features at different online stores. They roughly draft a cost versus benefit analysis of the product in your store. To facilitate them in knowing the best value for money, clarify the price you charge and justify it with the features you have in hand.

The price clarification means showing direct and indirect charges. For example, you display a white color T-shirt at $10, but secretly increase the price when a user selects a black color. Avoiding tricking people to select a product at a low price and quote a higher one when they convert or about to convert.

2. Add Quality Images with Zooming Features

The online stores have virtual shelves that can never provide a real-life experience to the users to examine a product from each and every corner. But, professional photography and zooming features have the power to provide a somewhat similar experience. Add high-quality product images from various angles, and allow the users to zoom in or out a specific part of the image as well.

Try experimenting different product zooming options. In addition to quick-view and zoom-in feature, a 360-degree view is also an emerging trend in enhancing the user experience. It demands to capture multiple product images and sorting them in a series so that a user can go through every detail of the store item.  

3. Acquire and Display Customer reviews

Acquiring reviews from your happy customers is a tangible and long-term asset to your product pages. It is an effective strategy for gaining trust and credibility in the eyes of your potential buyers. The users are more likely to read what your existing customers have found about your products and services.

According to a survey published by MarketingLand, about 90% of the customers have agreed that the online reviews are highly influential in making a purchase decision. So, don’t miss on your losing your potential customers who only need to hear from a few fellow customers.

4. Publish Scannable Product Descriptions

Reading content on the screen is a completely different thing than reading text on a hard paper. In fact, the screen readers scan the content rather than reading it word by word. Unlike the novel and short stories, people are here to absorb the information of their interest and skip the rest of the text.

Compose the product content that is simple, clear, and crisp that caters to the exact needs of your targeted users. Incorporate story-telling in a way that keeps the users engaged rather than making them cross the tab and switch to another one.

A product page shall begin with a short summary and leads to highlight the core features. Let the readers know about the product at first instance. Make the introduction attractive to compel them to scroll down the page and review the features one by one.

5. Consider Simplifying the Checkout Process

Checkout is the conversion borderline. A successful checkout means an accomplished sale. The UX design needs to be improved in a way that smoothly takes the users all the way through the product description to the cart pages and the checkout page. A minor difficulty in filling the details or understanding an option may result in cart abandonment.

For smooth checkout experience, you can simplify the entire process with different strategies like allowing one-page checkout that removes the multiple steps of entering shipping, billing, and personal details all at once.

Additionally, you can modify the design with stick checkout that carries forward transaction details as the user goes through the multiple steps. The permission of guest user checkout is also a way forward to improve the user experience. Make the user registration voluntary and observe the difference in conversions.

6. Display Relevant and Bought Together Products

Do not limit your customers to view a single product on a landing page. A Majority of buyers are willing to select more relevant products from the same store. It helps them save the shipping charges and time in browsing multiple stores. By displaying relevant products or frequently bought together items, you can facilitate users in adding more products to cart and checkout for all of them at once.

With the help of widgets, plug-ins, and modules, you can automate the display of similar products in a small block right on the product page. It will surely help you to cross-sell and up-sell products that ultimately boost the revenues.

7. Show Product Availability or Stock Top-up duration

A user covers a long journey in reaching the ‘add to cart’ page but feels disappointed when finds that the required product is not available in stock. To save them from the hassle, display the stock availability in numbers and minimum items they can order. This will allow them to quickly add a required number of items to cart. Avoid cart abandonment right on the product page.  

The addition of out-of-stock notification tool is also a way forward in informing the users about the expected inventory top-up period. With the help of such a tool, users can get email notifications about inventory top-ups so that they can return and buy the products that were out of stock on their last visit.

Final Thoughts

The above-discussed UX design tips may help you quickly restore a viable user experience that contributes towards higher conversions. But, this is not the end. UX design is an open concept that welcomes the addition of every feature and functionality that aims to reduce the user stress in buying a product or service. Be creative in coining new ways of improving UX in addition to the ones mentioned above, and take the lead in your niche.

Asad Ali is an experienced Digital marketing expert having more than 7 years of experience in eCommerce industry. He is currently working for GO-Gulf Dubai web design company. As leading executive for GO-Gulf, he has specialized in search engine optimization, user experience & conversion optimization. You can reach him on LinkedIn.

How to Use Vector Textures

Tutorial: How to Use Vector Textures in Adobe Illustrator to Distress Your Logo/Design

How to Incorporate Storytelling Into Your Web Design

We all love a good story. Have you ever considered incorporating one into your web design? No? Well, you should, because it’s become an incredible communications tool in addition to a core component of content marketing.

We’d like you to do something. Close your eyes, just for a moment, and think about all the different brands you know and interact with. Think about their stories. What premise or plotline do they use to reach out to customers, enthusiasts, supporters and even rivals? How has that story evolved since the inception of the brand?

This may all seem like a bunch of nonsense to you now, but you should quickly do away with that mindset if it’s how you feel. You see, humans are emotional creatures, and stories — personal or otherwise — are the way we interact with the world and one another. Think about it! Every time you converse, discuss or reach out to friends and family, one thing you’ll do for one another is share stories.

This is the same outlook modern brands and organizations have about their relationship with their customers, especially through digital platforms and channels. Social media, for instance, allows brands and company representatives to have much more personal and influential interactions with specific customers. The same can be said of modern customer support tools like one-to-one messaging or IM solutions, and even discussion forums.

Why Use a Story at All?

Because stories help carry a message, they are far more memorable, and that’s the idea — a story is not only more engaging but it also remains in a customer’s brain, sometimes even influencing how they react or what decision they make.

But stories can also be used to placate the emotions of the viewer, pushing them closer to a product or service you are peddling. They may have had absolutely no clue they needed what you’re offering, but your story, the journey, and experience you subjected them to changed their outlook.

For example, wearables tend to have a reputation for being impractical to some people, which has helped slow adoption of the market. These people feel they already own a smartphone, so there’s no need to own a smaller device on their wrist that can do the same things. Keep in mind, we’re strictly talking about smartwatches and smart wearables here — not fitness trackers.

By delivering a story or personalized experience to those customers, wearable makers can help potential customers not just understand but also desire to have this type of product experience. They can show adverts, content, and media that portrays how practical these wearables actually are, specifically by showing some problems they can fix.

A good story plays to a customer’s emotions, opinions, and past experiences and shows them what the product or service can do in their life.

1. Create Characters That Resonate With Your Audience

Whether you use the real-world experiences of customers and personnel on your team or you make up characters, be sure the focus is on someone your general audience can relate to. For example, Progressive uses Flo, the infamous insurance agent, to tell stories about their company and products. She resonates with a lot of folks because of her bubbly personality, desire to help and overall friendliness. But you don’t have to make up a fictional character to facilitate your stories.

Airbnb, for example, uses stories from real customers to share their experiences renting properties through the app and platform. You can browse this section, find someone that best matches you and your family and see how they fared. It’s a genius approach to onboarding new customers, really.

One company ascertained that parents are 52% less likely to celebrate Valentine’s Day after they have kids. This information was used to create a more compelling and engaging story for that particular audience, and by using relatable situations and characters, it turned out to be effective, too.

2. Remain True to Your Personality and Brand Mission

If you’re strictly professional, try to put together an experience or story that remains just as professional. If your brand is a little quirkier, you can be fun-loving and whimsical instead. The foundation, or the core concept of your brand and personality, should remain the same throughout, however. That’s true no matter what story you tell, what platform or channel you tell it on and how it evolves over time.

The Burt’s Bees philosophy to products, for instance, is that what you put on your body “should always be the best nature has to offer.” This idea permeates nearly every element of their brand from the creation of their products to the distribution and fulfilment of them. You can read all about how they make this possible on their story page.

3. Embrace Change

Your website, your customers and the world around you do not have to be static. You don’t have to spend a vast amount of resources every few years to update the content, stories and experiences. Instead, just keep everything consistent and regular. Embrace change over time and continue telling new stories and providing new experiences to your customers, all using the same basic plot or foundation.

The best way to make this happen — and make the most of it — is through analytics and customer data. If something isn’t working like you expected, change it. If a campaign isn’t going well or is received poorly, drop it and find another. Just because you are focused on one coherent and seamless story doesn’t mean you can’t invite change.

Nike is an amazing example of this idea. They’ve been telling stories to their customers for years, decades even. This can be traced all the way back to 1999, when they released a commercial dedicated to the retirement and career of Michael Jordan. You’ll notice that since then, a lot of their stories have been similar but fresh enough to be considered new and different. The FlyEase journey, for example, is a more recent story of a new product they offer.

4. Have a Clear Beginning, Middle and End

Like any good book, your story needs to have a beginning, middle and end that is easily definable for all your customers. They know exactly when the journey has begun, when they’re close to being done and when things have completely wrapped up.

The beginning should introduce your characters and players, establishing the main plot and setting. The middle should present the problems or issues your characters are having. In the end, you should be able to see that conflict resolved. This entire process is called the story arc of your story’s main character.

The end of the story, for instance, could be an incredibly effective call to action. Spotify’s landing page embodies this idea in full. You land there, see what you can do with the service, how it can help you, what kinds of people rely on it and go from there.

5. Keep Them Hooked

The poker player saying “don’t lay all your cards on the table” is a great one to live by, especially when sharing and developing stories. Your stories need to be both compelling and engaging, but you don’t want to reveal absolutely everything. You want your customers to be hooked, enticed and interested in coming back.

In other words, keep them hooked and leave them wanting more, but in a good way. This can be achieved through teasers and media releases, viral marketing campaigns, customer sharing and even social media events.

Netflix is an awesome example of this. Even for those who unsubscribe and or never are active customers, Netflix releases plenty of information about new content and new media available through the service. This keeps customers engaged, interested — and most importantly — coming back for more.

Go Forth and Create!

As you can imagine, there’s a lot of room for stories to be created, maintained, shared and bolstered, and all of them contribute to the way an audience sees and engages with a brand. It’s your goal to come up with a compelling story, but also one that resonates with your target audience. More importantly, you need to ensure the story you’re telling — and the goal you’re trying to achieve — is efficient and possible. You can do this by deploying and making use of the tips discussed here.
Good luck! Now go forth and create! Tell a revered story that all will love to experience!

Design Conference 2017

Today in Exciting News: the Weapons of Mass Creation Fest Speaker Line-Up

We are thrilled to announce that we are throwing our annual art, design and music conference, Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, at Mahall’s in Lakewood, Ohio, this year. The party goes from Friday, August 18 through Sunday, August 20th, with speakers on the main stage on Saturday and Sunday. A few cool things about our new venue:

  1. Doors to this historic bowling alley/concert venue opened in 1924.
  2. It’s got that hip, DIY Cleveland vibe you won’t to miss and is in a city ranked top 10 most exciting suburbs in the United States.
  3. Menu highlights include fried chicken, housemade cornbread and curry popcorn to name a few.

Even cooler are the folks that will fill our venue, including the speakers we’d like to introduce you to today. Before we start, we’d like to remind you that our new venue is pretty cozy and will fill up fast, so we encourage you to purchase your tickets now!

Purchase tickets to WMC Fest

Let’s go!

Saturday Speakers

Jamal Collins, a Boys and Girls Club Art Instructor will be speaking about his experiences influencing the lives of the children he teaches at the club. His talk, “Design for Social Change,” will be focused on using design for social change through mentorship, promoting entrepreneurship skills, and guiding youth into becoming smart creatives.

Dustin Lee, graphic designer and founder of Retro Supply Co., was one of the first designers on Creative Market to make a full-time living of selling design goods. Dustin will take on an intimate journey of how he went from $35,000 in debt, creatively frustrated, with his first child on the way to making $125,130 in one year on Creative Market (and making a full-time living selling digital products reviewed by Productexpert every year since.)

Painter Frank Oriti‘s work has been featured in The New York Times and in London’s National Portrait Gallery. In his talk, “Work,” this outstanding artist will be discussing his career since his return to Cleveland in 2011 by highlighting the evolution of his work and also sharing some of his experiences in the art world.

Stephanie Irigoyen is a designer and media specialist hailing from Tallahassee, Florida. Founder of Design Week Tallahasse, Stephanie believes strongly in community and in building a better city for yourselves. She’ll take the stage and proclaim: “Nobody Knows What They’re Doing (And That’s Okay.)”

Laura Wimbels, a photographer known for her book, ‘Faces of Cleveland,’ is also a frequent contributor on the popular NPR storytelling show ‘The Moth.’ Having just gone through the arduous process of publishing her first book, she will have so much to share when she takes the stage for her talk, “How to Quit Your Job and Make a Book, It’s That Easy! (It’s Really Not)”

You won’t want to miss “Broke to Billboard Top 100,” the journey from art school drop-out, student load-ridden failure, to designing for some of the world’s most influential musical artists, as told by Irwan Awalludian. This inspiring speaker-to-be is a Singaporean immigrant, a former resident of Cleveland, Ohio currently based out of Atlanta, Georgia, where he provides art direction and design for major label recording artists and producers. Most notable clients include MikeWillMade-It, Rae Sremmurd, Gucci Mane, Ludacris, Wiz Khalifa and Metro Boomin.

You may recognize Marshall Shorts, award-winning entrepreneur, artist, and designer as Founder and Creative-N-Chief of Soulo Theory Creative, co-founder of Creative Control Fest and from his work throughout the creative community. This agent of change’s talk is entitled, “Manifest,” and we encourage you to be in the audience to hear his wise words.

Perspective-Collective is the studio of Scotty Russell, a freelance lettering artist, and illustrator based out of Cedar Falls, Iowa. Scotty will be closing out Saturday’s festivities with his talk, “You are Not Invisible.” This inspiring speaker and artist will be speaking to the times when we as creatives feel as if no one is paying attention to the hard work we put into the work we pour our souls into.

Purchase tickets to WMC Fest

Sunday Speakers

Naomi Schulze is a professional t-shirt slinger/designer who, due to a whirlwind of events, fell in love with the world of embroidery. Currently, Naomi owns and operates Maeke Apparel, a screen printing/embroidery shop in Campbell, California, and travels frequently with her own sports apparel sub-brand. Naomi will speak about her experiences falling in love with the apparel industry, and pass on her insights on the world of embroidery when she takes the stage.

Corey Favor is a senior graphic designer at The Ohio State University, as well as an entrepreneur and co-founder of Creative Control Fest alongside Marshall Shorts. Corey will be sharing his perspectives on the agility needed navigating life and work, and appreciating the process of building a unique and creative career when he takes the stage for his talk, “Some Assembly Required.”

Cleveland Artist Erin Guido is best known for her brilliant and colorful work around the city, as well as her contributions to the LAND Studio, where she works as a designer. Her talk is entitled, “Surprises and Nice Things in Public Spaces,” and will certainly be as bright and colorful as she is.

Lisa Lorek is a lettering artist, muralist, and designer born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio named Cleveland.com’s Top 29 Cleveland Visual Artists to Follow on Instagram. Her talk, “Forever a Work in Progress,” will cover the winding road she took to find her passion, including following multiple curiosities and saying “yes” to everything thrown at her.

The dynamic screen-printing duo Snakes and Aceys, otherwise known as Hannah Manocchio and Anthony Zart, met during an odd collision of life’s events when they combined a quarter-life crisis and the beginning of a nervous breakdown, respectively. These two will hilarious review their harrowing first year in business, the bloody details of lessons learned, provide lists on what not to do, and offer advice on starting a fantasy company in a real world with a partner who drives you batshit in their talk, “Oh No! We’re in Business…”

Sarah Yeager is a graphic designer with a focus of User Interface and User Experience Design. As an avid lover of hack-a-thons and design competitions, Sarah has won awards such as “Most Aesthetically Pleasing Design” and “Most Market Ready Product” for her work on the security wearable, EmpoweRing. We look forward to Sarah educating us on how we can all get involved in her world during her talk, “How Hackathons Built My Design Career.”

Shannon Okey is both the founder of Cleveland Bazaar, Northeast Ohio’s longest-running indie handmade show, and publisher at Cooperative Press, an independent publishing company which has published over 50 books since 2010. She’s currently serving on the board of the Independent Book Publishers Association and has given talks on niche publishing at South by Southwest as well as O’Reilly’s TOC digital publishing conference. Her talk, entitled, “Find Your Niche,” is one not to be missed.

Reina Takahashi is a paper artist and illustrator living in San Francisco. Currently, she creates cut-paper artwork at Facebook with a team of illustrators and fellow paper artists. She also uses paper to create window installations, film props, and art piece commissions outside of her full-time work. Follow along Reina’s weird path of creative side projects for the last (almost) ten years that has led her to a full-time gig as a paper artist at a giant tech company and beyond. Hear some of her lessons learned, tips acquired, and adventures in making pirate ships out of paper in her talk, “Full Time/Free Time.”

That’s it! Now grab your seats to see all of these incredible artists, designers, screenprinters, makers and more this August 18 – 20th at Mahall’s in Lakewood at this year’s Weapons of Mass Creation Fest >>

Purchase tickets to WMC Fest

WMC Fest Carpool Karaoke with Jamal Collins

Donut Challenge

WMC Fest Donut Challenge with Stephanie Irigoyen

Why You Should Attend a Design Conference

Why You Should Attend a Design Conference (like WMC Fest)

Hello current and future friends of Weapons of Mass Creation Fest,

If you have yet to hear of us, we are the premier art, design, and music conference in the Midwest. We welcome you to join us for this year’s festivities, August 18 – 20th in Lakewood, Ohio. Mahall’s, a west-side Cleveland landmark for bowling, good music, good times, and good fried chicken will be our host. If you love design, music and bowling – get ready to party with us!

Get your tickets here

If you need a little more convincing, here are some reasons we believe a design conference like ours should be in your future:

Why You Should Attend a Design Conference

Real Relationships

Conferences are the perfect place to meet like-minded people. While it’s often difficult to put yourself out there and attend an event, especially solo, it’s so well worth it. After all, there aren’t many opportunities to totally geek out with so many folks that love the same things you love, in one space, all at the very same time. It’s the ultimate time to bond, build friendships and find your tribe. When you come back the next year, it’s your opportunity to renew those friendships and it feels oh so nice. (*Hearts*) I’m biased, but there is something special about our own conference, Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, that brings our attendees close, quickly. Since we provide time for lunches, dinners, meet-ups and parties, there are many opportunities for folks to get to know one another on a personal level. And because the feel of the fest isn’t corporate, people let down their guards instantly. This results in friendships that have lasted since year one.

Direct Feedback

If you’re looking for feedback on your work or advice about building your business, get yourself to a design conference now! Next, attend as many of the talks, panels and workshops as you can and take notes! Attend meet-ups, hook up with fellow creatives for lunch and dinner. Head to the parties and not only talk, but truly listen.  Soak up all the information you can. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand during the Q and A’s and be brave enough to ask that speaker you admire the question you’re dying to have answered.

Up Your Game

Did you just create a new poster series, start a sticker subscription service or launch a new apparel line? Attending a design conference like Weapons of Mass Creation Fest is a great way to get the visibility you’re looking for. You can do this by setting up a vendor booth, hooking each attendee up with promo items (by way of their swag bags), or simply working the room like a champ, all weekend long.

If you’re looking to be more visible as a public figure, put in the effort by showing up to as many design conferences as possible. Put yourself out there and show the design community that you’re a creative that “takes up space.” Make an effort to get to know the conference coordinator(s) and have conversations with them about possibly speaking at a future event. (In person if possible.) Show them you genuinely care about their event.

Battling Burnout

Most of us have faced some amount of burnout at some point in our careers. When you put your heart and soul into what you love to do, it seems inevitable. If you’ve experienced exhaustion as it relates to your creative career, attending a conference can help. The authentic conversations are really what have helped many of us pull through. At this year’s Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, we’ll even be holding a panel on this very topic, “How to Battle Creative Burnout.” So, there you go.

Paving Your Way

Design conferences are filled with talented, connected creatives that are more than willing to befriend you and help you become a better creative or entrepreneur. If you attend, take the time to form meaningful connections (face-to-face) and then, in turn, give back, opportunities will abound. You do, however, have to put in the work, so make sure you go in ready and willing to chat up speakers, vendors, attendees, and absolutely anyone who is willing to exchange in a conversation. In this creative environment, you never know what magic will come of it.

Kick in the Pants

Inspiration is an overused word, so we’ve decided to use “kick in the pants,” as a way to describe what Weapons of Mass Creation Fest does to us. The three days are so jam-packed with activity, friend-making, and just plain fun, that we come out on the other side a tad bit exhausted, but mostly motivated unlike ever before. We feel like we’ve gotten a big old kick in the pants to go achieve, pursue our path and ya know, dance like no one is watching.

So yeah, we’re pretty into design conferences for many reasons, which is why we started our own. We’d love to see you at Weapons of Mass Creation Fest this summer, so please make it a point to come, squeeze every ounce of content out of it and enjoy. Have any questions before you come? Please ask. Hope to see you there!

WMC Fest Official Site Purchase Tickets

graphic design podcast

WMC Fest Podcast: BF Tag with Hey! Monkey Design’s Lenny Terenzi

Princess Leia Fan Art

Inspiration of the Day: Here’s to Princess Leia

Princess Leia Fan Art

Our hearts are broken over the loss of Carrie Fisher, so today we’re honoring her in today’s Inspiration of the Day post. Please enjoy this work we found on Dribbble and Behance created by artists we admire, which honors her and the characters she played so eloquently.

Hero image, Princess Leia, by ttya on Dribbble

Animated Leia Illustration by Rogie
Animated Leia Illustration by Rogie
A litttle princess leia love by Angie Jones
A litttle princess leia love by Angie Jones
Princess Leia by Crystal Kung
Princess Leia by Crystal Kung
Ms.Leia by Konrad Kirpluk
Ms.Leia by Konrad Kirpluk
Princess Leia by Adam Grason
Princess Leia by Adam Grason
You Are Sorely Missed by Jake Bartlett
You Are Sorely Missed by Jake Bartlett
Princess Leia by Dustin Spence
Princess Leia by Dustin Spence
Princess Leia by Marta Waterme
Princess Leia by Marta Waterme
Star Wars Poster (Return of the Jedi) by Juan Esteban Rodríguez
Star Wars Poster (Return of the Jedi) by Juan Esteban Rodríguez
Leia by solo artwork
Leia by solo artwork
Лея и Джабба by by Natalia Dekalo
Leia by Natalia Dekalo
Princess Leia by Iratxe lezameta
Princess Leia by Iratxe lezameta
The Endor Trail by Jimena Sanchez S
The Endor Trail by Jimena Sanchez S
Princess Leia by Oliver Sin
Princess Leia by Oliver Sin
Organa by Leonard Peng
Organa by Leonard Peng
Princess Leia by BRÄO .
Princess Leia by BRÄO .
Kawaii Star Wars - Slave Leia and Jabba by by Jerrod Maruyama
Kawaii Star Wars – Slave Leia and Jabba by by Jerrod Maruyama
Star Wars Uncut by Oliver Sin
Star Wars Uncut by Oliver Sin
Princess Leia by Dave Bardin
Princess Leia by Dave Bardin
Princess Leia on the Blockade Runner by Jason Yang
Princess Leia on the Blockade Runner by Jason Yang
Princess Leia Mermaid by Christina Sanchez
Princess Leia Mermaid by Christina Sanchez
May The Force Be With You, Always. by by Casey Yoshida
May The Force Be With You, Always. by by Casey Yoshida
Princess Leia by Milton Nakata
Princess Leia by Milton Nakata
Tips for Facing Fear

Following Your Fear

Inspiration of the Day: 9/7/2016 – Beverage Packaging Design

Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration

Every Wednesday, we scour the web for the best in inspiration from designers killing it at their craft. Please enjoy this incredible art and join us on Pinterest, where we’re dedicated to collecting our own work, as well as the work of those we most admire.

Today we’re going to narrow in on killer beveraging packaging design inspiration. Let’s take a look at what our fellow designers are doing over at Dribbble, shall we?

Cover image and beverage design packaging designed by your friends here at graphic and web design studio Go Media.

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse Cans by Emrich Office
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
Trophy Room Strong Ale for designbrawl.com #SBDesignBrawl by Luke Flowers
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
Moet Packaging by Valentina Badeanu
St. Laurent Gin ‘sneak peek’ by Chad Michael Studio
Good Fizz by Lydia Nichols
Miller High Life & Harley Davidson by Derrick Castle
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
One Last Shot by Joseph Alessio
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
CopperMuse Rum by Emrich Office
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
Bib & Tucker Bourbon by Tom Lane
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
CopperMuse Honey Dill Vodka by Emrich Office
Belgian Golden by Jeremy Taff
Elephant Sloe Gin by Simon Frouws
Independence White Rabbit by Canales & Co.
Duran by JC Desevre
Wine Design by Chad Michael Studio
Wine Design by Chad Michael Studio
Legend Winter Ale by Gardner Design
Rubro Ice Tea by Simon Frouws
Rubro Ice Tea by Simon Frouws
Swell Cold Brew by Mark Caneso
Swell Cold Brew by Mark Caneso
Tabu Vodka by Matt Vergotis
Tabu Vodka by Matt Vergotis
Forest Grown by Jared Laham
Forest Grown by Jared Laham
Couteau Wines by Emrich Office
Couteau Wines by Emrich Office
Thrasher: Session IPA from Defiance Brewing Co. by John Stadler
Thrasher: Session IPA from Defiance Brewing Co. by John Stadler
Crafty Cider Bottle Design by Scott Biersack
Crafty Cider Bottle Design by Scott Biersack
Lake Tahoe Brewing Craft Beer Can Design by Tyler St.Pierre
Lake Tahoe Brewing Craft Beer Can Design by Tyler St.Pierre
Cameron's Brewing Company by Dave Rodgers
Cameron’s Brewing Company by Dave Rodgers

Have a great day, everyone. See you next Wednesday for more inspiration!

Weapons of Mass Creation

My love letter to Weapons of Mass Creation

[Notes from the road: As I begin my journey back to Scranton – heading east on route 80 with a long road ahead – I have plenty of time to process all the amazing memories dancing around my brain from a very inspiring three-day weekend. And even though my head’s still spinning, I wanted to get down as many thoughts as possible while they were still fresh.]

The Quick Pitch

Not only am I beyond thrilled with my experience at Weapons of Mass Creation, I’m making it a personal goal to tell as many people as possible about this gem. Whether you’re just out of design school, working full-time but doing a side hustle, or a few years in to running your own shop, you need to attend this conference. A 3-day all access pass to the fest only costs 120 bucks (It’s a very budget-friendly conference) and on top of that, they’re always running deals (if you’re into that sort of thing). I got 50% off for being an Arsenal member! The workshops are extra but are also very affordable (ranging from $30-$60) and all talks are included in the price of admission. Bottom line, in a world full of email communications, Skype meetings and Slack hangouts, this is a chance to spend some quality time with a ton of amazing like-minded creatives.

My Personal Journey

This was my first trip out to Weapons of Mass Creation, and for those who don’t know, WMC is a Cleveland based 3-day conference that celebrates design, entrepreneurship, and creativity. The festival is presented by Go Media and is the result of a lot of blood, sweat and tears by an amazing group of folks including Heather Sakai (@sakaipower), Bryan Garvin (@bryangarvin) and countless other hard-working volunteers. For the past few years, I’ve heard wonderful things about WMC Fest, mostly through my dealings with Go Media and their design resource site Arsenal, but for one reason or another, I never made the trek out. This year was different.

Weapons of Mass Creation
The Ohio & State Theatre. Home to Weapons of Mass Creation 7.

When my family and I relocated to Scranton in 2015, I left a ton of great creative friends back in Philly, and while I’m still in the process of carving out a network in my new home, I knew that this was one thing WMC was known for. On top of that, after a topsy-turvy first year of running Variant, I was feeling over-worked, creatively exhausted and burnt out. So not only was I hoping to connect with members of the community, I was also jonesing for some inspiration, advice, and positive energy to recharge with. So after a nudge from my lovely wife, I decided this was the year to make it happen.

While I wasn’t able to go to attend every workshop and talk, I tried my damnedest to cover a ton of ground and what follows is a spin through my experience. Let’s dive in.

Weapons of Mass Creation
A look inside the lobby of the spectacular Ohio theatre

Workshops

Between Friday and Saturday, the fest offered a diverse collection of workshops including – to name a few – Meetings with an Impact, Creating a Killer Portfolio, and Going Big with Lettering. (See the full list)

“DON’T FOLLOW YOUR PASSION,
FOLLOW YOUR EFFORT”

 – Mark Cuban

I decided to spend the bulk of my Friday attending the workshop “How to Start and Build a Profitable Design Business” run by Partner, and Chief Experience Officer of Nine Labs, Brad Weaver.

Brad is the man. Extremely passionate and knowledgable, he offers a direct and sometimes sobering playbook on what it takes to become a successful and sane creative owner. That sane part is crucial! He breaks it down into some key steps, and while he peppers in basics of getting up and running – like registering for a corporation, tax IDs, etc. – the real meat of his talk focuses on becoming profitable. This includes tips for building out your network, calculating shop costs, price bracketing, contracts, all things I found truly helpful. And while I walked out feeling encouraged that I’m doing a fair amount the right way, I did feel there are some things I could be doing to sharpen up my operations. My key takeaways were not only reassessing my value, but making sure I’m locked in on my shop costs, so I can work towards increasing profits. I got a ton out of this workshop and encourage anyone thinking of starting a creative shop to check it out. If you can’t get out to see one of his talks live, don’t worry, the dude wrote a book on it!

To learn more about Brad, you can check out ninelabs.com, follow him on Instragram (@bradweaver) or other social sites (@sbradweaver)

Weapons of Mass Creation
A few of my favorite speakers from this year’s Weapons of Mass Creation. (Left to Right) Jay Wallace, Isabel Urbina Peña, Stefan Sagmeister, Jillian Adel

Speakers

One thing that sets WMC apart from some of the bigger conferences is the speaker schedule. Instead of trying to jam as many talks as possible into the weekend they left a bit of breathing room, which meant I could pretty much see everything I wanted throughout Saturday and Sunday. Nice!

“SO MUCH OF THE CRAFT IS MUSCLE MEMORY”

– Sean Starr

Bright and early Saturday morning I decided to check out “Coffee With a Sign Painter,a Q&A with legendary sign painter Sean Starr (@starrstudiostx). I went honestly just because I was curious and turns out he’s not only crazy talented but a really awesome down-to-earth guy who’s been doing this forever. He’s a craftsman who’s spent years perfecting his trade, and takes it really seriously. I loved hearing his story, his process. It was just refreshing to hear a creative craftsman talk so passionately about his trade. Bonus: I added a new documentary to my queue, “Sign Painters: The Film” which Sean is a part of.

“LIFE IS GOOD, WORK IS HARD”

– Jillian Adel

Next up was art director and letterer, Jillian Adel (@jillianbadel). I’ve been a fan of Jillian’s work since we connected back in 2015, right around the time she relocated from NY to LA. Her story, entitled The Upside of Frustration, centered around getting sick and tired with her daily grind and “boys club” surroundings in New York and deciding to reboot, invest in herself, and move to California. It’s a very brave, very inspiring story. She talked a lot about getting started, putting a ton of energy into marketing herself, and figuring out who she was and what kind of creative work she wanted to do. Great talk! She’s awesome person and a wildly talented creative. You can find more about Jillian Adel over at her site.

“IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO DO IT RIGHT,
WHEN ARE YOU GONNA HAVE TIME TO FIX IT?”

– Jeral Tidwell

Jeral Tidwell (@artboytidwell) was the next speaker of the day and is a well-known illustrator who gained a ton of notoriety in the 80s and 90s from his work in the skateboard scene (Or as he likes to say, making money drawing a skull, eating a skull, eating another skull). I walked in a few minutes late, but got the sense he was just going to wing it. The title of his talk was Copyright, Analog Art, and Thinking Like a Bad Ass but you could tell almost immediately he wasn’t going to stick to that. To hear him tell it, he decided to speak more candidly after walking around Ink Wars the night before, and hearing folks saying things like, “I would never be able to do that,” “I’m too scared,” and “Wow! They’re so talented, I can’t do that.” All those moments of insecurity bouncing around the crowd made him stop and think, so he decided to shift things a bit and use his platform to address it. He admits his “I’m too stupid to know any better” approach to work/life has done right by him, and spent the majority of his talk using that philosophy to encourage everyone to not let fear get in the way. “Stop saying can’t, forget about what everybody else thinks, and just go off and be a bad-ass!”

The back half of his talk focused on his current journey after another wild idea. After years of being a successful illustrator, he and his wife are now building a free art school in an under-served area in Louisville, KY. They sold their house, moved into this vacant 15,000 Sq. ft. warehouse, and are working their asses off to create this public space. Here’s a guy that just decided he wanted to do something good in the world and instead of overthinking it to death and talking himself out of it, he just said “Fuck it” and is now working to make it happen. How inspiring is that?!

Amazing talk. Raw and extremely empowering. Despite the fact that he was spinning through this stuff as it came to him – or at least that’s the way he framed it – it was really well put together.  You can follow Jeral on Instagram and check out his work site Humantree.com. Hopefully he’ll add some progress updates in the near future as the school project develops.

“FIND A PROFIT IN YOUR PASSION”

– Mark Brickey

Mark Brickey (@Markbrickey) hosts a podcast called Adventures in Design and his “Staying Free as a Freelancer” talk focused on finding a profit in your passion. After years of working as a successful freelancer, he took a step back and realized how frustrated and overworked he had become, basically feeling like he traded in one boss for twenty. So he set a new goal of becoming client-free and walked us through the three C’s that helped him – calculator, calendar and checklist. Now Mark makes a living hosting the AID podcast as he travels the world talking to successful independent creatives who have carved out their own paths.

“THE DAY I GOT FIRED,
I WAS ON MY WAY TO A JOB INTERVIEW”

– Jay Wallace

The Stake Is High” was my first talk of the day on Sunday and featured Jay Wallace (@JayGWallace), an Ohio-based designer, illustrator currently working for the MLS Soccer team, Columbus Crew SC. Jay shared his short, sweet, and sharp personal success story about transitioning from side work to doing what he loves full-time. What really resonated with me about Jay’s story was his mantra about never settling and staying hungry. Even if you’re at a job you like and have settled into, reminding yourself that “This is not my end-game, this is not the end of the line for me.” There is nothing wrong with constantly challenging yourself to do the next thing and Jay definitely walks that walk. Do yourself a favor and check out his work, I have a feeling he’s destined to do great things.

“LET’S BRING BEAUTY BACK”

– Stefan Sagmeister

I’m going to out myself and confess that up until this year I had no idea who Stefan Sagmeister (@stefansagmeister) was. Having a background in film, I sometimes find myself in a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to the design world. Turns out this guy is a design rock-star. He’s been doing it a really long time (including a long run in design for the music industry) and has become extremely influential. I first heard of Stefan and his firm Sagmeister & Walsh through his documentary “The Happy Film” which premiered at 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. I loved the mission of the film and was very much hoping his talk would cover some similar ground. He did not disappoint, and was by far my favorite speaker of the conference. His talk was on Why Beauty Matters and focused on the importance of not only looking for beauty but how is makes us feel. Not just in terms of our quality of life (Eg. searching for things that are beautiful, finding meaning in beauty) but also in how we translate that into our own creative work. Honestly, there’s too much to try and cover here, so I’m planning on a separate post. He also has an ongoing photo series where he celebrates the beauty of album art and posts daily shots of four covers from his personal collection to his Instagram account. Definitely worth the follow.

“FOCUS ON BEING BETTER,
BIGGER WILL HAPPEN ON ITS OWN”

– LL Bean

Wilson Revehl’s (@wilsonrevehl) talk about Go Media’s Best/Worst Year used the story of Moby Dick to illustrate the trials and tribulations his design shop went through pursuing a high-profile international client. Stocked with both professional and personal life-lessons, Wilson did an excellent job despite the heavy subject matter. I’m sure all small business owners can relate to his story as we’ve all that “What if we land this huge client? moment. “Should we take it on? Can we quickly scale or should we stick with our slow and steady approach?” And while it was definitely sobering at times, he offered up some wonderful advice, shared some empowering moments and left me with a ton of great takeaways. You can find more out about Wilson and Go Media over at their site. 

“WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DECIDE TO IGNORE THE CONCEPT
OF WHAT SOMETHING “IS” OR “SHOULD BE”…

– Isabel Urbina Peña

Artist and type designer Isabel Urbina Peña (@Bellera) closed out WMC 7 with a beautiful talk entitled “Everyone Else was Already Taken,” which included highlights from her journey from Venezuela to New York, finding her design style and eventually discovering a unique way to present her work to the world. It was very refreshing to hear that while most of us spend our time creating for ourselves and clients, it’s almost as important to focus on presenting that work in a way that enhances the personality of the project. You can find out more about Isabel over at her beautiful site.

The Dropbox Vendor Village, located in the lobby of the State Theatre.
The Dropbox Vendor Village, located in the lobby of the State Theatre.

Vendor Village

The Dropbox Vendor Village was an overwhelming gathering of inspiring creatives, all of which were super cool. Great conversations with a ton of killer creative folks doing amazing work. Highlights for me included:

Snakes + Aceys –  On top of being awesome people, Hannah and Anthony of Snakes + Aceys also create incredible apparel and posters.  I grabbed their “Land of the Free” tee as well as their Weapon of Choice poster series created for WMC.

The National Poster Retrospecticus – Based out of Austin and featuring more than 400 hand-printed posters by over 125 of the most prominent poster designers in the USA, the NPR tour was alone worth the price of admission. Not to mention, JP and Andy are hilarious. I picked up two prints from Daniel Danger, a Primus 2015 tour poster and the Retrospecticus Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tour poster from 2014.

Charlie Wagers  – Another super talented artist who creates gig posters and enamel pins through his co-venture, Lost Lust Supply Co.  I picked up his gorgeous Ray Lamontagne tour poster, and a couple of his enamel pins.

Eleven by Seventeen – Keith is a poster designer who’s recently branched out into the world of alternate move posters, very much like myself. So obviously we became best friends. Super great guy.

Also this…

Letterpressing prints with Cranky PressmanTons of awesome swag from Jakprints including some delicious creative juice • Hands on screenprinting of a WMC shirt courtesy of Real Thread • Jeff Finley and his Starseed Supply Co. • Flying destroyer disk by OK Pants • The super ladies representing Cleveland’s economic development program.

When planning your trip to WMC 8, definitely be sure to bring a little extra spending money, because I guarantee you’re going to find something at the Vendor Village that’s a must have.

Weapons of Mass Creation
Ink Wars 2016 Champ Katia Oloy (@ekoloy) in the midst of creating her masterpiece.

Parties, Podcasts and other highlights

  • Crashed the VIP party on Friday night in order to be a guest on Bryan’s live recording of We Are Weapons. Listen to it! 
  • Watched in awe as a group of talented illustrators competed in Ink Wars. The theme? A mashup between Superman and the awkward teenage years. In the end, Katia Oloy (@ekoloy) was awarded the prize belt.
  • Attended the live recording of Adventures in Design with Mark Brickey.  The evening’s guests were Jeral Tidwell, Jamal Collins, and the Fest’s Emcee Aaron, better know as Ok Pants. (Side note: Aaron did a terrific job. He’s a Cleveland-based designer and you can check out his stuff here.) The highlight of the night was learning about Jamal Collin’s work with the Boys and Girls club in Cleveland teaching them to things like Photoshop and exposing them to the possibilities of being creative professional. Amazing work. Follow @Jayworking if you want to keep up with the wonderful work Jay’s up to.
  • Teaming up with some other South Jersey natives to take on our dreaded foes up in North at the Jak Prints official after party.

    Weapons of Mass Creation
    Fourth St, Cleveland. Home to a ton of great restaurants including Mabel’s BBQ and Greenhouse Tavern.

    Cleveland Rocks!

    Cleveland is a great town and reminds me of Philly in a lot of ways. Great sports town, awesome food, cool people. Plus Cleveland’s riding high thanks to the Cav’s big win this year, and getting some national love courtesy of hosting the RNC. A few random tidbits:

    Eating a hotdog topped in Mac n Cheese, bacon and fruit loops thanks to Happy Dog • Catching an Indians game at Progressive Field (They played Wild Thing!!) • Walking around the spectacular venues at Playhouse Square • Heading over to 4th street and grabbing some wings @ Greenhouse Tavern (No, I didn’t try the pig’s head)

    Wrap it up Gary

    Bottom line, I would encourage anyone that’s a creative looking to learn, be inspired and hang out with tons of like-minded folks to check out Weapons of Mass Creation next year. Somehow – surprisingly –  they’re struggling a bit to stay alive and I think it’s because of their grassroots approach. They’ve done a great job of keeping the conference small and intimate without help from huge corporate sponsors, and while that makes the festival extremely special, it also puts some financial strain. So please do whatever you can to support them. It’s a very worthwhile design conference put on by an amazing group of people and I could not recommend it more.

    To learn more, donate, sign up for email updates or see if there’s a way to get involved, head over to wmcfest.com.

———————-

Thanks to Gary from Variant for this incredible write-up! Please visit Gary over at his official site, or get social with him over at his Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. – the WMC Fest team