Emily Chohen was at the HOW Design Live design conference in Boston to speak about “The Power of Saying No.” I said yes to a podcast though, and we speak a lot about no. Well, the power of saying no. And when to say no. And how to say no. And how not to say no. Also, when to say no. And probably other things about no.
We also speak about her new book, Brutally Honest. I am looking forward to getting my copy, as every time I speak Emily, I end up quoting one or two things she told me for the next few months… sometimes much longer.
We also talk about how Emily helps her clients (who are basically other creatives). And most creatives, starting with myself, always need help with the non-creative things – maybe how to write a proposal, how to price graphic design work, what work is appropriate for a graphic designer to do, what work should a graphic designer go after, how and when should a graphic designer hire someone, and why you should fire at least one client a year.
Just re-listening to our conversation while editing this podcast helped me to confirm that I made a decent decision earlier today. What is with being in design and second-guessing everything? Not all clients are perfect fits, and not getting a project is not the worst outcome – in fact, it’s probably more common than actually getting a project – and chasing anything that doesn’t make sense, well, just doesn’t make much sense at all.
Bill Gardner was presenting the 2018 Logo Trend Report (not quite online yet, but it will be soon) at the HOW Design Live design conference in Boston. We ended up taking a bit of time to discuss logos, the difference between trendy and trend, amazing orange jackets at conference parties, LogoLounge and their now 15(!) books, and more.
At last year’s LogoLounge party (my short post about the event here) at HOW Design Live, I saw Bill do an amazing magic trick. This year, I wrote about him doing another magic trick in the exhibit hall. So, we spend the first part of this episode talking about magic, and what it was like performing a trick for Muhammed Ali.
I guess I have been an actual member of LogoLounge for almost eight years. I probably should have signed-up earlier, as I really do believe it’s beneficial to me, and more importantly, to the profession of design. When I review student portfolios, I always ask something like, “What type of work do you like doing the best?” and I would say at least half of the students respond with something like, “Logo design.” There is just something about the initial look of a company / cause / event – about distilling meaning and mission into something that still works at a fourth of an inch. Having a website dedicated to nothing but logo designs, presenting them well (and easily searchable), as well as putting the best of the group on the front page, well, I guess it reminds me of what we should be doing, the quality we should be doing it at, and the constant reminder that even in a format that we speak of wanting something ‘timeless’, that change is always needed. Take risks in logos. Make a logo look like it was created a long time ago, and yet also created in the future.
Graphic Design is such a great profession, but wow, it can burn you out sometimes. I’m thankful that the HOW Conference is there to help remind us of why we love design, that we can make a difference, and that there are many other creatives that can totally relate to what many others may not think are not really issues at all. I am also happy that I got to see a bit of Boston as well – part of a great conference is the area, and being able to experience something different than my usual day in Omaha, Nebraska. As I was able to fly in early enough the day before to actually see the Boston Commons in the day (I saw the park during my two other trips to Boston, but seeing it in the daylight was much more impressive). I also made it out to the older downtown area of Boston for the first-time. Overall, I had a great five days, and have HOW and Boston to thank for much of it. Until next year’s HOW – Chicago – we will be back on our regular podcast schedule, starting in a week or two with the first of six podcasts recorded while at HOW (I believe Bill Gardner is the first one).
Listen to Day 1’s recap here. Wait around until tomorrow-ish to hear about day 3. Or, if you are viewing this page anytime after, let’s say, May 16th, 2018, find the link to the day 3 recap on our Season 11 archive. It’s a bit crazy to me, but this was actually the 10th time I attended the HOW Conference. I remember back in 2009, Nate and I had heard from a lot of people that it was the event to go to, and with a push from Steve Gordon, made the decision to attend. Sometimes things happen not exactly as you plan – I say sometimes, but I probably mean never happen the way that you plan. Way back in Season 2, I did actually make that trek to Austin, and Nate ended up staying in Omaha and recording the show remotely. The best part of that set-up was that the shows went out an hour or so after they were recorded. Things change, and this year’s recaps took maybe the longest yet, like 10 days, to go live. Regardless, the memories of the event are still fresh in my mind, and I look forward to many more. It’s weird to think back to how much this event changes every year, but I think that’s what makes it a good one, it adjusts to the times, stays relevant, and isn’t afraid to take a few chances to see if it can continue to improve. I only hope some of the craziness and excitement come across well.
Boston was great. I even spent a bit of time blogging for Neenah Paper while there:
- HOW Design Live 2018 is Magic
- Time May Change HOW
- Lobster Rolls, HOWie, and Johnny Cupcakes Spinning Vinyl at HOW Design Live
In addition to the 3 recaps, over the next few months I’ll also be releasing six podcasts recorded while at HOW.