How Design Live & Boston
This year I had the opportunity to attend the HOW Design conference — there were inspirational talks and informational workshops, here are some highlights of the conference and the lovey city of Boston:
Great introduction to the city with some chowda and a beer at Abe & Louie's on Boylston St. — delicious and the street was fun to walk down. Then later, had dinner at the Atlantic Fish Co. two doors down — I recommend the lobster roll.
The first conference event wasn't until 1, so we walked to the Boston Public Library (which happens to be the first book loaning library in the nation AND the site of the Boston Marathon finish line) and took the 55 bus to Charles St. for breakfast at a cafeteria style diner called Paramount. Charles St. is so iconic — brownstones, red brick and gas-lit lamps — great street to walk along. Then we walked back to the hotel by way of the Boston Public garden, checking out the Mother Goose ducks, original swan boats (they've been operating there since 1877!) and tulips blooming like crazy.
As a side note, the metro system in Boston rocks, Charlie passes are $18 and will give you access to the whole system for a week (including the Back Bay Logan Express bus, which is by far the easiest and fastest way to the airport — I really wish I had known about it on arrival, hauling luggage on the subway is not pleasant).
The first class I attended was Photoshop to HTML, super quick, but informative techy tools.
Opening keynote was DeeDee Gordon interviewing Malcolm Gladwell — they both had a lot of insight, but what stood out to me is Gladwell's theory on desirable difficulties, that when a task is harder, the performance is better.
After the chat, we took the green line to the North End for a beer at the oldest US pub (the number of "oldest in the nation" and "first in the nation" places in Boston is pretty remarkable, if I were to go again, I'd skip most of 'em, it seems they're more into the gimmick) and then some Italian food recommended by the fire fighters sitting at the station across the street.
Debbie Millman interviewed Seth Godin, they talked about the importance of being disagreeable (saying no in the service of doing better and the client getting more of what they want) and the lizard brain/amygdala (instinctual fear of being exposed as a fraud, getting thrown out of the village and eaten by a sabre tooth tiger). What I found interesting was that he said the bravest thing he's ever done is have kids, then he talked about his manifesto on transforming education, "stop stealing dreams."
Brian Singer was an excellent, engaging speaker, his projects — specifically the evolution of his 1000 journals project to an art therapy project with the UCSF Children's Hospital — were really inspiring.
Elizabeth Olsen (VP Design-Brand Expression & Inspiration at Procter & Gamble, not the one from Full House) had strong tips on how to get a seat at the table (be visible, be generous, be nice and be conversant) and the language of busign (business + design).
Maria Popova was far more together than I was expecting, her presentation "Seven life learnings from seven years of reading, writing and living." was lovely and well crafted, I especially liked the illustrations she used in her slides from this poster.
Developing your brand aesthetic with Trina Bentley was the talk I pulled the most from — her work was stunning, her presentation was clear and concise, and her personality was bubbly and engaging. Best quotes: "Luck favors the prepared" and "Dreams don't work unless you do."
We had a long break for lunch, so we took the 1 bus across the Charles river to Harvard yard, walked around and grabbed a burger and shake at Mr. Bartley's, yum!
The LogoLounge trend report was cool, Bill Gardner broke it into categories: motion lines, links, states, knit (LOVED this!), geography, hexagons, waves, pom-poms, gem facets, geo-wire, flat facets, dazzle, hand type, stacked and mono-crest.
Johnny Cupcakes was a blast, he was so funny and had 3 great tips on approaching people you don't know: have good eye contact, a good handshake and (most importantly) good breath.
Dana Tanamachi-Williams was my favorite. I've been following her work for a while and was so stoked to see her talk, she didn't disappoint.
Corwin Hiebert had an excellent talk about organizing with actionable tasks and how to use your workflow to keep you focused.
Stefan Sagmeister presented his observations on happiness. His style is so unique and it was fun to hear the back stories.
After the conference I was able to fit in some sightseeing and mark a couple things off my bucket list: saw the Redsox play at Fenway (total highlight, the game was fun, it rained but the crowd was a blast and we were sitting ON THE GREEN MONSTA!), walked the Freedom Trail, checked out Beacon Hill and the Bull & Finch pub (Cheers), got a cannoli, biscotti and cappuccino at Modern Pastry, went to the Union Oyster House and relaxed on the bike path park by the Charles River.