Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Thrive Conf, a one-day conference put on by AIGA Raleigh. Six creatives from across the country shared their journeys to becoming designers, how they overcome failure, and how they’re changing the world through design. The afternoon was jam-packed with straightup inspiration. I wanted to share some of my favorite takeaways from the day with you.
...say what? As a fellow pizza lover, I really enjoyed Scotty Russell's talk. He shared his insights on what he's learned from loving pizza; one of those lessons being that "you are not pizza." Almost everyone can create a combination of sauces, cheeses, and toppings to create a pizza that they will love. Us designers on the other hand, can't change ourselves or our design style to appeal to everyone's taste, and that's OK. Keetra Dean Dixon shared some brilliantly creative work that, in my opinion, could only successfully be created by her. It just goes to show: you do you, and good things will follow.
Failure was a common theme throughout the conference; every single speaker touched on this topic at least once. I think it's something that we all avoid thinking about, at least I do. It can be a sore subject, especially when you work hard at something that doesn't pan out. But failing isn't always a bad thing. As Erik Reagan said, "failure is a tuition we pay for some of life's greatest lessons." I take that idea with me in other aspects of my life like sports, so it only makes sense to apply it to design work as well. Propaganda also touched on some hard points like failure and impostor syndrome, but always kept the crowd laughing. He reminded us to remove yourself from your work and look back on it from a different space, and your entire perspective can change.
As designers, we literally make things. That is our job. We have the skills to create interesting graphics, products, and projects that people see all over the world. You like looking at pretty things, right? I know I do! And I love making them, so why not make pretty things that can influence and affect change? Antionette Carroll uses her design skills to create social change through many projects in her community. Nick Ramos emphasized that we can change the world one brick at a time with our designs. If we can craft the world, we can change the world.
I left feeling energized, inspired, and looking forward to Thrive Conf round 2 next year!