Yes, it’s that time of year again—time for the annual design conferences parade. Seems like every year the line-up begins. If I added up all the design conferences I have attended over my career, and if I was able to get frequent flyer points for attending them all, I am sure I would have enough points to fly around the world twice! So why do we as design professionals push ourselves to these events? Why do we walk the endless aisles show after show? What value could they possibly provide?
ASID has assembled an accomplished faculty of design industry leaders to guide you to career success, sharing the experiences, successes, and challenges that led them to where they are today.
It would be impossible for me to attempt to put a value on what I have gained from the numerous design conferences and events I have attended throughout the years. Yes, I have been to most, albeit not all of them, and every time I prepare I ask myself, “Why am I doing this? Do I really need to go to that show again? Could that much have changed in the past year?” The answers are yes, yes, and yes.
For me, industry events are an investment in my professional development and integral to my soul as a designer. They help me stay current with design trends and technology. They inspire creativity in my work. They provide opportunities to explore the latest products and materials, and they allow me to network with my peers and colleagues from around the country. These events are an INVESTMENT in my career as a design professional. You will always get back much more from these conferences than you put in.
ASID events, either on a local, chapter, or national level, have been on my radar for many years and I’ve attended many events annually, even before becoming Chair of the ASID National Board of Directors. In fact, just last month I attended our local ASID Carolinas, Eastern North Carolina design community meeting. It was great to reconnect with colleagues and friends and to build bridges with several new people as well.
Here are a few of the benefits I often find when attending an ASID event.
Can the daily grind of constant deadlines, client meetings, submittal reviews, and building your business wear on you? Never seems to stop, just goes from one pile to the next, doesn’t it? We NEED to take time to step back and reenergize our souls as designers. It’s that simple. Getting away from my daily grind and gaining inspiration from new ideas, new information, and innovative approaches shifts my perspective. It fills my soul.
As designers we have amazing jobs! We create the fabric of the human experience in the built environment. People see, touch, and experience the spaces we create. Taking time to refill your design soul and to gain inspiration from others can make a lasting impact on you, and in turn, will allow you to continue to make an impact on the human experience and the world as a whole.
Yes I know, there will be crowds, lots of people, and lines for lunch, yuck. Use this to your advantage. Often these events connect you with colleagues, vendors, and industry representatives from around the country and the world. You’ll have the opportunity to meet design visionaries, talk with your peers, and build your network in an industry so driven by relationships.
I’ll never forget the Chapter Leadership Conference in Vancouver, BC I attended many years ago. There I was, a “younger” designer with stars in my eyes wondering what the future had in store. Waiting to hop on the elevator up to my room, I found myself with none other than ASID National President Robert Wright, FASID, and several other national ASID board members. “Wow, am I really on the same elevator with them? Ok, don’t be shy, Tim” I thought. I introduced myself and peppered Robert with questions for the duration of the 30-second ride. “Ok that wasn’t bad, they didn’t laugh at me or kick me off the elevator,” I thought. That is how you build a network.
So, as we head into the Conference Conundrum of 2018, I challenge you to embrace these industry events and make plans to attend as many as you can. In addition to the many industry conferences and events, ASID is proud to present SCALE: The ASID National Student Summit in Los Angeles, February 23-25, and of course, The Leadership Experience: Presented by ASID in Washington, D.C., July 19-21. Lastly, ASID will round out the year with Platform: A Retreat for Design Visionaries in Park City, Utah, September 19-21.
Don’t let the Conference Conundrum get you! Take advantage of these opportunities and your career will thank you!
Hope to see you at The Leadership Experience in D.C. this July! Will you join me?