Some fun stuff happened this past week. Thursday, bright and early, I drove with 2 friends over to Cleveland for Weapons of Mass Creation. This is my third time heading out to this particular conference, but my first time while being unemployed/self-employed. It seemed sort of silly to spend the few hundred dollars (it is an extremely affordable area and conference!) when I don’t have consistent money coming in or anyone really knocking on my door.

I left stoked on my future and stoked that I went!

So I just want to touch on the cost up front, before I explain why I think these type of events are important.

The Costs

Room & Board: $130
I stay at a great hostel. Designers book out most of it for the weekend and it’s a blast to gather after all the day’s events are over.

Tickets: $80
I purchased the Flying Blind/Early Bird and it’s super affordable. May have been less than $80

Travel: $330
I like to drive out. We rented a car, filled it up a few times and crossed some tolls. This $330 was split 3 ways though, so it’s really only $110.

Food: $200
We ate out a lot (daily 
Barrio & Mitchell’s kind of creeps up on you).

Total: $520
My total was just around $500, after splitting the travel cost. That’s a lot of money when not much is coming in. That’s pretty much a month’s worth of my car payments, insurance and phone bill.

It’s also worth noting I can write this off my taxes, which will help impact the cost a bit.

So there is the cost broken down so you can know what to expect when attending a more affordable DIY type conference. All these costs could change drastically depending on where you live and which conference you are attending.

The Pros

Meeting design heroes.
This isn’t a quick meet and greet either. I got to talk NJ hardcore history with Jason Carne for like 45m and met up with him at the zoo. I also spent time with Diane GibbsScotty Russel, and so many more I can’t keep listing. These are the people influencing my aesthetic and people I aspire to be more like.

Making friends & seeing friends.
In this ever growing technology ruled world I have met more and more friends on twitter… These conferences give me time to not only hangout with them in person, but meet new people that I can look forward to seeing every year. It helps fill in the community aspect of our industry when working from home.

Rejuvenation and Inspiration
These conferences get you excited. I left this weekend with a fire in my belly and stoked to be working on projects again. It’s been a while since I’ve been excited to sit at my computer, but I’m there now!

There are so many more things this conference offers but I’m going to stop here. School teaches you hypotheticals… the speakers at these conferences are teaching you lessons they learned from trials. I might not learn something from every speaker, but every day I leave with a little something that will sit in by subconscious as I work through my career.

I really hope this quick little break down will get you to at least look into these type of conferences. We can’t all afford the Adobe Max or HOW conferences and even if I could… I may still choose the two I mention next.

I have been going to WMC and Creative South (I already have a ticket for next year’s Creative South). They both have an energy I haven’t experienced else where. I’ve made more friends through these then I did at my college and I’ve learned more too. I would love to meet and hang out with you at them both, so start saving and making your plans!

Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have about design conferences. Here are a couple links to photos I took throughout the weekend. Video will be coming soon!
– A couple IG accounts I was sharing to: Will.Truran / NobleFolkDesign
– A photo album on FB I think you can see Here

As always if you’re reading this and need some help with a web or branding project please reach out!