Here is this year’s breakdown of the 16 sessions of the 2016 Brand New Conference that took place this past September 15 – 16 in Nashville, TN, and which was awesome. (If you are looking at this in an RSS reader head on over to the real thing, too much heavy formatting). This is a very long post with a photo of each speaker, very brief summaries from me and my partner Bryony, collected tweets from the audience, and a preview of their video/session, so give it a good time to load. A few other things worth bullet-pointing:
• Videos for purchase are now available.
• A lot more photos from the event have been posted in this Flickr album.
• Additional videos from the conference not included in this post: Day one opening remarks and BNConf identity presentation / Day one closing summary / Day two Brand New summary / Day two closing summary.
• Registration is now open for the 2017 Brand New Conference in New York, NY, on September 14 – 15.
• Next I will post this year’s identity materials. Just have to photograph them once we receive our own shipments from the venue.
That’s it. Enjoy the post. There is a lot of great content from all the speakers.
Photos by Nicola Harger.
We kicked off the conference with a 3-song performance from local bass master Slick Joe Fick and his guitar sidekick Lain Christian. From there, we let all the prep work leading up to the event take its course and hoped for the best!
A rare look at the process behind 30-plus years of logo and identity projects plus examples of the long-standing relationship with French Paper.
We started the day with a look back over the decades of work focused on reviving the past and giving it a second chance, or third, fourth, and so on. This done through creating clients and building identities that start with truth—great puns and humor go a long way too, as does a love and passion that drive the need to create. And remember, you should love your client’s products.
Charles from CSA Design 30 years of logo design in 45 minutes #bnconf only 44 minutes left— Tanja Pohl (@IndyTanja) September 15, 2016
"Always try to build an identity from the truth or something real." - Charles Anderson #bnconf— Grace Bolzman (@gracegdesign) September 15, 2016
Getting approval from the client… That's the true art form in graphic design — Charles S Anderson #bnconf— Brand New Conference (@bnconf) September 15, 2016
A convincing and charming case for seeking variety, diversity, and maximalism in identity projects… and life.
More is more, and less is a bore. When you create energy around a project, you are going to get that energy back from the client. Seek out variety around each project. Avoid a processed process. Create a lot so that you can spot what fails. Use every project as an opportunity to improve yourself. Make; evaluate. Make; evaluate. Rinse; repeat.
More is more, less is a bore. — Clara Mulligan #bnconf— Brand New Conference (@bnconf) September 15, 2016
Make, and then evaluate. Make, evaluate. Don't do them both at the same time, it'll drive you crazy. - Clara Mulligan #bnconf— Beth Voigt (@twenty3eighty4) September 15, 2016
"Design isn't about how it looks, it's about how it works." -Clara Mulligan #bnconf— ariannaorland (@ariannaorland) September 15, 2016
When you create an energy around a project, you're most likely gonna get that energy back from your client. - Clara Mulligan #bnconf— Grace Bolzman (@gracegdesign) September 15, 2016
Yes yes yes, Clara Mulligan. Always have a personal agenda, use every project as an opportunity to improve yourself. #bnconf— Rusty (@rustyccook) September 15, 2016
Clara Mulligan - It's ok to treat design like art #bnconf— Tanja Pohl (@IndyTanja) September 15, 2016
A conversation spanning over 60 years, covering Manuel’s multiple jobs and signature line while musing on fame, fortune, style, and rhinestones.
There was so much to the conversation between Manuel and his now-BFF Armin that I am opting for reminding you of a few rhinestones… “I’m as simple as oatmeal. My next suit will be my best one. Worry about legacy? I don’t even worry about tomorrow.” Manuel is focused on today, the project on hand, the friend by his side, and, of course, good food and extraordinary projects.
"Yes of course I dress like this all the time. I even have a special suit to mow the lawn!" All hail Manuel 😂🙌🏼 #bnconf— Alli Elster (@TimesNewAlli) September 15, 2016
"I am simple as oatmeal" Manuel #bnconf— Sara Coffey (@SaraLeeCoffey) September 15, 2016
A glimpse at what it means to be the new guy on the block in a storied firm while showing that the quest to design simple logos is multi-generational.
From solo design to joining a staple of our industry Mackey walked us through some of the lessons he has learned: A logo gains meaning and power overtime. You should break the rules — but only when you make the rules. Gray is the worst color for a logo — it’s like it can’t make up its mind. Clients think they know what they want, until you show them. If you mis-diagnose or let your clients self-diagnose, that’s when you get poor work. Your first idea is your best idea but your last idea is your best idea. Consider everything. — worry about nothing.
Consider everything. But worry about nothing. - Mackey Saturday #bnconf— Grace Bolzman (@gracegdesign) September 15, 2016
An honest recap of changing industries and landing inside a well-oiled machine where performance and innovation are the leading qualities of the product and the expectations of its design team.
Dirk told us to Shut up. Listen. And learn. Embrace your fear and don’t let anyone talk you out of greatness. Dig deeper, find out why they are saying what they are saying—communicate your ideas. Learn the art of faking it, and Don’t fuck up.
You, Listen to the voice in the back of your mind… the one that, with each slide, is saying “I can do that.” Believe it. Just do it. #bnconf— LWSDCo. (@lwsdco) September 15, 2016
A quick historical introduction to the first known candy bar in the U.S. followed by its revival in 2010.
Challenged with finding a fresh voice for a company that had been around for 100 years, Beth showed us that with a good origin story, passionate customers, and a delicious project you can get locals and non-locals to love your brand no matter where they are.
An endearing look at a life-long admiration for logos (and sports uniforms) and how that informed the start of his own business.
The computer is where ideas are executed, not where they are born. Own it: You have the expertise, not them. Guide them and find better outcomes together. Get fired — it’s just the cost of doing good business sometimes. Learn from it and own it too. And finally, don’t be lazy.
An optimistic presentation on the potential of design and ideas to influence community and society positively with humor, smarts, and craft.
Work with civic and public sector groups to get things because we have the ability to shape the way people interact with the world, perhaps you should use it for good? And as long as we are here, let’s make it better!
A non-jargon-y nor pretentious promotion of holistic design and how bridging and unifying the worlds of product and brand design generate stronger results.
The design food chain is broken. We need to question this process and influence the collaboration that should exist with the many parts. Holistic design is an experience that creates a unified emotional, physical, and social connection and when you see the behind the scenes you can grasp the effect of what you can do. So know where your designs are going. And please remember: Collaborate! Be brave enough to critique - and be critiqued. Work with empathy, not sympathy — big difference. “Holistic design, it’s the future!”
"I don't think anyone in our profession is just there to be a dick." - Kristine Arth #bnconf— Beth Voigt (@twenty3eighty4) September 15, 2016
Collaborate!— Brand New Conference (@bnconf) September 15, 2016
Group perspectives can be cool.
Grab a beer and talk. — @arthkris #BNConf
An in-depth look at the arduous process behind the redesign of the Google logo and the challenges of deploying it across the platform and its myriad offshoots.
From Matias we heard that one of the greatest lessons in getting people to help you is to tell them about your troubles. The long shadow makes everything good — sometimes. Mix up teams so that they don’t work with each other as usual and help break the typical working relationships. This was a great example of not waiting for the executive team to give the command to redesign but taking on the project from the belief that it’s needed and that if the work is good it will stand up to scrutiny at the highest levels.
Hearing about the change in Google's logo, a talk to die for. #bnconf— Morgan♡ (@omgmorgan) September 15, 2016
Loving the theme of designers as doctors and the slippery slope of self-diagnostics by clients #bnconf— Alex Flamini (@alexflamini) September 15, 2016
Loving the theme of designers as doctors and the slippery slope of self-diagnostics by clients #bnconf— Alex Flamini (@alexflamini) September 15, 2016
An introduction to the Mozilla Open Design project and step-by-step peek at the second round of exploratory identity work by johnson banks.
An overview of how SPIN works, the influences in Tony’s work, his collections, a sampling of two projects, and a preview of upcoming Unit Editions titles.
Think. Make. Next. Design is social. Come together. Collect. Be weird. Look. Research. Try to explain it. Keep looking, there is more than just one good idea. When in need, Will-Burtin-it, and find a better alternative. Don’t just brand the back end of a cow.
An informative talk on the challenges of making signs and the considerations designers should have when designing logos that will end up as signs.
Luke Stockdale’s parents owned a magic and novelty store in rural Victoria. When their home was lost in bush fires he helped build a new home and could not go back to sitting in front of a computer again. What did he do? Something we should all do. Get people to teach you what you want to learn. If you have something to teach, do so. Be it in a classroom, a boardroom, or your very own church. There is beauty and value to be found in that which is difficult. Don’t take the easy way out just because it is faster.
A breakdown, smartly framed through basic human skills, of the approach Base Design takes in their work while showcasing some of their work.
Min Lew showed us that great design = design skills + people skills. To use basic, inherent human skills to create great design. Trust your gut, and listen. Before you walk into a meeting ask yourself: What is my energy today? What are my expectations? What is my contribution? And listen 80% of the time. Talk only when you have something to say. Don’t design for designers, or yourself, design for people. Help define who companies are. Don’t be afraid of words, they make great visuals. Be together, it’s not us vs them. Think beyond your title, flex your creative muscles, your mind, your design and don’t forget there is no glory… in bad work.
Designers help define, design, decide who companies are. #bnconf— Grace Bolzman (@gracegdesign) September 16, 2016
You guys.. Min Lew.. She's absolutely inspiring! #bnconf— Andrea (@iathomas77) September 16, 2016
A behind-the-scenes, no-holds-barred look at the clever and surprising design, motion, and live-action work of ManVsMachine.
Mike tolds us to design by doing. Throw shapes. Mess around with stuff. Don’t just point at things. Find a motif and build from it. Be a little more ridiculous than everyone else. Own your path, do what you must to do what you are interested in doing — create awesome digital lies. Don’t design for designers, design for your nana, for everyone else. The computer is rad, but the real world is rad-er. If something breaks, let it be broken. Imperfection is great.
Favorite quote of the day: "Bullshit harmony" 😂😂 #bnconf— Sarai Nunez (@sarainunez) September 16, 2016
An illuminating glimpse into the research and restoration of dozens of Olympic emblems, mascots, and identities carried out with evident love and exemplary craft.
Ben and Greg had a unique opportunity to review, recreate, and redefine the work of hundreds of designers. What I find the most striking, and something that I would like to remind myself of, is the need to find a balance between what has been established with what can be, while respecting the existing without constraining your exploration by what you have seen. Their process and experience can be applied to any rebrand that the rest of us are exposed to at work on any given day. And it is up to us to balance the past, with our personal desires, the needs of the clients, the expectations from their customers, and the common ground of all of the above.
A great story of the team’s first designer creating a logo steeped in research and meaning and bringing to life an identity.
How do you create something out of nothing? By piecing bits and pieces together one step at a time. A conversation, a typeface, a photo shoot, some stories, references and research, and personal investment in the future success of the project, and day by day you can see it all come to life. If you are as determined as Ashley was to create something out of nada, then you have nothing to worry about when you next find yourself in her situation.
A charming rags-to-creative-riches story of establishing a unique illustration style and build a thriving side business and creative outlet.
Finding fame and fortune needs to be done through a project of the heart. But if you think you have found it, and after a bit you realize it ain’t working no more, then it is time to walk away, and invest in yourself as you seek a new goal — without ever losing your soul. Like Derrick. You never know how it will all turn out, but the journey, the growth, and the process sure make it worth your while. And yes, it is ok to negotiate for yourself. And reconsider. Fucking reconsider.
A thoughtful case for being more open and accepting of clients and building strong relationships that lead to more meaningful work.
Benji Talked about designing relationships. Nashville is a town of wild animals and lovely people. Who knew?! Isn’t there some wild animal in each of us? We should strive to see people for who they are without confirmation bias. Value relationships over transactions. Understanding people makes us create better work.
An invigorating look at the challenges and successes of a show that influenced many of us while showcasing the creative output needed to keep the brand on track.
Kids deserve good design; simple typefaces that are clean and real — they can tell the difference. Theresa shared that Sesame Street’s brand attributes are: real, heartfelt, simple, furry, funny. Which is something we could strive for in our daily lives. The focus for the next season is kindness and, again, something we should all focus on. A hint of muppet works just fine. And when in doubt, wear Elmo shoes!
Fur is very difficult to animate on a tight budget. — Theresa Fitzgerald #BNConf— Brand New Conference (@bnconf) September 16, 2016
A fast-paced history of Hatch Show Print and its 137-year legacy plus a passing of the torch as Jim steps away from being The Hatch Guy.
Jim serenaded us with his harmonica. The Hatch Guy. The Hatch Guy talked fast! What a treat. He told us about a time when a poster was meant to tell you something, not sell you something. How world wars changed the poster. How computers saved Hatch. How mainstream clients infused Hatch Show with cash and visibility. How new musicians revived its services. How the Hatch Guy himself spread the gospel of Hatch. What a story. What a future. Thank you Jim for that. Celene, good luck! And, everyone, go on and get that money.
Now in our seventh year and eighth conference overall we were surprised at how much this particular conference kicked our ass in the last month. It was a lot of work and we got very ambitious with the hand-made elements, particularly those stage letters that Bryony painted by hand and I drove across state lines from Texas to Tennessee. As if that weren’t enough our grand idea to place rhinestones of the program covers — photos to come — was unbelievably slower than we ever expected but our volunteers stuck to it, literally, and went the extra hours to get it done. The speakers were great, the venue was great, the audience was great. It was great. I’m sorry, we are beaming about it! Now, we have the challenge of coming back to New York and trying to deliver another great 2-day experience. Hopefully you will be there.
@bnconf - whoa. . It was so amazing to volunteer for the Brand New Conference, you never know how much goes into these events until you're on the other end. . Attention to details is what makes conferences successful and that we did. Gluing thousands and thousands of bedazzles onto these program booklets on Day 1 😂😂 . I also had the opportunity to meet some incredible designers and catch up with old friends! Cant ask for much more!! Thank you @arminvit and @bryonygp for all you guys do! It was amazing! . That's a wrap, y'all! … . . #bnconf #brandnewconference #bnconference #nashville #nashvilletn #nashvilletenn #nashvilledesigner #nashvilledesign #national #designconference #designconference2016 #colorful #patterns #branding #brandingdesign #programs #programdesign #booklets #volunteer #bnconf2016
There is a common thread among speakers at #bnconf this year: make something and *own it* - both for yourself and for your clients.— Stephanie Haworth (@steph_haworth) September 16, 2016
Looking at all the #BNconf feed makes me want to take a trip to Nashville.— theresa dela cruz (@theresadelacruz) September 17, 2016
What a great conference! Thank you to the organizers and volunteers! Bravo! #bnconf— Chris Hyatt (@hyatt_chris) September 16, 2016
Nothing as affirming as coming away from something as lovely as #bnconf feeling proud/excited to be part of this kind of design community— Annie Maynard (@eamayn) September 17, 2016
Sad that this conference has to end! Thank you so much @ucllc for the opportunity to sponsor such an amazing event. Armin & Bryony every detail was "under consideration" Enjoying the final moments of our Nashville adventure at the #bnconf after party! (Not sure why there is a chandelier in this place, but we love it)! Long live #CougarPaper #BluelineMag #Print #Design #GraphicDesign #Art #Artisan
Plans are in development for coming back to Europe in Spring of 2018 with the current top contender host city of Barcelona.