Circles Recap

By Alicja Colon


Can’t Stop. Won’t Stop: It’s my unofficial motto for conferences. So when it came time for Circles, which recently threw down in Grapevine, Texas, I was naturally “all-in.” Since my early days of Focus Lab, Bill and Erik (co-founders of this grand agency), have always encouraged the team to be involved in conferences. No matter the topic—from leadership to design—I have always returned energized, full of ideas, and with a full heart from connecting with generous artists.

At conferences you generally find people that desire community. Along with business cards, each attendee comes bearing experience and insight. I never have to go far to glean wisdom. 

At Circles, the overall wisdom trend was “Unique Tenacity.” You wouldn’t have found that phrase on any of the materials, but it was clearly written on all the hearts of whom I spoke with.

We heard that message from design masterminds like Mikey Burton and Mary Kate Devitt, and from attendees who work in-house in engineering firms, Starbucks and the like, and design startups.

Some of my favorite takeaways from Circles repeat the message:

  • ‘Tenacious process’ by Mikey Burton: Sketch, illustrate, revise. No matter how big or small, the process is the same.

  • ‘Tenacious initiation’ by Mary Kate Devitt: Create, reach out, create, share. Repeat.

  • ‘Tenacious passion’ by Ashleigh Axios: Following her desire to make a positive impact in the world led her to the White House.

  • ‘Tenacious play’ by Jessica Walsh: You create the best with your childhood heart in the game.

And I can’t forget ‘tenacious style,’ which was unquestionably represented at this year’s Circles after-party. 500+ designers, all decked out in their hottest 80’s gear, tempting fate on four wheels, in one of the raddest roller skate after-parties ever. Marty McFly, complete with sports almanac and hoverboard, was in attendance alongside with some preppy mullet-wearing tennis players (ahem, InVision).

Thank you, Circles, for creating an environment where creatives can be re-energized, refreshed, and bolstered up. See ya next year.