Creative South Recap

By Lauren Davis

Last week I attended a work conference with my co-workers. Scratch that. Last week was the perfect blend of inspiration, know-how, and drink-infused fun.

Focus Lab 2016 004

Basically it was the baked mac and cheese of the Thanksgiving dinner table - it was awesome. In the four days we were in Columbus, GA, we were encouraged and motivated to pursue design greatness. (I'm still not sure of the significance of the shirtless guy who danced with Cheese Whiz all over his face, but I'm sure it's important and the moral will hit me soon.) Ladies and gentleman, I present to you, Creative South. #cs16

Thursday, Day 1:

After fueling up on Taco Bell and Red Bull, we hit the road and made it just in time for our very own Alicja Colon to present her Shaping Light Workshop, which I was able to assist with. You might not realize how important it is to know how to take a properly lit picture, especially if you don't use a camera very often, but you'll be glad you do if your friend's band needs a killer photoshoot or you need to deliver a fantastic product shot.

After Alicja's amazing workshop, Creative South welcomed us in in the most baller way possible by throwing a party on a bridge, complete with drinks, dancing, ink wars, and every basic girl's favorite thing...fireworks. The first night alone made the trip, but then the conference honed in on why what we do is so important, which, in turn, really refocused and refreshed our team.

bridge party

Friday, Day 2:

Friday rode high on the wave of excitement kicked up the night before. The day was spent hearing talks from incredible communicators who excel in the design world. We heard from the likes of Adam Grason, who has worked with Disney, and Bethany Heck (#heckyeah), who has redefined all the rules when it comes to typefaces. If you haven't heard Bethany speak before, I highly recommend you do a quick Youtube search and find out how she has changed the game.

In the midst of these fantastic talks, we had the privilege of watching two of our own, Chase Turberville and John Oates, compete in Type Fight Live. Type Fight Live, you say? It's like Celebrity Boxing, except instead of celebrities punching the crap out of each other's faces, it's regular designers like you and me going head-to-head to create visually appealing alphabetic art. So really, it's nothing like Celebrity Boxing apart from feeling like a boss by competing in a legitimate boxing ring. John was able to claim a win for his round and Chase walked away with one of the “Best of Show” titles.

friday typefight

Saturday, Day 3:

As Creative South was winding down, the speakers were just getting started. Forefathers, DKNG, and Draplin (to name a few) brought down the house with their inspiring and hilarious talks. Never in a million years did I think I could be so entertained while learning to hone my craft. Just as our final remaining moments at Creative South came to a close, we witnessed what can only be described as a good clean 'Murican showdown. Which brings me back to cheese-spray man...I told you I'd find the significance. Words will never do justice to what our Cheese-Whiz-covered friend did (and you know what you did, sir). What I can say is that if we all were as fearless with our work as he was with his dancing, the world would be one beautifully-designed place. I encourage you to create, explore, and experiment with your craft. Don't just settle for what currently is, but push the envelope on what could be. Who might even be the person someone else writes about next time.

The best part about attending a conference like Creative South isn't so much the information I received - as incredible as it is - but more about the people I got to experience it with. I wouldn't trade any amount of money in the world for the team I get to work with every week at Focus Lab. It's the moments like Type Fight Live and the Shaping Light Workshop that remind me of how lucky I am to work with such talented people. It's easy to get used to how skilled my co-workers are when I see them deliver week after week, but it's another thing entirely to see them showcase their knowledge and skillsets in front of our design peers and see how respected our team is within the design community. It's humbling and it left me with a tremendous sense of pride. I want to thank Bill and Erik again for taking us to Creative South, and for recognizing the importance and value in the experience.

Until next time, Creative South!

team photo

Just in case you guys were hungry for more, here are some gems of wisdom heard throughout the weekend. Some inspiring, some ridiculous.

  • “Simple & Cheap. Take your broke ass home.” -Forefathers
  • “The only people who retire are the ones who donât like their jobs.” -Lance Wyman
  • “All we can do is be the best version of ourselves, compared to nobody.” -Peter Deltondo
  • “You already have a no, but you might get a yes.” -Irene's Mom
  • “Dude, you just parmesaned your credit card.” Andy Fought
  • “I wish I could just be a flea on the wall.” -Wilyo
  • “Pull 'em up, Pull 'em up, Pull 'em up, Pull 'em UP!” -Ike Alexander's Fire mixtape

Photo creds go to Tyler Sharpe for the fantastic group shots