If you have anything really valuable to contribute to the world, it will come through the expression of your own personality, that single spark of divinity that sets you off and makes you different from every other living creature.”
— Bruce Barton, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
Recently, I lost my identity. Or at least all of the pieces of plastic that confirm I am who I say I am. I was petrified; without those pieces of plastic, my scheduled return home to Boise from San Francisco would become impossible. I had an epiphany as I was scavenging the empty conference building for my lost identity: I really was a different person after experiencing the HOW Design conference. Maybe the screwy universe was spelling it out for me and stealing my identity so I would be forced to come home an entirely new person with a fresh start.
I had experienced a transformation during the conference. Pieces of the old Angie started withering away when I listened to the key note speaker, Austin Kleon, discuss “How to Steal Like an Artist.” His black-out poetry and tale of an unlikely friendship gave me goosebumps. I thought about Jessica Walsh’s demand for “play” to stay fresh and creative as I looked for new holes where my identity could have been inadvertently placed. She reminded me that growth and coming up with fresh ideas can be a fun and enriching experience.
The session I enjoyed the most and that will stick with me the longest was “Reinventing Your Ideas: How the Little Things Yield Big Results,” given by Johnny Cupcakes, or Johnny Earle. Johnny wasn’t trained as a designer and is currently a business owner. His backstory was hilarious and inspiring. He went from selling candy on the playground at school to owning a T-Shirt empire. His passion for what he does is what makes him a success, but he also understands that at every touch point his customer must feel the “Wow” of his brand he lives and breathes every day. He concluded his session with a piece of advice that I heard over and over while attending this conference. The same advice my grandfather gave me when I graduated high school: “Real success is being happy doing what you love.”
The transformation I experienced was almost a step back to me ten years ago, fresh out of college, excited about every design challenge presented. I went to bed thinking about how I exciting it was that I had rekindled some of the person I was, but now have knowledge and experience to enhance the person I want to be. In the end some nice person set aside my identity and I found it in the morning. I feel I am forever changed after attending the 2013 HOW Design conference in San Francisco. My experience can apply to anyone and any business. It is important to stay fresh, try new approaches and do what you love. This is the road to happiness.
See photos from our experience here!