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#buttermilkinboston – Day 4

Thursday was our final day at HOW Live. We headed out to the airport later in the day so we  were able to catch a few good sessions as well as visit some neat stores.

Dana Tanamachi-Williams' beautifully designed packaging for Wiliams Sonoma

Dana Tanamachi-Williams’ beautifully designed packaging for Wiliams Sonoma

The first session of the day was by Dana Tanamachi-Williams, the famed chalkboard lettering artist. We were really looking forward to her session- we just knew it’d be amazing. She basically ran down her whole career from the early days of lettering her friends parties in their apartments to working with Oprah on her magazine and events. Dana is beyond inspiring and her story of where she’s been was so interesting. Her biggest takeaway for me was her question: “Who’s flourishing because you’re successful” Which we think is a great thing to keep in mind in a partnership business. We hope to both succeed and flourish and pass that back and forth, and then extend that out to our clients. Dana was beyond humble during her talk, making us fall in love with her all over again.

After Dana’s session we headed to the Dieline Conference to see Christopher Durham’s talk on innovative private brands. He poses interesting points that make us question our perception of what a private brand is. He pulled some of the highlight brands from his book and talked about what made them unique. We were proud that he even singled out a couple of our projects to discuss.

We left the the conference to seek out some lunch and brainstorm some things. We landed at Trident Booksellers & Cafe. We had already been there twice! We really loved the place, and their food was super tasty! After a couple of bubble teas we headed back out on the street to take in a few shops. We visited Zara and got our kiddos a couple of things, their baby clothes are beyond adorable. 

We did end up making it to Camper, one of the places on our list of things to do. Camper has an interesting retail environment. Theres one large long table right in the middle of a fairly small and narrow store. All their shoes are on display, men on one side, women on the other. You tell the employee your size and they scurry to the back to retrieve it. It was a great set up to pick up and hold and compare a bunch of different shoes.

The other store we made it to was Madewell. We had been there before, but we had to head back. They have really neat style and products, like a quirky J. Crew. But what we really like is their store. They have great POP displays, sale signs on clip boards, and interesting fixtures. We left inspired and ready to head back to the conference just in time to attend a session by riCardo Crespo.

This was the last session of our conference, so we sat back and listened to what riCardo had to say. riCardo is a veteran of the creative industry, and spent most of his time in-house so he’s got a unique perspective to share. We loved his energy and found a few takeaways to bring back.

We headed to the airport to catch our flight back to Greensboro, which ended up being quite an ordeal, but it gave us a little time to reflect on our week in Boston. Time flies when your having fun, but we’d also say it flies when you are inspired! We found so much inspiration over the past week- from Make & Matter to Dana Tanamachi-Williams. We are so proud to have presented at The Dieline Conference and really enjoyed sharing our story. And we loved talking with everyone throughout the week who enjoyed our session, very humbling. And of course we had a great time catching up with old friends and new friends as well. 

Buttermilk is back from Boston and ready to hit the ground running! 

#buttermilkinboston – Day 3

#buttermilkinboston is a daily recap of our experiences at the HOW Live Design Conference in Boston. Follow the hashtag on our Twitter and Instagram accounts to keep up with all the excitement. Click here to read our Day 1 Recap and here for Day 2.

The conference is flying by. We are a little sad as we come to realize we will only be here for one more day. Today was another great day full of inspiration, meeting awesome new people and seeing a few of our trusty favorites. We started the morning off with an absolutely incredible session by Trina Bentley from Make and Matter. We’ve been adoring fans of Trina’s work for the past year or so when we first discovered her blog. This session was at the top of our “not to miss” list! We were front row as she shared her experiences in designing her own personal design aesthetic. She walked us through her processes and showed us some techniques. I can probably speak for the whole audience when I say that her candidness and willingness to share was appreciated and helpful.  Her talent is such an inspiration, it’s hard to believe she’s a one-woman operation.

Trina had some great quotes she shared but our favorite was:

“Dreams don’t work unless you do”

package design by Trina Bentley

package design by Trina Bentley

Right after Trina’s session was Dan Pink’s general session. This was another major heavy hitter that we were really looking forward to. Pink discussed the fact that, whether we like it or not, we are all in “sales.” Just accept that. And he discussed ways to navigate this new found role we’re in. He redefined the age old adage “A = Always, B = Be, C = Closing” to “A = Attunement, B = Buoyancy, C = Clarity.” We learned that “ambiverts” are the best sellers out there and the good news is most of us are exactly that. He also brought up a very interesting study that said to add a tiny, insignificant negative with all the positives and folks gravitate to that more than just a list of positives, Very interesting stuff. Oh and Alex won Dan Pinks book so when we get back in town its going straight onto the bookshelf.

Our dinner spot tonight was a cozy little bohemian jazz club called The Beehive. It was perfect. Our drinks were well crafted, the food was phenomenal and the atmosphere was lively. There was a live jazz band playing on a stage in the midst of dining tables, eclectic chandeliers and rustic tapestries. Everywhere you turned, there was art to be enjoyed. Our dining companion tonight was Tim Cox, Director of Creative Strategy at Publix. It’s become an annual tradition of ours to catch up with him during the HOW conference and the conversation was a pleasure as always!

The check holder at The Beehive. Amazing!

The check holder at The Beehive. Amazing!

We have one more day at the conference and it looks to be another packed day of great sessions. 

We’ll be posting one more day of recaps- keep an eye out for our Day 4 post tomorrow.

#buttermilkinboston – Day 1

#buttermilkinboston is a daily recap of our experiences at the HOW Live Design Conference in Boston. Follow the hashtag on our Twitter and Instagram accounts to keep up with all the excitement.

Well we made it! We’re here in the fine city of Boston to present at the Dieline Conference and get inspired with all that HOW Live has to offer. We couldn’t be more excited.

Even though our trip up was a little rocky (we had to go through security twice in LaGuardia!) we still made it here safe and sound and on time! We made it just in time to check into our hotel and grab a quick bit to eat before we attended the first session – a conversation between Dee Dee Gordon and Malcolm Gladwell.

Dee Dee Gordon and Malcolm Gladwell on stage.

Dee Dee Gordon and Malcolm Gladwell on stage.

We were pretty giddy about the opportunity to be a fly on the wall while both of these highly influential people chatted. And the session did not disappoint. Topics discussed included:

  • we designers introduce balance into what people think and see
  • the concept of “Desirable Difficulties”- making something better by making it more difficult
  • how one can apply “desirable difficulties” to their own work?
  • the importance of being disagreeable
  • innovators are usually disagreeable
  • theres more to gain by being scrappy

These bullets represent only a few of the topics discussed. Dee Dee Gordon gave Gladwell a wide birth to speak on length about a number of interesting topics. This was a great session to kick off the HOW conference for us- the right amount of theories and inspiration to get those creative juices flowing.

That was the only session we were able to make it to. We’ve got quite a long hike from the hotel to the Hynes Convention Center so we are making it a point to take in all the architecture along the way. Boston has such beautiful buildings – its hard to see where you are going because it feels like you have to keep locking up or you’re going to miss something.

Beautiful architecture in Boston

Beautiful architecture in Boston

One day is down and we already feel very inspired. Once we present our session we’ll really get to let our hair down and take in all that HOW Live has to offer.

Stay tuned for our recap of Day 2 tomorrow!

Buttermilk in Boston – 1 Week Away!

Well the time is almost upon us! We’ve been working away on our presentation as well as putting together our itinerary for our trip to Boston. We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to present at THE package design conference, The Dieline Conference. 

We invite you to follow along here on the blog as we recap every night each day of the conference. We’ll be sharing insights about what we’ve learned during the sessions we attended as well as the other things we’ll be up to in Boston. We’ll also be tweeting non-stop over at @heybuttermilk and you can also follow along visually on our Instagram at @buttermilkcreative – we’ll be using the hashtag #buttermilkinboston to collect everything.

We’ll see you in Boston – either in person or virtually!

 

BUTTERMILK GOES TO BOSTON – PART 3

“Buttermilk Goes to Boston” is a four part blog post about our journey to speaking at this year’s The Dieline Conference. We’ll post an update every month leading up to May when we finally head north to present “Oops, I Became a Packaging Designer” at the conference.

Click here to read Buttermilk Goes to Boston – Part 2 and Part 1

May is right around the corner and we are half excited about our upcoming presentation and half scared to death! We’re slowly but surely putting together our presentation and are feeling pretty good about it.

So how’d we go about pulling together all the content for our presentation? Reaching back into 7 years of package design is a tall order to fill. We want to provide value to our audience and not just do a portfolio review so we really had to sit back and think about things: what were those meaningful projects that really put us through the ringer- those projects where we really learned some things.

As we looked at the landscape and we realized we needed some sort of organizational method for the projects we were presenting- so we settled on a type of “good, bad, and ugly” scenario. It took a couple trips to the patio of our favorite meeting place to come up with the list of projects to discuss but we narrowed it down and now we had our list. Now of course we couldn’t just leave it at “good, bad, and ugly” so we brainstormed ways to make that interesting and that led to The Boss – but you’ll have to see us in Boston to hear how that idea pans out!

We thought long and hard about these projects we picked out. What about them made them particularly challenging. What did we learn from them? What would we have done differently? What went right!? (if you can believe it) Some projects dealt with things like getting the right info up front, dealing with photographers, and how to spot a good idea when you’ve got one. We’ll be providing takeaways for each project because we really feel like providing takeaways is what is going to make our content resonate with the audience and hopefully give them some inspiration to take back to their day jobs.

As we continue to put together our talk and polish we’ve realized a couple of things:

  1. We’ve worked on a bunch of projects, both big and small.
  2. A packaging designer’s education is never complete- every project presents a new set of challenges and learnings.
  3. Sometimes when looking back at work we’ve done, it’s not quite as awesome as we once thought it was!

We’re having a blast putting together our presentation, rehearsing, and feeling anxious for Boston. The reality is setting in that we’re presenting at the packaging design conference in front of an audience of our peers. Its nerve wracking and thrilling all at the same time and we know we’ll miss it as soon as its over.