Marketing Design Dispatch

Read this before you attend a design conference

Published 10 months ago • 4 min read

Hi Reader,

I'm heading to Figma's user conference Config this week. It's the first design conference I've been to in quite a few years, so I've been prepping for it mentally (and also physically... by buying new sneakers 😅)

In this issue I'm sharing:

  • Some tips for making the most of your time at a design conference (or any creative conference really!)
  • An inspiring 'origin story' short film
  • A vision of an AI future
  • And a cosy work vlog to watch on your lunch break

There's also a little something at the end for anyone else who might be attending Config in SF this week 🤫

5 tips for attending a design conference

  1. Pick sessions based on what interests you most, not based on what you feel like you should be attending. Sometimes I choose a session simply because I follow the speaker online and love the way they think – even if the topic itself isn't the most relevant for my role. This way you'll have more of a chance to meet designers who are interested in the same things you are.
  2. Prioritise making in-person connections over attending every session. Maybe controversial, but if you're having a great conversation with a fellow attendee or have a chance to meet up with someone you admire it is 100% worth skipping a session to continue that conversation or make that connection. You can learn just as much from your fellow attendees as you can from the folks on stage.
  3. Create a list of people you want to meet and find ways to make those connections happen. Networking (aka having conversations with interesting people) is the main reason why I attend an in-person event. You could leave it up to chance and simply just talk to the person sitting next to you, OR you can be intentional about it and look at who else is attending (via the event hashtag or an attendee list if there is one) and make a plan for who you want to seek out and what you'd like to talk to them about. Connect with them on social media first, then introduce yourself in person when you see them at the event. You may not make it through your full list, but coming away from a conference having even just one or two solid, insightful conversations is officially a success.
  4. Attend at least one session about something you know very little about. I like to do this at each event I attend to expand my knowledge and get inspiration from a different source. Get out of your comfort zone a little!
  5. Focus on inspiration vs transcription when you take notes. Slides are often shared after the event, and sometimes the whole talk is available to watch online later. There's something special about hearing a talk in-person, and it always sparks ideas hearing people talk about their own work and processes. Those ideas and trains of thought/follow up questions is what you should focus on writing down rather than diligently taking notes on everything the speaker said. Write down your takeaways, not a transcription.

Which of these things do you do already? I'd love to hear from you in a reply to this email!

From creator to CEO

The average tech worker stays in their role for 1-2 years before moving on to a new challenge or opportunity.

I've been in my role for 6.5 years and counting.

A huge reason for that is the Founder and CEO of ConvertKit, Nathan Barry. He's one of the kindest, most generous people I've ever met, and his drive and the way he acts on his ideas to live out a mission of helping creators earn a living is incredibly inspiring to me. I feel lucky that I get to work alongside him and learn from him.

We recently made a film about the founding of ConvertKit, where Nathan shares how his creator beginnings led to the $30m+ company we are today and opens up about the struggles he faced along the way.

Trust me, you've never seen a leader in tech be this transparent.

I hope you enjoy the film and feel inspired to keep going if there's something you believe in that isn't quite working out how you hoped it would (yet).

video preview

What if UI could design itself?

In the last issue you heard from me about my thoughts on spatial computing and where it could lead us.

If you enjoyed that, and enjoy thinking about the future, I highly recommend reading David Hoang's article Dynamic Interfaces about his vision of the future of app design.

"I believe there is a world where interfaces will not only present themselves in precise use cases, the application will re-design the interface itself based on feedback."

Come to work with me on launch day 🚀

We launched an exciting new feature at ConvertKit recently! I was involved in creating the launch assets as well as hosting a livestream to reveal the new announcements to our customers. I vlogged the day so you can join me for the chaos and see what a launch day as a Creative Director at a small tech company is like.

video preview

Will I see you at Config this week? If you see me around, please don't be shy about saying hi! I'd love to meet you.

I'm co-hosting a meetup/unofficial after party on Thursday, and you can consider this your official invite. We've booked out a restaurant and there will be free food and drinks plus lots of like-minded designers you can discuss your Config takeaways with.

If you're not going to make it to Config in person, remember you can register to watch it online. And I'll be back in next weeks issue with my thoughts following the event and its new feature announcements.

Have a good week!

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Marketing Design Dispatch

by Charli Marie

Join 17,000+ creatives receiving insider insights about brand and marketing design – featuring landing page and rebrand breakdowns, useful career content, and a behind-the-scenes look at running a Brand Studio team in tech.

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