SXSWi 2009 – Part 1

Well, we survived another SXSW! I love going to conventions or retreats because they give you an opportunity to sit back and try to learn something that is going to help you in everyday life. It’s kind of like going to school, but without the homework and with a much more practical application.

The other thing that struck me while I was there is that I really love hanging out with, talking to and listening to really freaking smart people. I went to a few sessions that I figured probably wouldn’t apply to me, but I went because I appreciated the presenters. Not a disappointment in the bunch.

So here are some of the highlights:

Tips for Making Ideas Happen – Some great info here from the Behance team who have been researching productivity. Make sure to separate reference items from action items in some way. Hold “standing” (on-your-feet) meetings to get through things quickly. Quote: “Ideas don’t happen because they are great.”

Tips and Tricks for Adobe CS4 – This guy was awesome and highlighted some cool new features in CS4. My 2 faves were the mask panel and adjustments panel in Photoshop. Quote: “My title is ‘Product Evangelist for the Adobe Creative Suite’. Did you hear me say ‘Tech Support’?”

Is Spec Work Evil? – This was pretty much a designer brawl. I was waiting for the t-squares and Xacto’s to come out. Basically, the panel (which included the ever-so-famous David Carson) took opposing sides as to whether designers should work for spec (work for free and hope someone pays you) and are sites like crowdspring.com cheapening the value of graphic design? Being a designer, this one hit pretty close to home and while I understand that spec work has a function in the marketplace, I don’t do it. Merc and I have also had many discussions about what separates and amateur designer from a pro and as the industry goes, not much. You don’t have to go to school, you don’t have to pass a test, you just need a copy of Photoshop Elements. Yuk. Quote: “I disagree with this notion that endlessly tinkering around and sketching out funny little logos, makes you a better designer.”

To be con’t…

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