Last week Thursday and Friday, I had the opportunity to go to the Circles Conference. I was lucky enough to meet many talented people and connect with old friends. The speakers were great and I definitely walked away inspired (and a little better at foosball). Here are few key things I took away, I’ll keep it short and to the point – I promise!

Learn to love your work. Ever struggle with loving your work, but remaining humble? Me too.  Lotta Nieminen preached that self belief is key: be proud of your work, if you don’t believe in your work then nobody will, so be confident. She brought it home with , “Learn from other people’s strengths and study their flaws.” It’s good stuff, amiright?

Time is raw material of creation. Trying to balance time is just really hard sometimes. Designers tend to take their work home instead of leaving it at the office. Ben Jenkins had some great tips about separating the two: 888. Yes, just three simple eights. 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work, 8 hours of play. And all the while, do beautiful things.

We are all designing moments. Have you ever thought of design as moment-making? I haven’t, until Carlos Whittaker mentioned it. We can design our lives or our lives will design us.  Take a risk, fail often, screw safety, start living.  Throw away the bucket lists because our lives don’t fit into a bucket. In the end, create moments to remember.

Obsess. Explore. Play. As a soon-to-be graduate jobs are extremely stressful, not necessarily getting one, but picking the “right one”. Patrick Mahoney, lead creative at Mars Hill, gave some insight. We don’t have to wait for our dream job, we can self initiate. Have fun in the making and remember that caring makes things special. 

Create Wildly. Create is a word heard often. Megan Gilger, The Fresh Exchange blogger, brought some great points while inspiring a room full of designers and developers to create. Basically, in a nutshell, get passionate and be real, your story is valuable, be fearlessly authentic, and allow your story to inspire others. As designers, we are storytellers.

Create. Fail. Learn. < Pretty much the creative process. Terry Storch creator of youversion (the bible app) kept us in check as leaders. Leadership is a relationship because people follow the person then the plan.  As leaders, we need to be the model by making things better, not perfect. And most importantly, don’t be a jerk. Because no one wants to work with a jerk.

It’s all about the details. Are you a big picture kind of person or a detail – oriented? Jeff Sheldon spoke on the importance of both. If you’re passionate about something, it always wins – so create things passionately. Hustle. Stop with the shortcuts, get detailed, work smarter and harder, be vulnerable, and learn from your mistakes. 

To gain access to the videos from the conference, click here for more information. It’s worth it, I promise.


And as always, here some stuff I’m working on!


Above is script in the making, but here’s a little preview 🙂 

Screen shot 2013-09-24 at 11.24.25 AM

Above is an in process design for a shirt. Soon to add line breaks 🙂 

See more at leannekawa.com