2nd Annual Dotgain Conference

Photo from Dotgain

On Friday, November 2nd I attended the 2nd Annual Dotgain Conference held at Holland College in the Florence Simmons Theatre. This year Jud Haynes of Newfoundland was the headliner and blew attendees away with his story, work examples, and client list.

Just a few super cool things about Jud:

  1. His name is Jud – is that short for something? I love it.
  2. He was a member of the super rad Canadian band, Wintersleep.
  3. One time when he was looking at the top 20 CD’s rack at a local shop, he had designed 8 in the top 2 rows!
  4. During his keynote, he spontaneously gave away a limited edition City & Color poster he designed.
  5. His wife, Krista Power is also a designer and they’ve printed fabric and wallpapers together!
  6. He once sat on a panel with Aaron Draplin. Wow.
  7. Chris Hadfield flew to St. John’s, NFLD to meet with him!
  8. He has some upcoming work being released with Blundstones.
  9. KINLEY name dropped him at a Hey Rosetta! afterparty in Charlottetown, PEI and that is how he began working with Upstreet Craft Brewing.

Organizer and Graphic Design Instructor, April Condon created this bomb playlist for the event featuring artists that Jud has works with! Be sure you check it out.

The rest of the day consisted of a viewing of the Design Canada Documentary, a UI/UX and Human Centered design presentation by Paul Lopes and Steven Garrity, an Illustrator Panel featuring Tyler Landry, Sandy Carruthers, Brenda Hickey, and Troy Little, and a presentation by Melody Dover of Fresh Media about the Business of Creating called “I’ve seen some sh!t”.

In my personal opinion, I enjoyed the Design Canada Documentary and the UI/UX presentation best – it was great to learn more about design history and processes that others have found successful.

This is my second year attending the conference and would highly recommend it to Atlantic Canadian designers or potential designers looking to learn more about the field and meet other in PEI.

Some key takeaways from the day:

Jud Haynes

  • “Trust your gut”.
  • Ditch the habit of ending your emails with “Let me know what you think?”
  • Fill your portfolio with items you enjoyed working on to SHOW what you’re good at and would like to continue working on.
  • Should you take the job? Answer these three questions for yourself: 1) Is the job going to be fun? 2) Will it give you exposure/lead to more work you enjoy? 3) Is the money worth the effort? You need to say yes to at least 2/3 of these!
  • Understand your money (taxes) or be stressed out for the rest of your life.

Design Canada Documentary

  • Abandon everything that is not supporting the message.
  • Say the most with the least imagery.
  • Expo ’67 is as radical today as it was then.

Illustrator panel, moderated by Mike Thomas

  • Don’t be afraid to start.
  • Graphic design knowledge is applicable because it taught composition and the relationship between things.
  • The planning and storyboarding stage is the hardest part.
  • Work your ass off all winter.
  • Simplicity is hard.
  • To get over the hump with a large project, finish a smaller project first and come back to it.
  • Be patient and stick with it.

Human Centered Design

  • Try design sprints by Google Ventures – Jake Knapp
  • Or the distilled version that they call a “HOP”.
  • Teaches you not to be so invested in a single design.
  • 5 testers catch 80% of the problems but only make edits they mostly all suggest.

Melody Drover – I’ve seen some sh!t

  • The worse that can happen is that the boss won’t like it, so give it a shot!
  • Businesses are created for PEOPLE by PEOPLE so appear that way – you don’t have to be thought of as a corporate ghost.
  • Say NO to spec work.
  • Know your value.
  • Be ready to learn.
  • Be aware of the “guru”. Be confident, but don’t be an ass.
Melody wrapping up the day! Photo from Dotgain