Before I talk about the Circles Conference 2023 as a whole, I feel the need to give you some context for where I stand as a regular ole person. Generally speaking, I’m a creative here at Spire! And as a creative, I love to think upstream, solve problems, and build inspiring brands. However, personally, I like to build people up and give them a sense of worth, or at least I try to! At the risk of humbling myself unintentionally, I really just want to give others a platform to feel important and equal to their peers. It’s difficult, and I don’t always come through, but I’m trying.
That’s why I love to get out there to be inspired by the works and efforts of my own community. The more “life” I can put in, the more wholesome I’ll become, and the stronger my relationships will be.
Therefore, I believe it’s incredibly important to attend things like, say, a conference. Because being involved pushes creatives to adapt and change, which hopefully, is for the better. (That said, conferences are hella $$$$!) So, in my opinion, whether it’s joining a volunteer group or donating something, just participating would be well worth the time. Anyway, I’m passionate about this subject because I believe putting myself out there will enhance my creative performance, thus impacting the world around me for the better.
So, let’s talk Circles! Circles Conference was a three-day creative design conference by Circles Co., bringing together designers and makers from around the globe. We met a few of their volunteers, as well as Ismael Burciaga who runs it! They’re a bunch of great people who know how to run a solid show. The speaker lineup was strong, and good vibes were managed by a man called Andrew Hochradel. (Look him up and give him a follow; he’s certainly worth your views.)
It was a full house at a cool venue called the Palace Arts Theater: a restored 1940s-era building that’s recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. The retro vibe really got the creative juices flowing.
I attended the event with my coworker, a fellow epic designer, Alex Flores. There were plenty of other creatives in attendance, too, and the speaker content was on target for the crowd. In some respect, it was like most designer conferences: a lineup of speakers, workshops, and plenty of swag. But what really stood out was the opportunity to network, as well as engage with the speakers to talk shop—a real gold mine for anyone who knows what I’m talking about.
Circles provided a space where creatives were challenged to push themselves in the creative process while drawing inspiration from those thriving in the industry. It was an opportunity to learn from transformative thinkers and connect with like-minded innovators. Simply put, Circles was well branded, thoroughly supported, and genuine! We had a grand ole time but most importantly, we got out there!
Why is all of the context important? It’s because attending a conference is expensive but necessary. I think it’s easy for leadership to be hesitant to send their creative team to yet another conference, as if it’s just another party without much substance. However, Circles Conference was fun AND fulfilling. We came away with plenty of industry insight and a renewed perspective for our craft as creatives.
Creative minds (and I believe we’re all creative) need to breathe. Pouring 100% of yourself into your place of employment can be rewarding, but ironically, not stepping back from the grind can render yourself useless. We’ve all heard this before, right? It’s great to take a moment for yourself because in doing so, you can bring a new energy to work, which consequently, enriches those you work with.
Whew, ok, sorry for the loooong intro. I’m done with the soapbox, I promise. Just get out there, alright? Network. Check out Circles. Check out DSVC, AAF Dallas, Ad2Dallas, AMA DFW, and the other great networking organizations and conferences around town and around the country. And enjoy yourself.
As for Circles, well, you just needed to be there! But here are my big takeaways from the event.
The High Level
We talked about brand strategy, logo design theory, managing yourself in the workplace, new business finance, what it’s like to run an agency, lettering, printing, and much more.
The Big Stuff
- Brand for where you want to be, not where you are.
- Your best opportunity for storytelling is in the presentation (for anything).
- Bring humility to the process. Admit that you just don’t know.
- Creativity thrives in a state of play.
- Create to serve others and not yourself.
- Reshape your relationship with failure. See it as a friend.
- Before people decide what they think of your pitch, they decide what they think of you.
- Be you. And don’t forget to tell yourself that!
And there it is. Congrats on making it to the bottom of my post! I’m literally impressed over here. Now, get out there and empower yourself. From all of us here at Spire, cheers!
Tyler Fonville is a Senior Designer at Spire, named the 2023 Agency of the Year by the D/FW chapter of the American Marketing Association. Alex Flores is also a Senior Designer at Spire, and a 2023 Ad 2 Dallas “32 Under 32” recipient.
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