Tesani was so generous as to fly Noelle (my creative director) and I out to Chicago last week for the Brand New Conference! It's an event for designers focused on branding, and acts a little bit like a recap of the Brand New blog for the year.

Highlights include Noelle eating leftover Giordano's deep dish pizza for breakfast, waiting for the Skydeck at Willis Tower for freaking ever, and curling up in my little trundle bed every night because I forgot my pajamas and slept straight in my G's to Noelle's total amusement. That sort of thing seemed to be the theme of the trip—me being so totally embarrassing without even the slightest idea. I apologize to any and all Uber drivers for this very reason.

Oh, but highlights of the actual conference, you ask? My favorite speakers include Ivan from Futura (who took the time to come up and talk to us after, so cool), Tosh Hall (super great energy, and so technically good), Tom Crabtree from Manual (my favorite all around insights), Sharon from Werner Werks,  Laura Stein (Asics Tiger was so sick), Jacquelyn from Shhhowercap, and Jennifer Kinon from the Hillary Clinton campaign (really interesting inside perspective). And I can't not mention the swag! Our hosts went over the top branding, and might I add largely by hand, all of the materials to mimic Cloud Gate (the bean) and Chicago itself. So stellar.

Overall though I really learned that designers are truly winging it. And I repeat. WINGING. IT. There is no one formula. To be great, you really do just have to take the time. Time includes refining your eye, gaining industry knowledge, and learning how to get to the better solutions (again, with time). Honestly everyone is kind of awkward, we are all human. And we (I) should go a lot easier on our (my) selves. To not be so afraid of failing! Take risks! And definitely don't play it safe.

A favorite line from the conference went a little something like this. We are not bomb diffusers, we are not doctors, we literally design business cards. What's the worst that can happen.

And one more. Be authentic.

Natalie Fieldingpersonal