Ampersand Design Studio

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alt summit 2013 : the recap 02.02.2013

We’re home from our second year of attending Alt Summit and our heads are still spinning just as much as the year before. For those of you who did not get a chance to attend, the below picture is pretty much what the majority of the conference looks like. For two days, all attendees can pick between multiple sessions of talented and knowledgeable speakers – it’s really impossible to decide what sessions to attend because we sort of wanted to attend them all!

It really is a lot of information for your mind to take in though. The first day, we attended classes like Collaborations with Sponsors, Hiring Help, Blog to Shop, Personal Branding, Work Life Balance, Getting Your Online Life Organized and more….so, as you can see, Alt can get your brain rolling in so many directions from our business brand itself, how to incorporate our blog and shop together, to ways to make our actual blog profitable, all the way to how to take great photos for awesome original content…and with so many talented people in one place, it’s hard to stop yourself from dreaming up collaborations! It’s a lot to take in in one three day period! We know there are a ton of Alt Summit round-ups going on right now, so we just wanted to touch on a few of our favorite quotes that are sticking with us and share some pictures with you! (Thanks for following along on instagram with us, too)

• Just be true to yourself, be true to YOU —from the Collaborations With Sponsors panel by Mitra Morgan, Merrilee Liddiard, Camille Styles, Annie Selke, Jenny Komenda

• Think BOLD, Think BEAUTIFUL, Think BIG —from the Collaborations With Sponsors panel by Mitra Morgan, Merrilee Liddiard, Camille Styles, Annie Selke, Jenny Komenda

• Follow your passions and you WILL be successful – Stay focused! —from the Collaborations With Sponsors panel by Mitra Morgan, Merrilee Liddiard, Camille Styles, Annie Selke, Jenny Komenda

• one fabulous speaker, Jasmine Star’s husband said to her, ” I would rather see you fail at something you love than succeed at something you hate” on deciding to quit her job and follow her passion. love this.

• take weekends off and schedule vacation time (what? novel idea, eh?) —from the Work/ Life Balance panel by Michelle Hunt, Morgan Shanahan, Kirsten Grove, Christine Castro-Hughes

• be a good boss to yourself —from the Work/ Life Balance panel by Michelle Hunt, Morgan Shanahan, Kirsten Grove, Christine Castro-Hughes

• make life happen (list things you’d love to do in order to help them come to life) –Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks

• journal, read and collect without judgement –Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks

• start saying NO —from the Work/ Life Balance panel by Michelle Hunt, Morgan Shanahan, Kirsten Grove, Christine Castro-Hughes

• Personality leads to a platform, a platform leads to trust —from the Collaborations With Sponsors panel by Mitra Morgan, Merrilee Liddiard, Camille Styles, Annie Selke, Jenny Komenda

• You can’t be successful unless you know what success looks like for you — Jasmine Star

How cool is this “Relax & Unwind” sign from the Bing lounge? Well, so we sure did make a bit of time to unwind and have some fun with friends new and old! The smilebooth photobooths are just expected at Alt now – we’d be disappointed if they weren’t there :)

From the Girls with Glasses Show Method Smilebooth, we partied it up with these lovelies: Ali from A Dash of Details, Michelle from Second Street East, Jessica of Wednesday Custom Design, and Jessica of Dahlia Lynn!

The highlight of this particular Alt Summit for us was one of our keynote speakers, the legendary designer and one of our idols, Stefan Sagmeister of the now Sagmeister&Walsh! If you aren’t familiar with him yet, just go for it, google him and learn everything about him and how he has changed the world of graphic design. He’s phenomenal and always reinventing and pushing boundaries that others don’t think to touch.

His current project is The Happy Film, a film about happiness that we had the privilege of getting to preview a 12 minute short version of. Many of us were in tears and I think it’s safe to say that everyone in the room was moved in some way. Here are a few thoughts that we are taking home with us from Sagmeister.

How to be Happy in Design (Wishlist)

1. Thinking about ideas & content freely with a deadline far away

2. Traveling to new places

3. Using a wide variety of tools & materials

4. Working on projects that matter to me

5. Having things come back from the printer done well

6. Designing a project that feels partly brand new & partly familiar

7. Working without interruption on a single project

8. Getting feedback from people for whom we do the work

“To look at the world and see what’s wrong with it is a lazy way of thinking”

“When you don’t have butterflies in your stomach, it’s a sign that you are just doing the same things you’ve always done.”

“We see the future through our current eyes.”

“Having guts always works out for me.”

“That’s a serious amount of apples you have there” (this one only to be understood once you have viewed his new film, but will always make us smile.

On the final day, we were honored to have our very our roundtable discussion about Going Into Business with Friends! We had an awesome turnout and made many new friends from our little talk. If you’re interested in a little overview and worksheet, head on over here.

And, as always, one of the best parts about Alt Summit is getting to hang out with old friends and get to talk face to face with friends that we have only be in touch with virtually before. Whoever says that the digital world doesn’t form true friendships is completely mistaken in our book. We have grown friendships that have started by a blog comment, a twitter conversation or following along on instagram! A few of our friends in the photo above: Ali from A Dash of Details, Michelle from Second Street East, Jessica of Wednesday Custom Design,  Jessica of Dahlia Lynn, Gaby of The Vault Files, Rachel of Pencil Shavings, and our long time bestie and best roomie ever, Meg of Meg Biram!!

Oh, and yeah, this happened. Jessica Alba (yes, THE Jessica Alba) was there to promote her non-toxic, environmentally-friendly company, Honest Co. and we had to say hello to thank her for this tweet about our neon ampersand!!! Thanks again, Jessica! She’s just as sweet in person as you would imagine her to be!

all photos taken by us, or from the Alt Flickr stream taken by Brooke Dennis

  1. Josephine

    I LOVE your recap! The quote you posted “When you don’t have butterflies in your stomach, it’s a sign that you are just doing the same things you’ve always done.”
    really spoke to me. Thanks for sharing! You’re making me want to attend ALT sometime ; )

    February 3, 2013 1:22 am
  2. ampersand

    Josephine, that was one of our very favorite quotes, too—sometimes its hard to keep in mind, but this year, we are going to try!!!!

    February 3, 2013 9:31 pm
  3. Tina Ramchandani

    Ok, I love Jasmine Star’s husband!

    February 4, 2013 2:04 am
  4. Ali

    Those Smilebooth pictures are hillarious and ridiculous! I had so much fun with you girls!! We need to schedule a work lunch soon! xox- Ali

    February 4, 2013 3:13 pm
  5. Gaby [The Vault Files]

    So I came back home wishing we had spent more time together! We’ll have to go again or find another conference ok? ok! :)

    February 4, 2013 7:09 pm
  6. Audrey - This Little Street

    Such a great recap! Loved reading it, thanks for sharing :)

    February 6, 2013 1:21 am