Tag Archives: weapons of mass creation fest

WMC Fest 2012 – day one

18 Jul

I’m going to try to sum up my experience by transcribing my notes from the speakers I was able to watch, hear, and experience in hopes that it makes sense and inspires you as much as it did for me. I am bummed I wasn’t able to hear all of the speakers present this year, but I hope to look them up via their respective websites/social sites. Here we go.

Austin Kleon, Austin, TX-based writer, artist, author, and speaker
Talk Title: Writing: The Secret Weapon of Any Career

Nothing is original
All writing is collage, recombining words
Read, read, read: Good reading leads to good writing, read what you love
Write in your books: create arguments in the margins
Keep a swipe file: what to take and use for later (small notebook, phone,
camera, etc.)

Always carry paper and writing utensil
Artists need pockets, they also need curiosity, kindness, and stamina
Step away from the computer screen: It’s too easy to hit the delete key
“In the digital age, don’t forget to use your digits!”—Lynda Barry
Keep a daily routine: Schedule it, make a calendar, and keep a log book
Write something you want to read
Write to satisfy 1 person (not yourself)
After you write something, put it away and read it again later
Practice in public: blog, twitter, whatever…just share

Austin’s presentation made me want to read, sketch, and write more, oh and buy shirts with 2 front pockets. I really want to write more and better now.

Mike Kubinski, Cleveland, OH-based founder and designer at C.L.E. Clothing
Talk Title: Home Grown

Big on civic pride
Build a brand and build an audience
Get your friends to be your marketing team
Print yourself, print on-demand, and keep inventory low
Get involved with your local scene
People embraced the brand because “the location inspires them”
Make crazy designs that are alternatives to the “big guy shops”
All money goes back into the company
Hire a manager
Pitch in to other local artists/designers, create a community
Wanted to become the “city’s giftshop”

Mike is big on civic pride and has built a successful business on that model.
Be true to your roots and be proud of where you live and work.

Nate UteschFort Wayne, IN-based designer, artist, art director, musician, and founder/curator/designer of Ferocious Quarterly
Talk Title: Let’s be more of who we are. Together. All at once.

Collaboration is compromising
Give up and work together
If you don’t think something is possible, it won’t happen
Create, because it’s who you are and want to be
Motivate others

Through Ferocious Quarterly, Nate has worked with some of the best illustrators, designers, and writers in the biz. A project is so much more rewarding when done with others. Nate has so much energy and I could tell he would be awesome to work with. No wonder Ferocious Quarterly is so well-respected in the industry.

Rachael Novak, Cleveland, OH-based illustrator and designer
Talk Title: Side Hustle

Hone your craft and capitalize on it
Trial and error, find out what sells
Broaden work and keep it relevant
Be kind to yourself
Be a first-rate “you”
Post and share, show off your personality
Take on small projects, an exercise might turn into something big
Don’t share absolutely everything you do
Show off “play” in your work
Work by hand
Work without a goal in mind

Rachael’s big things are to concentrate on your craft, enjoy the work you do, share, but not too much, and have fun doing what you do. Do your 9 to 5, but dig into something you enjoy on the side.

Johnny CupcakesBoston, MA-based entrepreneur and founder of
Johnny Cupcakes
Talk Title: Coming soon!

You need to make sacrifices to be happy doing what you are doing
Approach the right people and use the people you do know as a resource
Internships and volunteering: learn from others’ mistakes
Focus on your work now, play later
Put 110% into your business
Try to find a balance and find time to do something you love
Sage is the O’Doul’s of marijuana
Strange concepts are good
Create an experience for your customer, may need to spend more money to do so
Packaging is VERY important: if it doesn’t get thrown away, it’s good, acts as a mini billboard
Make product memorable and customers will act as your marketing team
Build a community
Build a positive team and learn how to delegate tasks
You don’t have to use traditional advertising
Don’t rush: first impressions are everything
Hand-written notes are powerful
Frequent sales = frequent fails, makes you appear less-attractive as a business

A businessman and entrepreneur at heart, Johnny truly is a people-person. He’s concentrated on the quality of his products, had fun with his business, and turned it into a really successful brand. He is deeply connected to his customers, which helps create such a great experience for everyone involved.

I will be highlighting the speakers I saw on day two on tomorrow’s post.
Stay tuned.

WMC Fest 2012 overview

17 Jul

As I mentioned in a previous post, I attended this year’s Weapons of Mass Creation Fest in Cleveland, OH. Throw out all of your preconceptions of your traditional, stuffy conference folks. This conference boasted of 20 speakers, 20 featured designers, and over 30 bands and it was like something I’ve never experienced…in a really good way. WMC Fest was founded by designer and illustrator Jeff Finley, partner of Go Media, a Cleveland-based, full-service agency. Jeff and his team have planned, organized, and executed an amazing experience for designers, writers, and creators in a centralized, mid-west environment that is Cleveland, Ohio.

This year’s activities were broken up into three venues; the Reinberger Auditorium, Saigon Plaza, and iLTHY Workshop. Fortunately for the organizers and the attendees, these three separate buildings are in close proximity to one other.


The Reinberger Auditorium boasts of a intimate setting for the speakers to give their talk, which at times may have been more intimate than the speakers would want. For several of the presentations, people spilled onto the stage while they did their talk. It kind of gave that punk rock show feel, which I thought was cool.


Saigon Plaza housed the 30+ bands for the weekend on two stages (inside and outside), as well as the pre-fest mixer, and a breakdance competition. Because of the heat that weekend, it made for a rather warm setting. Only after the sun went down, could you slip outside, enjoy several drinks, and escape the heat.


The iLTHY Workshop allowed 20 designers to showcase some of their work in the Art & Design Show gallery. Also inside the iLTHY space were many other designers selling their prints, T-shirts, books, pennants, and stickers.

Overall, Weapons of Mass Creation 3 was extremely fun and rewarding. I met some really great people and got to hear designers who I’ve admired for quite some time speak and had the opportunity to talk with them after their presentation on a one-on-one level. It’s events like this that transform (in my head, at least) well-known design superstars into normal, everyday people, just like you and I. We all do the same thing; create for a living. If we can connect at that personal level and leave the pretentiousness at the door, our community will continue to get  better and stronger. I’d like to thank everyone who had a hand in this year’s fest. It was a huge success and I hope to make it next year.

I will be making 2 more WMC Fest-related posts in the next few days, highlighting the speakers of this year’s event. Stay tuned.

designblinks update

9 Jul

You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t made any new posts in over a month, so I’d like to explain why.

I went to Weapons of Mass Creation Fest in Cleveland, OH. My goodness that was an amazing experience. Not only did I get to hear so many inspirational designers and illustrators, I was able to meet other like-minded designers who were just as hungry, if not hungrier, to gather as many tips and to soak up as much inspiration as humanly possible in one weekend. I will expand on my time at WMC Fest in a upcoming post.

I also accepted a new job (same university, different department), so in the past few weeks, I have been finishing some larger and on-going projects for my previous department, as well as trying to get up to speed with my new department, which included finishing the interview process, accepting the position, and picking out new hardware and software. All in all, it was a long process, but well worth the move. I was with my former department for over four years and within that time, the department restructured several times. There were many road blocks and red tape, as you may have in any academic setting, but this was a great opportunity for me to join an newly-formed, fast-growing department, pretty much at the ground level. So I will be able to help them set guidelines, organize, and write policies that they will use in the future.

Because I’ve been busy with job-related things, I have been absent from my daily social sites where I draw my usual blog content from. That’s the main reason I haven’t posted anything in the past month+. Over this “extended blog vacation,” I’ve had a rebirth of sorts; working on changing the way I do things personally and professionally. That being said, I plan on making more frequent posts, hopefully two per week.

Thanks for sticking around.

friday blinks – 4/13/12

13 Apr

Here is a list of sites we’ve come across throughout the past couple weeks that we think are worth sharing. We call it friday blinks.

100+ Pictograms
Designer Daniel Bruce has crafted some really slick-looking pictograms for free download/use. Thanks man! Great stuff.
(via Nate Navasca/twitter)

Brian Cummings website
Designer and illustrator Keenan Cummings created a website for his dad, who is a very talented voice actor. I followed the faces as Keenan created them on dribbble (1, 2, 3), and the end result is really awesome. I love how each one of the faces ties into a specific type of voice. Oh, and check out the little flying Brian Cummings twitter bird. Nice touch!
(via Keenan Cummings/dribbble)

Mercedes makes an “invisible” car

(via Mike Metz/twitter)

Edgar Pin-up calendar
No, it’s not what you’re thinking. No scantily-clad ladies here. Just old fashioned-looking photos pared with a magical grid of dates below. WOW.
(via Under Consideration/twitter)

Weapons of Mass Creation Fest 2012 Sneak Peek
Jeff Finley, founder of WMC Fest, leaks the the speakers and most of the featured designers for this year’s Fest-tivities. It looks like a solid line-up. I really hope I can make it out this year.
(via Jeff Finley/twitter)

In other news…
Austin, TX-based type wizard Simon Walker launched his new site recently. Check it out. It’s totally bad ass.
(via Simon Walker/twitter)

I have decided to switch up the look of friday blinks. I’m going to go through the Pantone book, starting with PMS 100, and include quotes, along with the date and PMS number. Hope you like it.

friday blinks – 3/2/12

2 Mar

Here is a list of sites we’ve come across throughout the past couple weeks that we think are worth sharing. We call it friday blinks.

Jumpman HTML5 site
WOAH! Super slick.
(via Chris Streger/twitter)

Triforce Tribute
Design + crafts + everything Zelda. I never played the game (ZELDA NERDS REVOLT!), but can get behind some serious geekery for the game. This show is sure to be very successful.
(via David Sizemore/twitter)

Jeff Rogers makes a font baby
Beautiful two-ply, hand-made font by NYC-based designer/illustrator Jeff Rogers.
(via Ryan Feerer/twitter)

Annual report powered by the sun
Austria Solar commissioned the first annual report powered by the sun. Its content remains invisible until sunlight falls on its pages. Design work by serviceplan campaign. This is really cool.
(via David Sizemore/twitter)

Weapons Declassified: Jeff Finley
Weapons of Mass Creation Fest founder Jeff Finley gets featured, and talks about how WMC Fest came to be and the concept behind it. Pissed I won’t be able to make it up to Cleveland this year for WMC Fest. Next time, Gadget…
(via Jeff Finley/twitter)

friday blinks – 7/8/11

8 Jul

Here is a list of sites I’ve come across throughout the week that I think are worth sharing. I call it friday blinks:

Fuzzco business cards
Very smart idea to keep cost down and still have a killer set of business cards.
(via Brandon Oxendine/twitter)

I can haz art school: by Jessica Hische
Brave move from the very talented Jessica Hische. I guess you can do something like this if you as talented as she is.
(via Jessica Hische/twitter)

Create the Map: Interview with Dan Cassaro
Fantastic interview with the young and very talented Dan Cassaro (50 and 50/Springstreets).
(via Jeff Finley/twitter)

Dear Photograph project
Touching project. Reminded me of Post Secret.
(via Adam Senatori/twitter)

Weapons of Mass Creation Fest 2011 video wrap-up
Beautiful hand illustrations for the titles. Everything in this video make me want to make the 6.5 hour drive to Cleveland.
(via Jeff Finley/twitter)