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#buttermilkinboston – Day 1

#buttermilkinboston is a daily recap of our experiences at the HOW Live Design Conference in Boston. Follow the hashtag on our Twitter and Instagram accounts to keep up with all the excitement.

Well we made it! We’re here in the fine city of Boston to present at the Dieline Conference and get inspired with all that HOW Live has to offer. We couldn’t be more excited.

Even though our trip up was a little rocky (we had to go through security twice in LaGuardia!) we still made it here safe and sound and on time! We made it just in time to check into our hotel and grab a quick bit to eat before we attended the first session – a conversation between Dee Dee Gordon and Malcolm Gladwell.

Dee Dee Gordon and Malcolm Gladwell on stage.

Dee Dee Gordon and Malcolm Gladwell on stage.

We were pretty giddy about the opportunity to be a fly on the wall while both of these highly influential people chatted. And the session did not disappoint. Topics discussed included:

  • we designers introduce balance into what people think and see
  • the concept of “Desirable Difficulties”- making something better by making it more difficult
  • how one can apply “desirable difficulties” to their own work?
  • the importance of being disagreeable
  • innovators are usually disagreeable
  • theres more to gain by being scrappy

These bullets represent only a few of the topics discussed. Dee Dee Gordon gave Gladwell a wide birth to speak on length about a number of interesting topics. This was a great session to kick off the HOW conference for us- the right amount of theories and inspiration to get those creative juices flowing.

That was the only session we were able to make it to. We’ve got quite a long hike from the hotel to the Hynes Convention Center so we are making it a point to take in all the architecture along the way. Boston has such beautiful buildings – its hard to see where you are going because it feels like you have to keep locking up or you’re going to miss something.

Beautiful architecture in Boston

Beautiful architecture in Boston

One day is down and we already feel very inspired. Once we present our session we’ll really get to let our hair down and take in all that HOW Live has to offer.

Stay tuned for our recap of Day 2 tomorrow!

Buttermilk Goes to Boston: Part 4

“Buttermilk Goes to Boston” is a four part blog post about our journey to speaking at this year’s The Dieline Conference. We’ll post an update every month leading up to May when we finally head north to present “Oops, I Became a Packaging Designer” at the conference.

Click here to read Buttermilk Goes to Boston – Part 3, Part 2 and Part 1

Well May is practically here and we are thoroughly freaking out prepping for our presentation. So in-between feverishly finishing our slides and rehearsing we spent a little time virtually exploring Boston and picking out all the fun stuff we’d like to do after we *hopefully* knock our presentation out of the ballpark (Fenway maybe?). Follow along below and if you’d like a handy guide you can visit and download our Jauntful map.

Alex’s Picks

Where I want to eat:

Island Creek Oyster Bar | islandcreekoysterbar.com

Even though I know Andy doesn’t necessarily “fancy” oysters the way I do. I know he will be down for going here with me anyway based solely on the fact that the brand identity and website design are freaking amazing. And, there’s buttermilk biscuits on the menu. Done.

The Beehive | www.beehiveboston.com

Another great design. What can I say? I’m aesthetically driven. This place is known for great live music and even better grub. There’s a reggae/jazz/soul band playing there our first night in the city. So, if our presentation is all zipped up and ready to go, we might reward ourselves with some live music and cocktails! 

B & G Oyster Bar | bandgoysters.com

Yeah, I know this one isn’t going to happen. I’d be pushing my luck to get Andy to agree to another oyster bar. But this one looks really nice too and I love the food photography on their website. Who knows, maybe he will fall in love with oysters?!

Hei La Moon

This restaurant is on the outskirts of Chinatown and I keep reading reviews of this place having great dim sum. Not sure if we will make it over to that area, but I’d love to try it.

Lollicup Coffee and Tea

Everywhere I go, I look for bubble tea. 

Where I want to shop:

Camper | www.camper.com

I’m always on the lookout for cool shoes. Not just for myself but for my husband and toddler as well. This place might be a great spot to pick up a couple of “travel gifts” for the family.

Olives & Grace | www.olivesandgrace.com/

A seemingly adorable gift shop which features small producers, artisan makers and emerging artists locally and from across the country. I love these types of shops!

Marimekko | us.marimekko.com

I’m a total sucker for the Marimekko style. So, needless to say, since I’ll be in Boston, I’m definitely going to try to pop into the Marimekko store. If for nothing else, at least a coffee mug or this oven mitt.

Other areas of interest:

Beacon Hill, Acorn Street

The cool thing about attending the HOW conference with Andy, is I never know where our travels may take us. We both always seem up for anything and open minded. If we have the time and the gusto, I’d like to check out Acorn Street in Beacon Hill, which is a historic neighborhood with picturesque architecture and cobblestone streets. Sounds like a lovely area to stroll and decompress.


Andy’s Picks

Where I want to eat (let me just say Alex picked out some amazing picks above, so i’m merely adding a little bit to her extensive list):

Falafel King

Alex and I have a pretty good track record of finding some great falafel shops in the cities we visit so Boston should be no different! While we take our stroll through Beacon Hill we’ll have to make our way to Falafel King. From the looks on Yelp its the perfect mix of no fuss eatery and some tasty falafel platters. Plus one reviewer said they are in fact the “king of all Middle Eastern foods in the City of Boston.” How can you go wrong with that?

Samuel Adams Brewery | www.samueladams.com

So it’s not exactly a restaurant but I would love to make our way over to tour the Sam Adams brewery. Say what you will about Sam Adams I think its pretty good stuff and while there are tons of other smaller craft brewers i support there’s just something about taking a tour and then tasting a beer so closely associated with the City of Boston. 

Where I want to shop/visit:

Black Ink Boston | blackinkboston.squarespace.com

I’m a sucker for great art supply stores, which Black Ink is, but they also have so much more. I’m not really in the market for anything, but thats the great thing about this store- it has just about every quirky thing you’ll ever need. I’m thinking we can just head over there and I’ll see what speaks to me.

Oat Creative | www.oatcreative.com

So you know that amazing Island Creek Oyster Bar Alex mentioned above. Well this is the studio behind the design. And ICOB isn’t the only piece in their portfolio- these folks ooze amazing talent. It’d be great to check out their studio and chat with Jen and Rory about their work and their journey. 

Harvard Square

So Alex and I are avid Car Talk listeners so if we have a little bit of time I’d love to head over and see the characters in Harvard Square Tom & Ray are always talking about on the show. Plus who knows- we might even catch a glimpse of those guys!

 

BUTTERMILK GOES TO BOSTON – PART 3

“Buttermilk Goes to Boston” is a four part blog post about our journey to speaking at this year’s The Dieline Conference. We’ll post an update every month leading up to May when we finally head north to present “Oops, I Became a Packaging Designer” at the conference.

Click here to read Buttermilk Goes to Boston – Part 2 and Part 1

May is right around the corner and we are half excited about our upcoming presentation and half scared to death! We’re slowly but surely putting together our presentation and are feeling pretty good about it.

So how’d we go about pulling together all the content for our presentation? Reaching back into 7 years of package design is a tall order to fill. We want to provide value to our audience and not just do a portfolio review so we really had to sit back and think about things: what were those meaningful projects that really put us through the ringer- those projects where we really learned some things.

As we looked at the landscape and we realized we needed some sort of organizational method for the projects we were presenting- so we settled on a type of “good, bad, and ugly” scenario. It took a couple trips to the patio of our favorite meeting place to come up with the list of projects to discuss but we narrowed it down and now we had our list. Now of course we couldn’t just leave it at “good, bad, and ugly” so we brainstormed ways to make that interesting and that led to The Boss – but you’ll have to see us in Boston to hear how that idea pans out!

We thought long and hard about these projects we picked out. What about them made them particularly challenging. What did we learn from them? What would we have done differently? What went right!? (if you can believe it) Some projects dealt with things like getting the right info up front, dealing with photographers, and how to spot a good idea when you’ve got one. We’ll be providing takeaways for each project because we really feel like providing takeaways is what is going to make our content resonate with the audience and hopefully give them some inspiration to take back to their day jobs.

As we continue to put together our talk and polish we’ve realized a couple of things:

  1. We’ve worked on a bunch of projects, both big and small.
  2. A packaging designer’s education is never complete- every project presents a new set of challenges and learnings.
  3. Sometimes when looking back at work we’ve done, it’s not quite as awesome as we once thought it was!

We’re having a blast putting together our presentation, rehearsing, and feeling anxious for Boston. The reality is setting in that we’re presenting at the packaging design conference in front of an audience of our peers. Its nerve wracking and thrilling all at the same time and we know we’ll miss it as soon as its over.

Trend Spotting: Black and White with a Pop of Color

This is design direction that we get a lot…. “Black and white with a pop of color”. It usually means simple and modern-ish. A clean and straight forward design.  So, even though this isn’t really a ground breaking trend per se, it is a commonly seen design style that we find very visually appealing.

Below are a few great interpretations of this style. 

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Buttermilk Goes to Boston – Part 1

“Buttermilk Goes to Boston” is a four part blog post about our journey to speaking at this year’s The Dieline Conference. We’ll post an update every month leading up to May when we finally head north to present “Oops, I Became a Packaging Designer” at the conference.

When we first saw the call for proposals for the 2014 Dieline Conference we didn’t really think too much of it. We had the amazing opportunity to speak in 2012 at the very same conference and didn’t think we had much of a chance to present again. We had a blast presenting, but also really enjoyed attending in 2013 as spectators. But something deep inside of us said “Go! Send in an idea!” So we decided to try once again to speak at our favorite conference.

Our initial ideas weren’t very good, or should I say MY initial ideas weren’t very good. I usually need a little reigning in. Then Alex had a brilliant notion of how most of us become packaging designers out of the blue without a whole lot of training or guidance. Whether its the case, like us, where your company was working with an outside agency and decided to give you one of those packaging projects, and you did a great job, so you got more and more until packaging design eats up a lot of your daily work. Or maybe you sought out a career in packaging design and were lucky enough to find that dream job. But for most of us, it just happened. I remember listening to Andrew Gibbs (founder of The Dieline) speaking to Debbie Millman on her Design Matters Podcast about how theres no “Packaging Design” Major in college. If you’re lucky enough to design packaging, you learn on the job and through real world experiences.

Brainstorming about great session topics got us thinking back on our first HOW conference in 2009. What kind of presentations were most inspiring to us? What type of session do we think attendees would find most inspiring/enlightening/useful and able to relate to? What do today’s designers need to hear?

We settled on this idea of the “accidental packaging designer” hoping attendees will be able to relate if they, like us, are struggling to find their voice, be heard, make a mark and figure it all out. We don’t claim to have all the answers, but we do love to share our story and inspire other designers to go for “it”. Whether “it” is taking on the packaging design that your company is currently outsourcing or starting your own business or presenting at the biggest packaging design conference in the USA!

So, Ivan and Andrew loved our idea. So much, in fact that even though the presentation time slots were already booked, they managed to make a spot for us (insert major ego boost here). After quite a bit of back and forth about whether our topic was more suited for a workshop or a general session, Andrew and Ivan got on the phone with us and formally invited us to present our topic as the opening session for The Dieline Conference.  

I think our exact words were “Ohmygosh… WOW….are you sure?!” Followed by a series of “yesses” and “thank yous”. If Andrew and Ivan, the experts in our field, had faith in us, then how could we not put every bit of ourselves into this presentation? And so it begins, the preparation of the presentation.

Stay tuned for:
Buttermilk Goes to Boston: Part 2
What in the world are we presenting?

Click here to read Part 2