Bye Bye, South By
Once again we arrive home from a whirlwind SXSW not quite knowing where all the time went. I laughed and learned with good friends I don’t get to see nearly enough, and met so many more new people who will have to tell me their names again next year due to my sieve-like brain. The conference itself seemed to nearly double in numbers again from last year, many panels and events bursting at the seams with attendees. SXSW remains one of the best conferences to meet just about anyone in our industry; if you missed out this year, I really recommend you try to make it next year.
The first panel I was on this year, After the Brief: A Field Guide to Inspiration, helped open the conference on the first day of content. Unfortunately, Cameron came down with the flu and never made it our to Austin. Rob and I soldiered on (accompanied by Flat Hicks) and had a great time. This was Rob’s first speaking engagement and I am proud to say he was wonderful. The panel came off very well and seemed to really spark a lot of thought and inspiration in the crowd. One such crowd member named Varick Rosete actually sketched Rob and I on stage while he was taking notes. Check out Varick’s sketches of us and other presenters. Great stuff! We did you proud, Cam!
The second panel I participated in, Bullet Tooth Web Design, was one of the new 25 minute “power sessions” SXSW tried out this year. To be honest, I’m not entirely sold on these new sessions, as it often seemed like a topic was just getting warmed up when it was time to say goodbye. Regardless, Andy was brilliant and the panel seemed to be a hit (so much that a number of people were turned away because the room was so packed).
For those who couldn’t be there, both sets of slides from the presentations are online, as well as a full podcast and some highlight videos for After the Brief:
- After the Brief: presentation slides (13.5 MB PDF), podcast, videos
- Bullet Tooth Web Design: presentation slides (2.1 MB PDF)
I managed to squeeze in a screening of one film, Helvetica: The Film, and boy, was it good. Clean and rife with good typographic commentary from some of the world’s greatest designers, the film is sure to delight designers and type geeks. Luckily, it happens to be screening in Philly on May 15th at Drexel University. I will definitely be there for a second time around. Rob and I actually managed to meet the director Gary Hustwit while sitting the halls in between panels. He came up to meet us and tell us he enjoyed our panel (even though he had just sorta wandered in with his Film pass). When we asked what he was doing at SXSW, he said, “Oh, I just did a little film. It’s about graphic design.” Rob and I then proceeded to excitedly pelt him with questions for the next half hour. Such is SXSW, you never know who you will run into.
I didn’t get to take nearly as many pictures as I would’ve liked, but I did come away with a few gems, including a shot of Bill Paxton (“Game over, man!”), and some hot “Flap ‘n’ Snap” action. If you don’t know what Flap ‘n’ Snap is, it’s pretty much just what it sounds like: let your face go limp, flap it back and forth as fast as you can, snap a picture mid-flap. Not only does it produce some hilarious results, but it’s quite possibly the least flattering photo you can take of someone. The best part of If you want to try it out yourself, I set up a Flap ‘n’ Snap Flickr group. Get flappin’!
Happy Cog was thoroughly represented, bringing together the Philly and New York crews with all of our dear scattered Cogs throughout the country. It’s rare that we all get to see each others’ glowing faces in person. Thus closes another SXSW (Interactive). Farewell to old and new friends, I hope to see you again soon. Don’t be strangers in the meantime. Thanks to the friends back home who helped out with some wonderful daily photography while I was away. Now, back to work preparing for An Event Apart Boston next week, and a soon-to-be-released secret project I’ve been working on for over a year.