Design for Brands by Matt Plays


Creative South

A few months ago, I started to feel the buzz from Creative South on Dribbble. I dug into it and found a solid speaker lineup and list of sponsors. It sounded like it would be a hands-on conference, too. Shortly thereafter, Tyler Littwin and I scooped up tickets and signed up for a whole slew of workshops.


The Drive

Being the two roadtrippin' New Englanders that we are, Tyler and I jumped at the opportunity to make the 18-hour drive to Georgia. I was eager to see the southern landscape, and the Appalachians definitely delivered. We made our first major stop in Asheville, North Carolina. I'm a fan of any town with mountains on the horizon, cool people, and food of a certain caliber. After one more push, some coffee, and more trail mix, we arrived in Columbus, Georgia.


The Workshops

The first day of the conference was dedicated to workshops. We learned about type design from Mattox Shuler, block printing from Derrick Castle, lettering from Sean McCabe, screen printing from Mama's Sauce, and how to have a good time from the boys at Ferocious Quarterly. Needless to say, the classes were led by the most qualified people possible.


The workshops pulled us out of our comfort zones and gave us the opportunity to sample new facets of design by diving right into them. And while I might not do much linocutting at work, these workshops reinvigorated me in a way that has already made an impact on what I do day-to-day.


The Speakers

Days two and three were filled to the brim with speakers on the main stage of the Springer Opera House. Each speaker had a unique perspective and storytelling style. Justin Mezzell kicked things off rather nicely on an inspirational level, while the talks given by Justin Pervorse and the guys at Halftone Def provided comic relief. Allan Peters had the audience's undivided attention as he recounted a life-changing experience and walked us through his portfolio. I was recharged by the humbleness and genuine, almost child-like, excitement shared by everyone who stepped foot on stage.


The People

Though the event wasn't a tough sell for me, I was blown away by it. The recipe's there. Creative South's got a cool town, amazing venue, talented lineup—but what's most noteworthy are the people. Tyler and I met so many down-to-earth, inspiring designers. We worked shoulder-to-shoulder and shot the breeze with speakers and attendees alike. If any of this sounds appealing, and you happen to love what you do, go to Creative South: you'll be in good company.