One of my favorite pursuits is interacting with creative people especially at events such as workshops. I have strongly been active in AIGA back to my school days when I was the student group President – or El Presidente as I was referred to – and I’ve been looking for opportunities to get involved in the Austin chapter. Luckily the folks at AIGA Austin are always working hard to create a groundswell in the community with happy hours, speaking engagements, and my most favorite, workshops.
I had the great opportunity to attend the Aaron Draplin’s Field Notes workshop. Mr. Draplin is a character but he is also a very impressive in most notably, I’m very drawn to his discussions about finding happiness with your art and passions instead of settling. It’s this development of these ideals over time which has led to his newfound success and an opportunity to share his views in a public platform like AIGA. The workshop consisted of Draplin showing us the how to’s of building his most commercially successful work Field Notes notebooks. He talked through the process and reiterated on countless occasions it’s not super difficult and it doesn’t take a genius to come up with an idea; there in the humility is his charm and one of the reasons Field Notes is so successful.
What most inspired me about the workshop was simply to be apart of a small community again, even if just for a bit. Two of my co-workers attended and that helped make things feel a little more close already, but the people in the workshop were exceptionally friendly. One finds out how small a community the creative field in Austin truly is at events like this. A designer who knew my co-worker also teaches with a former professor of mine. The guys working the press are buds with a friend of mine in the printing industry. I prefer these grass roots tactics of interacting with people over a pointless kegger any day. This make a moment – it’s not a flutter of digital noise.
I really appreciate coming away from the workshop with a practical application to use a skill I can already do well. It’s always nice to have your mind sharpened and to always be reminded of the simple ingenuity of man. That’s one of my loves of design – fixing and reworking and finding new ways to do it. Another thing I learned: Draplin was right, this is not hard at all. I mean, what these guys are doing is so simple that a handful of us goons in a short 2-hour workshop had essentially learned the entire concept to execution of a great-selling product. Its definitely commendable but even more so respectable – by giving a fan base a hands on touch to the product it further engages them and makes them more loyal. All of us are more than capable of re-creating these books, but knowing myself, I’m still likely to buy them for myself but also spread the word more about the brand. I look forward to taking on an aspect of this experience and applying it elsewhere in my life.