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by design - mankato

I attended the By Design conference in Mankato this weekend, hosted by the MSU AIGA Student Group. They did an awesome job of putting the whole thing together, from the gift bags, to the speakers and workshops, to the delicious doughnuts. It was a really laid back gathering and the MSU students were really nice and helpful. We registered Friday evening and then heard a speech from Paul Wharton of Larsen Design. He first showed off some of the work they'd done. He then let us lead the rest of the lecture by letting us choose stories for him to tell about mistakes that have happened to him or people he knows, and then what he learned from those mistakes. Saturday started early with a nice assortment of doughnuts for breakfast. Needless to say, I probably got my money's worth right there. We had 3 workshops and a lecture that day. First I did a cd case workshop. We made our own little cd cases out of paper and matboard with a small foam ring for a cd to fit around. It was really easy and fun- a nice skill to know for the future. I can't remember the exact order of events, but we had a box lunch (which was also very good) and we heard a lecture from Kate Pabst and Emily Eaton. Their lecture wasn't about showing off work, but about the career paths they had taken since they were friends in college to now sharing a business. Emily started EatonGolden with her husband and Kate Pabst now works with them in that company. Their talk focused on interactive design and it was interesting to hear how they began working with web just as it was getting started. I also did 2 other workshops which were both on printmaking. One of them was supposed to be a presentation from Apple, but they were only available to do the morning session, so they changed ours to a printmaking workshop. That was fine with me because I haven't had any experience with printmaking and it was cool to learn the basics. The instructor for those sessions was really nice and helpful. Later that night we all hung out in the party room at Buffalo Wild Wings. Sunday morning was an informal "show and tell" of student work. I missed the print work, but i saw the digital/web work and some of that was pretty cool. They then had prize drawings for 2 iPod shuffles and a $25 gift card for iTunes which were awesome prizes! Overall it was a really well put-together conference and it was definitely worth the money and the drive. Luckily I was able to stay with a friend and I didn't have to be the 12th person to squeeze into that hotel room!

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