Reason to be Creative 2014

05/09/2014 by Mike Danford

Hello you lovely people!

So Mike, Aaron and myself have just returned from three days in Brighton for Reasons 2014 Conference. I have the difficult task of trying to summarise everything into a slightly condensed blog post for you all to get a taste of just how amazing this event is.

As most of you now know I have officially joined the Mixd team as a junior web developer after my three month internship. Delving straight into the fast paced work environment a few days after my final university deadline has been a whirlwind of information and a great experience. I’ve always enjoyed coding and everything that goes along with it so i’m very gratefull to be able to do this on a regular basis and call it work.

However I have always been a creative person, I studied art in school then went on to study photography at sixth form and then again in university, until I realised I did want a job at the end of university and there wasn’t much work in the photographic journalism industry. Moving onto studying multimedia technology I was lucky enough I still got to explore my creativity but within the realms of graphic design and more digital based design. For my third year project collaboration I designed and helped build a product that we were very proud of, Secret America, a non-touristy information website born from personal experiences travelling around America to help people discover authentic experiences off the beaten track.

Being in such a technical role while at Mixd I have struggled to hold onto my creativity, which was when I was offered to attend the aptly named Reasons to be Creative I jumped at the chance. For my first conference and at the present time I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. The speakers were incredibly inspiring. Personally I love to hear tales of peoples journeys, struggles and what made them so successful and each had unique stories and words of wisdom of how to deal with making it in such a diverse and sometimes critical industry.

Personal highlights for me where the artist and enthusiast James Victore (@JamesVictore) with his many words of wisdom ‘The stuff that you love and the stuff that you fear that’s where all the good sh*t is, inside you!’ and ‘in the particular lies the universal’. To sum up, you have to be yourself there’s no use making things up when there is so much inspiration around you and inside of you. Mr Bingo(@Mr_Bingo) with his unique approach to illustration and probably the funniest man I will ever have the pleasure of watching speak. Gavin Strange (@JamFactory), Lead Designer at Aardman, the creators of Wallace & Gromit, with his most genuine, down to earth approach to life and work. And my personal favourites Lizzie Marie Cullen(@LizzieMCullen) and Sara Blake(@helloZSO) showing the guys how to do it with their mind blowing illustrations and driven personalities.

Of course I have to say a huge congratulations to Mike! Who many of you know delivered a fantastic Elevator Pitch. If you aren’t aware what an Elevator Pitch entails it is a three minute presentation on a subject of your choice in front of almost a thousand attendees. Mike chose to shed light on the workshop run by Mixd earlier in the year ‘Work In The Web’ urging other universities and individuals to take control and push for more of these events to show those in education the need to know skills and what the real web industry is like. His talk went down superbly and we are all very proud, hoping that the message was heard so similar events can be organised up and down the country and even further afield.

Every speaker at Reasons was truly inspirational, each with their own stories of trials and tribulations showing that hard work pays off for those that are brave enough to put themselves out there. I cannot thank Mixd enough for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the event, the advice I gained in three days will stick with me for a lifetime. The importance of personal projects has been highlighted so much that this weekend I shall be heading out to buy sketchbooks and materials to really get back to my creative roots. I’ll leave you with a quote again from James Victore that I feel sums up Reasons ‘Don’t try to be different. Try to be yourself, because that’s the hardest thing to do’.

Reasons have already announced next years event, dates for your diary are September 7th , 8th and 9th 2015.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings!

Twitter – @reasonsto
Instagram – @reasonsto


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