We heard the hype. We read the effusive, glowing blog posts. We saw all the ridiculously fun photos. Could it be true? With this question lingering on our minds, we overpacked our bags and flew out to Salt Lake City for the Alt Summit . . . and met some of the coolest, most creative, most design-obsessed people, and had an amazing time at a truly well-organized, superfriendly, and memorable event. (We can’t bring ourselves to call it a conference; there’s really so much more going on here!)
We had a hard time choosing highlights among the many highlights, but here are a few of our favorite seminars and networking events:
Annie helped kick off the conference by moderating a panel on collaborating with sponsors. With Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook, Camille Styles of Camille Styles, Merilee Liddiard of Mer Mag, and Mitra Morgan of Joss & Main on hand to talk about how bloggers can market themselves to sponsors, ask for fair rates, and develop original and compelling content and collaborative projects, this seminar was packed with practical information and great personal stories. If you missed it, no worries. We’ve got the presentation right here.
Day one’s keynote address by Chris Anderson, longtime editor of Wired magazine, CEO of 3D Robotics, and best-selling author of Makers, gave an in-depth look at the power of design and invention. We were mesmerized by Chris’s personal story (a scientist, he comes from a family of creatives and inventors) and his look at the future of design. Hey, Chris. Just so you know, Annie was so inspired, she’s now plotting the purchase of her first 3-D printer.
Thursday night’s Clue-themed party, with each “room” hosted by a different sponsor. Annie’s own Dash & Albert Rug Company held court in the library, and also provided fun flooring options for all the other spaces. Bloggers had a chance to hang out, relax, meet Annie, and even enter a giveaway for a Dash rug!
The panel on blogs of the future, with tastemakers Vivan Mansour of Ish & Chi, Promise Tangeman of Promise Tangeman Creative, Cyd Converse of The Sweetest Occasion, and Nathan Williams of Kinfolk magazine, offered so many great leads on up-and-coming blogs that we found ourselves getting lost in them throughout the day. Want to check them out for yourself? Click over to The Sweetest Occasion for the full list. (We were doubly excited to see one of our personal faves, Sugar and Cloth, whom we’ve posted about on Facebook and Twitter several times, on the list.)
Friday’s lunch keynote with graphic design whiz and general force of nature Stefan Sagmeister was a kick on a variety of levels. Not only did he give one of the most entertaining (and, ahem, stripped-down) presentations—about achieving happiness, and how to ensure that your work always feels fresh and never like a chore—but he also provided incredible inspiration for anyone in the design industry, and previewed his new documentary, The Happiness Project.
The closing mini soirees, including Hayneedle’s Great Gatsby Lawn Party, Flipboard’s Rolling Out the Red Carpet party, and BHG’s Color Pop were a blast of pure fun. Sure, they provided yet another opportunity to make great connections, but they were also the perfect excuse to kick up our heels, enjoy some terrific nibbles, learn about new products and projects, and . . . get our pictures taken with George Clooney and Daniel Craig (or at least cardboard versions of them). Does it get any better?