Design / Events / Resources

‘Build things that make people cry’ and more design inspiration from #ContraryCon

It was one of the challenges issued to attendees at iStrategyLabs' second ContraryCon, an all-day event with discussions for the design and creative engineering communities.

A packed house of designers and creatives at the second ContraryCon. (Photo via Facebook)

This past Friday was the chance to for the local design and creative engineering communities to embrace their rebellious side.
At iStrategyLabs’ second ContraryCon, held at the WeWork Wonderbread Factory, attendees took part in an all-day event with two concurrent tracks for the 12 presentations — traditional design and general creativity, as well as interactivity. The event is meant to “spur contrarian conversation and stimulate thought that defies the hive-mindedness of contemporary creative culture,” according to the event page. The first one was back in late 2014.
That’s not to say the event was all about going against today’s more popular trends — the event did come complete with its own custom Snapchat filter.
Here are some of our favorite takeaways from the conference Twittersphere.
Zach Goodwin, creative director at iStrategyLabs, kicked off the day by sharing his secrets to successful creative work, like the deceptively simple “go make some stuff.”
Vanessa Newman, founder of Butchbaby & Co., which sells gender-neutral apparel for pregnant individuals, quoted a statement that reminds us how design and visualization is more than just making something look good.

Nour Tabet of Huge, a worldwide digital agency headquartered in Brooklyn, had something similar to say to her audience when she talked about how “bad design is dead, but usable design is not enough.”

Mapbox’s Amy Lee provided some comfort to those of us out here winging it (read: everyone).

Ken Barber, a letterer and typeface designer at Delaware-based House Industries (whom we featured on a list of the 12 best Delaware brands with awesome social media accounts) shared an enlightening blast from the past with a video they shot with the late typographer Ed Rondthaler, speaking about how confusing English spelling really is.

The theme of looking back at the history of design continued with Mapbox’s Saman Bemel-Benrud and Tatiana Van Campenhout giving a talk on the history of map design. (You can check out the shared slides from his presentation here.)

Leave it to this community to design things as they’re listening to talks about design, like Kristina Walter of the Web Development Group who compiled a whole bunch of her takeaways from the conference in the best way she knew how.
Carrie Brickell of The General Design Co. picked up some inspiration from Capitol Hill design firm Workhorse.
iStrategyLabs has some archived videos available from the event’s livestream.

Companies: Mapbox / WeWork / iStrategyLabs

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