Creative South 2019

Last week I went to a design conference called Creative South.

Creative South is an incredible experience that happens each April in Columbus, GA. It’s a design conference for creatives all over the world. This year was just as incredible and inspiring. I’ve got pages and pages of notes and ideas that I can’t wait to act on.

The famous bridge party kicked off Creative South 2019.

Ink Wars, live music, food trucks, and an open bar was the best way to kick off this year. Following that, the next day there were 6 amazing speakers. That sounds like an overwhelming amount of speakers in one day, but somehow it really wasn’t! Creative South always has a variety of speakers and topics, which is why it feels so refreshing. Friday evening there was a gaming inspired party and on Saturday there were a few more speakers. The conference officially ends Saturday, but on Sunday they wrap up with a totally optionally worship service. I always like to stay for this part. For me, it’s the perfect way to wrap up the busy weekend. From that quick outline you can probably understand why I’m so completely exhausted!

A lot of design conferences can feel self serving. It’s easy to try to look for the coolest person in the room, or the most influential person that you can cozy up to. For the most part, Creative South isn’t like that. I mean, it is a little bit because we’re all humans and we mess up. But, for the most part it’s not.

The tagline for Creative South is ‘come as friends, leave as family’, and it’s true.

Somehow they manage to make that happen within just a few short days. The team at Creative South have worked hard to create a culture of family. I believe they’ve created that culture by leading with the attitude that everyone is worth being seen, cared for, spoken to, and hugged (#hugnecks). At Creative South you’ll find the big name speakers having drinks with attendees. You’ll find the creator, Mike Jones, randomly paying for meals. You’ll find attendees from all backgrounds starting conversations with each other. At Creative South you’ll see ‘big’ designers having conversations with ‘small’ designers.

If you’re looking for a conference to be discovered at, or grow your following, maybe Creative South isn’t for you. If you’re looking for genuine connection and community, then Creative South is just what you’re looking for.

To the Creative South team – thank you for creating the culture you have at Creative South. Thank you for pouring so much of yourselves into this experience. See you next year!

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