If you're a creative person, your mind often goes to the future. What's new, what'll be the norm at this time next year, what trips will you take? There's almost always a conference to look forward to, a talk to anticipate, a meet-up to keep in the back of your brain. And we're in the Northeast! So there's always something going on.

So the all-encompassing question is,


What shouldn't you miss in the next several months, and what sort of topics can you be prepared to learn about? We've got you covered. But keep in mind, some of these are coming up very quickly!

Design Exchange Boston // September 27–28


A two-day conference of presentations, workshops, and exhibits from over 70 content providers.

You should go if: you like cool conference graphics and want to learn more about the ideas, work, and strategies shaping our design culture today.

Refresh Boston // October 27


The meet up this month is a talk on Responsive Typography, from the co-founder of h+w design Jason Pamental. He's worked on the web for twenty years, so you'll want to hear what he has to say.

You should go if: you want to meet some people in Boston's design/development community (and want to mingle over a free drink or two afterwards).

Creative Mornings // New York City // October 3 (get your tickets on 9/29!)

Steve Powers

Steve Powers is the speaker at October's talk in NYC, and he's responsible for a lot of type-based public art all over the world, most known for his mural series in Philadelphia, A Love Letter For You.

You should go if: you want to be INSPIRED before work on a Friday. For FREE. With COFFEE. Sorry, Creative Mornings talks are simply the best.

 99U // New York City // April 30–May 1


Behance's tried and true conference returns for another year to blow the socks off of design enthusiasts of all kinds, from around the world. Speakers and classes and studio sessions in the workspaces of some of the top creative companies in the world are the driving force behind this powerhouse conference.

You should go if: you've got some cash, and are willing to make the most out of a conference. With so much to offer, 99U can't possibly disappoint.

UX Fest // Boston // September 30 & October 1


With an impressive lineup of speakers, don't discount this Watertown conference as the place to learn more about the future of user experience and the growth of digital products.

You should go if: you want to hear what the CEO of StumbleUpon, the Design Director of Vimeo, and the Head of UX Research at Google have to say.

Know of any other can't-miss events? Let us know!

Posted: 9/26/2014 11:32:21 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments

"I'm a web designer, and I haven't applied for a job a) ever, or b) in a long time. What can I expect as far as salaries go?"

If you aren't familiar with the web design job market nowadays, you're lucky because there are some easy ways to find out what you're getting yourself into in the money department.

And there's good news! Salaries of design positions as a whole are on the up-and-up. It does vary depending on your geographical location, but we can't deny that general news like this makes us optimistic.

salarysurvey_web4(Image: HOW)

HOW'S annual Design Salary Survey indicated that unless you live in the Bay Area, average salaries for design positions rose at least 3.9%. Considering they were slowly declining in the last couple surveys, this is fantastic news.

For web designers, specifically, HOW's report shows an average salary of $49,423 an increase of 17.8%.

AIGA reports that salaries for Designers (either primarily print, primarily web, or split evenly between the two) is around $46,000, while a quick inquiry on GlassDoor indicates that $51,000 is a more reasonable expectation for a Web Designer.

SimplyHired's more loosely determined but formulaic conclusion (from averaging the salaries for jobs posted with "web designer" anywhere in the listing) is that a Web Designer makes about $59,000, with slight variations depending on the job title. For example, a "web designer/developer" makes $55,000, while a "web graphic designer" makes $41,000.

Ultimately, location has a heavy influence on job compensation, and often these surveys don't adjust for variables like benefits (health insurance, flex time, etc.), so it's difficult to truly tell the value of a Web Designer.

What is helpful, however, is a starting point for salary negotiations. When you have an idea of the general amount a position makes, it gives you a bit more leverage and confidence when countering a job offer, and that's the most useful information we can offer you!

Posted: 9/18/2014 2:41:43 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments

When it comes time to apply for jobs, one of the first things we all do to prepare is what? That's right, PORTFOLIOS. Whether you're a person who keeps your portfolio perpetually updated or the type who adds projects to it the day before an interview, one aspect of your portfolio is key: organization.


Bringing a portfolio to an interview is necessary, of course, but it's also an invitation into your creative life. However you decide to categorize your work, presenting your portfolio gives you the opportunity to carry your potential employer through your thought process, execution, and career as a whole. Which way will work best for you?

Organize by Media Type

Depending on the sort of job you're applying for, dividing your work into the type of media involved is probably a good idea. A position typically will be geared towards maybe print, digital, interactive, etc., and you'll want to display your experience with the relevant media type right off the bat. It doesn't hurt to incorporate your skills in other media as a supplement, but putting the important media front and center will really showcase what you could bring to the position in a memorable way.

Organize Chronologically

Probably the most common system, starting your portfolio with your most recent work is the best way to show how your talent has evolved. When a potential employer can see how far you've come, they have a great idea of the progress you're capable of making at their company.

Organize By Workplace/Company

Showing your work in the context of the company you worked for at the time gives a hirer a fantastic idea of the way you fit into a company vs. you as a standalone talent. If, for example, you worked in a small agency and later moved to an in-house design department, they can clearly see how you adapt to being in different sorts of work environments.

Organize by Ownership of the Project

If you have a project you proposed, planned, designed, and executed, that certainly acts as evidence that you can handle work from start to finish. Developing a concept is one thing, but when an employer knows you think 'big picture,' they're more likely to hire you. On the other end of the spectrum, being part of a team shows your ability to collaborate, which is crucial to your success in a lot of positions. Displaying work in a order that reflects your presence in the creative process is an excellent way for the hirer to see how heavy your hand is in group projects, and the success of your execution in solo work.

The best portfolio will incorporate one or two of these methods of organization. Doing so gives you, the interviewee, the power to decide the direction the meeting will take, and gives the hirer a chance to sit back and be effortlessly carried through your professional skills and creative career. Hopefully the next stop in that career is getting the job!

Posted: 9/5/2014 2:56:59 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments