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Great tips, Great Community at The InDesign Conference 2017

Excerpted from Erica Gamet’s article on CreativePro Week in issue 98 of InDesign Magazine . Photos by Koko Hunt Photography.

What do you get when you combine four of the best creative conferences into one megaconference? Why, CreativePro Week of course! The inaugural outing of CreativePro Week was held May 22–26 in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. Featuring over 40 speakers, the multi-day event did not disappoint. As when they were presented individually throughout the year, each conference included a core set of sessions with optional pre- or post-conference tutorials. The tutorial days seamlessly overlapped the other conference days, which blended into a cohesive event full of learning and networking.

The InDesign Conference

Taking up the bulk of the week, The InDesign Conference (IDC) centered around the software at the hub of many of our workflows. The IDC featured over 30 sessions and four half-day tutorials. Sessions were led by a few newcomers as well as veteran InDesign Conference speakers including Nigel French, Diane Burns, Russell Viers, Claudia McCue, Erica Gamet (yup, me), Chad Chelius, Keith Gilbert, and CreativePro head honchos David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción.

Erica Gamet preaches the gospel of GREP to the InDesign faithful.

Topics ran the gamut of concerns almost every InDesign user encounters: getting a grip on text styles, importing and dealing with imported text, working with long documents, HTML export, layout issues, and integrating your InDesign workflow with tools such as InCopy and Bridge.

Diane Burns taught the ins and outs of animation and Publish Online.

A special event this year included the screening of the documentary film Graphic Means. Director/Producer Briar Levit was in attendance to answer questions and reflect on the shared journey through the history of production and graphic design. More than a history lesson, Graphic Means brings to light the “way we used to do things” so that we can better understand why we do what we do today. It’s also a reminder that we as designers have always tried to embrace and incorporate new technologies to best bring our creative visions to life.

Graphic Means film

The screening of Briar Levit’s Graphic Means brought back vivid memories of pre-digital graphic production.

Snack Time

Thinking of all the wonderful topics the conference had to offer is making my head spin. This is probably a good time to talk about the food and the meal breaks at CreativePro Week. Not often the highlight of a conference, meal breaks are often a focal point at a CreativePro event. That’s because it’s about more than simply feeding your mouth; it’s also about feeding your brain.

One of my favorite mainstays at meal breaks is the signage on the dining tables indicating mini communities with which people might identify. This year’s groups ranged from textbook publishers, to in-house college and university staff, to those who enjoy knitting! These little segments of the larger CreativePro family serve to enhance the sense of community and also work great as ice-breakers for those that might be a bit on the shy side. And as a bonus, the food is always a step above what one might expect from a conference setting.

What’s better than delicious food and some downtime between sessions? Making new friends and renewing old acquaintances.

Between sessions there were ample opportunities to mix and mingle with fellow attendees and plan session-going strategies for the week. At the much-loved Ask the Experts tables—there were so many experts this year that the CreativePro team had to roll out three of them—attendees had the chance for a little one-on-one with the instructors. Further re-enforcing the fact that, though they are experts in their fields, everyone is part of the same community and we grow together by helping each other thrive. As a trainer and speaker, this is one of the highlights for me since I can hear how people work and better understand challenges people are facing in real-world situations.

From the speaker’s table and the stage, David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción dished out valuable tips.


Couldn’t join hundreds of your creative colleagues in Atlanta?

Attend CreativePro Week 2017—Virtually!

The premier “how-to” event for design and publishing professionals, CreativePro Week 2017, has come and gone. But if you couldn’t make it to The InDesign Conference, PePcon, or PS/AI: The Photoshop + Illustrator Conference for Designers, you can ensure you didn’t miss out by booking a Virtual Pass. You get video recordings of the sessions, speaker handouts, a private attendee/speaker forum, and discounts and show specials from our sponsors! Details and registration options are on our Virtual Pass page.

Erica Gamet has been involved in the graphics industry for over 30 years. She is a speaker, writer, trainer, and content creator focusing on the Adobe InDesign ecosystem, Apple Keynote, and varied production topics. She is a regular presence at CreativePro Week’s InDesign Conference, and speaks frequently at Canada’s ebookcraft and Making Design in Oslo, Norway. When she isn’t at her computer…oh, let’s be honest, she’s always at her computer.