Opus Team Finds Inspiration at the Portland Creative Conference

The Portland Creative Conference, or Cre8Con, is an exploration and celebration of the creative process across various creative industries.

This annual event features presentations from leading creatives who take you inside their creative process and talk about their projects, challenges, influences, and inspirations while showing samples of their work along the way. Think of it as a one-day TEDx for creatives!

The original conference was founded in 1990 by director and producer, Will Vinton. The event is produced on behalf of the non-profit fiscal agent, Keeping the Arts, a public charity that raises and grants money to support K-12 arts education in Oregon. This year it was held at The Armory in Portland’s downtown Pearl District.

I have donated my time the past four years towards this event, playing the role of Art Director and Graphic Designer, working on all conference materials from website to onsite signage, collateral, and presentation graphics.

The inspiring guest speakers come from all creative walks of life: we heard from an Art Director (Laika), Global Chief Design Officer (R/GA), Studio Head (Halo Franchise Transmedia), musicians (Portugal. The Man), TV writer and producer, Sr. Footwear Designer (Nike), and a bestselling author.

Here are a handful of illuminating highlights from my time at the conference:

Alice Bird (Art Director, Laika)

Alice started as an illustrator but fell in love with animation once she discovered how her work could come to life in motion. As the Art Director at Laika, her job requires her to get in the head of the film director and try to bring their vision to life. Laika has worked with directors such as Wes Anderson and Tim Burton; their team is deeply involved in the creative process, all the way down to storyboarding.

Photo courtesy of Laika Studios

Alice is a “jack of all trades and a master of none,” so she says. Meaning she is great at seeing the big picture and overseeing the project but has much more talented team players executing the work. Always hire people who are better than you! If a Director (or client in our case) has a vague vision, Alice advises showing them various visuals to help draw out what they are looking for. The Opus creative team often tries to accommodate clients in this way to identify a clear path.

Richard Ting (EVP, Global Chief Design Officer, R/GA)

Richard Ting is an experienced and revered member of the creative industry. His path to design was a nontraditional one, as he started his career by programming and sketching UX and UI. He believes that innovation and creativity are born at the intersection of our passions—for Richard, that means family, art, sports, hip hop, and sneakers.

Richard drew up a few ground rules for creativity:

    • Avoid the addiction to always being right
    • Build diverse teams
    • Create clarity, avoid fuzziness
    • Be human centered vs. humanity centered

I would recommend the Portland Creative Conference to all Portland professionals who tap into their creative sides for their jobs in any way. Can’t wait for next year!

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