I’ve been to a lot of amazing conferences in my 17 year career as a designer. As a student, I helped create the introductory video (in Macromind Director 1.5) for the very first AIGA “Y” Conference. I met Jeffrey Zeldman at a Thunderlizard Conference in 2000 where he gave a keynote address that changed the course of my career. And at 2001’s FlashForward conference I watched the legendary Hillman Curtis inspire me to use the tool for good, not evil (*cough*skip intro*cough*). But I have never been to any conference that is consistently as awesome as WordCamps.
I spent this last Saturday at WordCamp Los Angeles.
I woke up at 6am, drove for a total of seven hours (two up, five home…thanks for closing the 405 at 11pm Los Angeles!), and spent the day hanging with some of the best people I know, meeting amazing new folks, and cramming my brain full of information that ran the gamut from how to customize a child theme more efficiently using LESS and SASS to what it takes to work with high-profile clients like Disney (It’s a whole new world!). But the thing that kept pinging around my brain as I watched what Natalie MacLees, Alex Vasquez, Nathan Tyler and Ryan Cowles had brought to life in just three months was how the brand vision and values of WordPress are present in every aspect of the conference. And it got me thinking about one of the basic rules of branding—that while your brand is everything you say and everything you do, it’s also about everything your customers think and say about you.