Design Camp has a long-standing reputation for providing that opportunity to unplug, recharge and refresh designers. With a serene Minnesota setting mixed with campfires and karaoke, it’s undeniably one of my favorite annual events. Somewhere along the way, attending camp became less about me as a designer recharging and more about us as a team growing. This year will be the second time Christiansen Creative has sent our entire full-time team to Madden’s to absorb all the AIGA Minnesota has to offer, and we couldn’t be more stoked.
Traditionally, the fourth quarter of the year is our busiest season. Taking a weekend to step away from the computers is a small, but essential step to keep our team humming. After we disengage from our products and projects, it’s the commute to camp, bunking together, discussing the content and sharing a drink that makes the weekend unforgettable. Team building is too generic of a phrase for what happens at Design Camp. It lacks the energy we have afterwards for something that tends to bubble up organically between coworkers. Let’s call it squad boosting, that has the right ratio of team spirit and ignition.
Beyond sending our designers, this year we’ll have our developer, digital coordinator and account managers soaking up all the activities and information AIGA Minnesota has to offer. Some organizations will send a few designers who then try to distill what they took away from the event to other creatives when they return. If you’ve ever played the telephone game as a kid, you know that something is always lost in translation. Be it the delivery of the message from the speakers or the engagement of the workshops – distilling down camp isn’t easy.
Our organization has the benefit of defining ourselves as a graphic design studio. This is who we are and therefore we can claim a design conference as being a priority for us as a team. We all have different educational and work backgrounds, but ultimately we need to speak the same language, share our inspirations and translate all of it for our clients. Design camp helps us bridge gaps between our creative team and our project team, ultimately providing valuable experiences we couldn’t replicate on individual levels.
And the last element that can’t be undersold is the location. It never seems like enough to want to think differently or look for inspiration. Sometimes you have to uproot yourself physically and watch the sunrise over a lake with a captive mug of coffee warming your hands. This is the moment to reflect on your creativity, your work, your goals. Soak in some silence and just breathe.
Hope to see you soon at Design Camp!