Sunday, January 13, 2008

Get your boss to send you to How Design Conference

A couple of weeks ago I received my latest issue of How Magazine. Inside there were some postcards promoting the How Design Conference.

The graphic design is pretty cool, as it is to be expected from the How team. However, that’s not what really caught my attention.

The interesting part was that they made each postcard as if it was a designer, sending it to their boss, explaining why it would be good for the boss, to send the designer to the conference.

See these examples:

“Hey, Boss! I’ll get all the tools I need to work more efficiently + effectively at the How Design Conference in Boston (May 18-21). Experts from Adobe will share insider secrets on Photoshop, InDesign and more — while top designers outline their best time-saving processes! Let me save you time (and money) — Send me to HOW! PS: If I learn just one tip that saves 2 minutes off a tedious design project — I’ll save at least 8 hours a year!”.

“Boss: The How Design Conference helps designers work faster, smarter and more creatively — that’s why I want to go! I’ll learn shortcuts and new techniques for the Adobe software I use everyday; get creativity boosters from the experts; and find out how to positively impact your business through design. Find out more at”.

“Being creative is my job. But on-the-spot creativity is a learned trait. That’s why the How Design Conference is important. I’ll see amazing work from some of the brightest minds in the industry and learn how to develop innovative solutions to business and marketing problems, even under pressure. — I wanna go!”

“Dear Boss— Please send me to Boston May 18-21 for the 2008 How Design Conference! I’ll learn new creative processes that will actually save YOU money — such as how to create my own type and build a stock photo library. Everything I learn, from on-demand creativity to technological shortcuts, will have a positive impact on your bottom line.”

See a pattern?

This is how a designer can sell an idea. Present to the other person what the benefits for them will be. Not only that, but be specific about what those benefits will be. Who could deny a designer who asks this way, the possibility to attend the conference?

HOW knows that, and that’s why they set up a Tips For Convincing Your Boss To Send You To The How Design Conference web page.

My point is that, if this is the way most designers think in the US, perhaps we, the Latin American designers have something to learn from them, like how to present a case or an idea and how to ask for training that will benefit both you and the company. And I think that we are scared to ask sometimes, because we assume that our bosses won’t want to spend money on such things, but like my old boss used to say: “Don’t assume, verify!”.

All the best!

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