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Engage Q&A: 2015 Circles Conference

Darby Rousseau

Darby Rousseau

In October 2015, Engage Visual Designer Ryan Slater attended a conference to flex his design muscles and learn from some of the industry’s best. We asked him to share some of the highlights and greatest takeaways from his trip.


 Q. What was the name of the conference and where did it take place?

A. I attended the Circles Conference in Grapevine, Texas: a two day creative conference put on by Ismael Burciaga. The entire conference is jam-packed with speakers, panels, sponsors, and networking events geared towards all things creative.

Q. What inspired you to attend Circles this year?

A. Engage was nice enough to send me! We have an awesome policy at Engage that encourages our design team to attend a few artistic conferences each year. Our chief creative officer, Shane Helm, attended the Circles conference last year and highly recommended it.


Q. What were you hoping to achieve when you signed up?

A. I registered for the conference in hopes of gaining inspiration by learning about and seeing the creative work of the speakers and other attendees. I also felt it would be a great opportunity to network with and meet other professionals in the industry. And finally, I was very much looking forward to eating at In N’ Out Burger. I am happy to say that all three items can be checked off the list!


Q. What were some of the insights you gained?

A. There were several quotable moments from the speakers at Circles this year that left a lasting impression on me. Due to the number of great speakers, there were too many words of wisdom to write down, but I was able to take note of a few in particular that stood out to me as someone who works remotely. It’s so easy to get caught up in all of the distractions isolation brings to my day-to-day routine. I think by concentrating on these minor tips, I will be able to make even greater strides in my role as a remote designer.

“Set clear goals and celebrations” – Shawn Blanc

“Treat success as temporary – it will keep you from being lazy” – Helena Price

“Know when to say no” – James White

“The process is the point – it’s about the journey” – Larry Hubatka

“Embrace the power of play. The more fun you have the better your work will be” – Tad Carpenter


Q. Did you see others work that inspired you? If so, can you share an example?

A. Yes. I saw so many examples of inspiring work! There were two designers in particular that blew me away: James White and Tad Carpenter. These guys are rock stars.

Q. Looking ahead to 2016, are you planning to attend additional conferences? 

A. Definitely! Sign me up. I am looking forward to attending both Circles and Creative South in 2016 to continue challenging myself and further refining my skill set.