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5 Comments // Filed in Lealea / Business / Design / Web

Future of Web Design Wrap-Up

A few months ago, my brother from another mother, Bryan Veloso approached me with a unique opportunity. Carson Systems had appointed him the Program Chair of this year’s Future of Web Design in NYC which meant he was helping create a list of possible speakers and topics for the conference. Lo and behold, Bryan wanted me to do a talk about branding.

I couldn’t say no.

After a few weeks of hard work and organization, I find myself in New York City earlier this week. To sum up, it was a blast!

Lea talking at FOWD

My session and workshop

My thirty minute session was entitled, Building a Brand through Design and the workshop, which spanned 3 hours, was called Branding from the Ground Up. It was a challenging exercise to pare down the various information you can talk about regarding branding, to what I felt would be applicable and interesting to the audience. In the workshop, I had 87 slides to work with and a lot of time, but the session was a mere 30 minutes. The hardest part was cutting down the 87 slides to the bare essentials. I came up with 49 slides and Ryan Carson had to cut me off before I completed all of it — fortunately, I got through the most important points anyway, and the only thing I hadn’t said were the final do’s and don’ts.

The workshop was basically a reiteration and expansion of the session with an added branding activity. I’m a huge fan of chef Gordon Ramsay and his TV show, Kitchen Nightmares, and I thought it would be a great exercise to help brand a restaurant. There were some technical difficulties, so I had to cut down some of the activity time but the groups did a great job with what information they had.

It was an interesting learning experience and it’s quite thrilling when individuals explain they’ve read your previous articles and have actually applied the concepts or were motivated to do something about their situation. When I write articles, I often wonder if people actually found it realistically relevant, and so it’s vindicating when you finally are in a situation where you can meet people in person that tell you it’s true. Thanks to everyone who approached me about my articles and talks, I really appreciate the feedback.

The other sessions

Unfortunate glare

The Javits Centre where the conference was held was a giant venue and where we had the talks was interesting to look at, but there was a lot of unfortunate glare and that caused some problems with a few presentations. One of my favourite sessions was run by Joshua Davis called “Finding Inspiration” and it was scheduled right at the beginning of the conference, so he had the most sunlight blocking the artwork and examples he was using in his slides. A pity, since he had some really interesting artwork. Fortunately, he’s a pretty engaging speaker and helped pump up the room.

Other favourite sessions of mine included “Community-Centered Design” by Jeff Kalmikoff, “Inside the Designer’s Studio: IMDb” with D. Keith Robinson and Ryan Sims, and Elliot Jay Stocks’ session, “Destroying The Web 2.0 Look.”


It was my first time in New York City, and I basically feel like I only scratched the surface because I had to leave early Friday morning. One of the definite highlights was running around the city with my friend Noella (from high school!) and going to Billy’s Bakery to get a couple cupcakes. It was especially sweet because they gave the cupcakes to us for free (super nice guy!). :-)

Billy's Bakery

I really hope I have another opportunity to explore this city a lot more fully sometime soon.

Art of Self-Branding

My article series, as an adjunct to my session and workshop, has its own website now: The Art of Self-Branding

There, you will find links to books, articles, and other websites that I referred to during my session and workshop. Check it out and let me know what you think! I will be speaking at SXSW this year regarding branding and I will be taking all the valuable feedback I had from the sessions and workshops and applying it for Austin next year.

So please, if you attended FOWD this year, let me know of any ways I could improve what I had presented: what kind of information did I miss? What did you want to have more emphasis in? Etc. etc.

5 blabs to Future of Web Design Wrap-Up

Add something to the conversation!

Picture of Tom

Name Tom

Date Nov 10
12:30 PM

Lea, I was particularly impressed by your italian chef guise during the workshop interview. Top marks!

Do you mention leveraging someone else’s brand to build your own?

Picture of Lea

Name Lea

Date Nov 13
06:28 PM

Tom, ha, thanks. I just stopped short of faking an accent and donning a chef’s hat.

As for the fellow Ramsay fan… Leveraging someone else’s brand to help build your own is something I did miss, thanks for bringing it up.

This is a similar idea to product tie-ins… why Hollywood movies always has tie-ins with fast food joints or specific celebrities; all of that ties to enhancing their brand, especially if both products/services have similar target audiences and philosophies.

I am so glad the conference went well! I knew your talk would be great just from reading the notes you sent me. From that one photo it looks like a lot of people attended your session. You are one brave girl and I’m sure you were fabulous!

Fantastic presentation! Definitely one of the best. I wish you had more time.

Oh, and great to see you as always!

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