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June 13, 2013

Drupalcon Through a Creative Lens

Thought by FFW,

Let me preface this blog by stating the following facts about myself. I come from advertising. This was my first Drupalcon. I was attending on a severely sprained ankle and had left my fiancé (now wife) at home just two weeks before our wedding. Needless to say on my shaky flight to a city that is stuck with a perpetual rain cloud over it, my mind was not focused on Drupal.

I snapped out of that funk though as soon as the convention doors open. The buzz of the crowd, and the excitement of veterans and rookies to Drupalcon was enough to shake my cobwebs. After all, I work for FFW, and this was our first display of our new branding and identity, which nobody had seen previously.

We also were launching our new website, and the Drupal Face to Face initiative with the Drupal Association. That was a lot of excitement. And looking around the convention center floor, it looks like a few other companies also decided to push forward with new identities and positioning.

To me, as a creative director, all of this change is exciting. It’s showing that there is a global shift in the Drupal world, putting emphasis on good design and meaningful user-experiences. And since this is a community that we all work within, it’s only going to force the entire community to get stronger, and demand more refined designs moving forward.

I think however, the singular most surprising and eye-opening part of the entire conference for me was that there was an energy of collaboration. While many competing agencies, clients, shops, hosting companies and outsourcing resources were there, everyone was there for a celebration of Drupal.

We were all there to learn, share, and communicate new ideas and new philosophies. Clients were interested in learning too, which I had never seen in my life before. If there was a singular theme that stood out in my mind, regardless of how cheesy it is, it was that sharing is caring.

It seems like a no-brainer. The pie is big enough. The pie keeps getting bigger. And everyone can have a slice of it and grow and be successful without having to mush your siblings face into the pie.

If this was a convention for advertisers, either digital or traditional, it would have looked a lot more like The Red Wedding, than celebration it was. And, holy shit! Do you kids know how to party or what? I think most people had to fight their way through headaches, donut sugar crashes, dehydration, and that cattle herd of a lunch line daily, to get some catered hodge-podge in them to feel normal again. Bravo! I did not expect that.

All in all, my experience at Drupalcon was unexpected, but refreshing and optimistic about how a community of digital savvy people can service clients and help each other out while ensuring everyone moves forward and grows.