To begin my coverage on Day 1 of HOW Design, I have to start with my crazy adventure which started on Monday. On Monday, I was set to take the afternoon flight out of Houghton, MI to Chicago, IL. Now some background on the airport in Houghton, MI. It has one terminal. It has one gate. The planes hold 50 people. 2 flights leave per day and 2 flights land per day. That is it. The plane was suppose to arrive at 1:00pm and flip so I could fly out at 1:30pm. As the luck of my week started off, it was raining and windy and the plane flew right overhead, turned around, and flew back to O’Hare airport in Chicago. Well that is just fantastic…United then states it will attempt to fly back at 3:00pm (which if you live in Houghton, you know is complete crap, it has been cancelled). Sure enough, at 3:00pm, I’m alerted to the flight cancellation. What this means is that on Tuesday morning, I will have to saddle up in our Michigan Tech Housing Van and drive the 8 hour drive to Chicago to make it to HOW Design Live. So let’s just say, I’m already in a great mood at this point.

I began my adventure at 6:30am leaving my house to head to the office to pick up the Housing van. As I’m driving to work, it begins to snow. Yes, snow…in May…oh goodie. I picked up the van, dumped all my stuff into it, and hit the road for my fun adventure. Once I got about 60 minutes south of Houghton, the ground was covered with a couple of inches of snow. But once the sleet/snow stopped falling, it became a very traditional and boring drive all the way into Chicago.

Once I got into the city, I had to find where the Hyatt Regency had their valet parking. It sent me down into the tunnels of Chicago and then my GPS began to send me in circles….FUN! After driving around downtown for about 15 minutes, I finally tracked down the entrance to the valet lot and got myself checked into the hotel. I did this with 30 minutes to spare before the beginning of the conference. No breaks, no settling in, just jumping right into the crazy (if you know me, this is quite traditional and almost an expectation in my life).

HOW Design Conference keycard and book
Conference keycard and book
HOW Design 2017 Name Badge
HOW Design 2017 Name Badge

The conference opened as it always does, with Gary Lynch talking about HOW, the past year, and the year ahead. It is always great to see him and hear about the future of HOW. The first keynote of the day was Brian Collins, CCO and co-founder of Collins. The stage filled with smoke and religious music, that clearly made everyone wonder what the heck was going on. It was a long setup before he came out on stage. However, he had a surprise that hasn’t been seen before at HOW. Here is a video clip of it below:

Only at a #design and #branding conference! WOW @brianthomascollins way to really get the crowd going as opening Keynote!!!! #HOWLive 2017! Welcome to #CHICAGO!!!!

A post shared by HOW Events (@how_events) on

Timothy Goodman was up next who talked about his success and how he became “internet famous.” His social experiment “40 Days of Dating” got him national media attention as he documented the experience of dating his best friend for 40 days. If you haven’t heard about this, please please please visit the site and check it out. I’m a huge fan of social experiments and this one is truly amazing. He also talked about his success as a text illustrator. I guarantee you’ve seen his work around, I know I have (the fun and crazy text on Chipotle bags).

The evening ended with the opening of the exhibit hall and the reception. Always great to pick up all the free swag and see what vendors were here. Adobe was a main sponsor so they had their great training booth setup showcasing Adobe XD. After spending some time grabbing some snacks and swag, it was finally time for me to head up to my hotel to actually settle in for the rest of the conference.

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