One of the key things about working in the design industry is connecting with all kinds of designers to find out how they use Adobe Illustrator and what kind of work they create.

So many of our plug-ins are built on what Illustrator users wanted in Adobe Illustrator. So it’s important to be able to speak to so many at one time. Events such as design conferences are the best places, and the biggest, and the larger ones seem to be in the USA. So with my Astute cap on, I travelled in early April to Columbus Georgia to attend my first Creative South Conference run by the immense Mike Jones. When a strapline for a conference is “come as friends and leave as family” you know you are in for a great time!



The Creative South Conference is now about 7 years old and Mike Jones keeps the attendance level at around 800 so that it’s not too overpowering and gives you a chance to network and make connections. My first day there started with a chance meeting with Mike Jones at breakfast where I also met UK based logo designer and Astute Graphics advocate, Damian Kidd. It was a great intro to meet Mike, he has been really gracious towards Astute Graphics, we’ve been fortunate to be sponsors for a couple of years now. I also met Jason Frostholm, he hosts the Creative South Podcast which we also sponsor. These guys put in so much hard work on the Creative South ‘business’.

Day One involved attending a couple of workshops, one was run by our great friends and biggest ambassadors, Von Glitschka and Sean Ferguson from PPLLUVPROCESS. The attendees were able to see Von’s process and how he put our plug-ins to use….lots of “wow” in the room which was great to hear. We also gave out some AG prizes! It was also great to spend time with Von and Sean because they’ve been great friends of ours over the years and both are incredibly talented.

Day Two was the first day of the conference and the buzz and energy in the morning was incredible, better than I have ever experienced at a design event, possibly because it was not as vast as Adobe Max. One other difference is that there are no classes during the main conference, it’s all speaker based, held in the wonderful old Springer Opera House, a proper old style theatre with three levels and royal boxes. Each speaker talks for anything from 30 mins to an hour. Each inspiring, funny, informative and personable. Not a single one of them hid away, everyone in attendance was on a level playing field and mingled in the rooms, in the expo/vendor room or even out at local coffee shops and restaurants. Fortunately for me there were many Astute Graphics customers who are professional designers and I got to meet them as well as so many attendees who came up to me saying things like “Astute Graphics are life savers in my work” “I can’t work without your plug-ins” “what else are you making!!??” I was able to give away some free codes for our popular AutoSaviour Pro plug-in to those who had heard others speak of us but haven’t tried our plug-ins out. We also gave away 5 plug-in codes for our brand new Phantasm 4 plug-in.



I also got to spend time with another Astute Graphics partner, Dustin Lee from We have a full texture pack available to all Texturino customers made by Dustin and it was finally great to meet him in person, what a great, hard working and talented guy.


Special mentions go out to Tim Frame, Mark Hirons, Diane Gibbs, Clark Orr, Paul Howalt, Rocky Roark, Julian Strayhorn, Scott Fuller, Doc Reed, Rob McClurkin, Josh Lewis, RealThread, Lenny Terenzi, Brian White, Masterof1 Podcast, Bob Ewing, Marc Boden, Mattcandraw, Brad Weaver, The Hood Sisters, plus many others (apologies if I left anyone out) and also, finally, a personal design hero of mine, Bill Gardner of LogoLounge! Phew!

I got to speak to so many different designers working in different genres from logos to childrens illustration to apparel design – it was so interesting to hear how our plug-ins solve their problems and help their workflow. We now have many new designers who have been introduced to our plug-ins and I can’t wait to follow up on them to see how they put them to use in their work.

My advice to anyone in design, if you get a chance, go to these kinds of conferences, speak to people, ask advice, share experiences and have fun. We’ll be at Photoshop World (there are Illustrator classes there) in Orlando in May, Creative Pro in New Orleans in June and Adobe Max in LA in October! Come and say hi!

And most of all… download our free 14 day trial and see what you are missing that all these great designers are already using!

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