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Get ready for a big two days in early May, each with plenty of reason to be in Syracuse. From workshops to parties, Create Upstate 2016 is taking it to the next level.

Thursday, May 12


    Upstate Workshops

    Create Upstate 2016 officially begins by welcoming our AM workshop attendees. Come a wee bit early, grab your badge, and find your seat. We'll have beverages and on hand throughout the day. We've paired up each workshop by discipline for your convenience.
  • 9:30-12:00
    Upstate Workshops: AM Morning people! Register for these dynamite workshops, covering lettering and starting your dream design shop.
  • 1:30-4:00
    Upstate Workshops: PM People of the PM! This is your chance to finally learn calligraphy, how to make accessible websites, and designing for the long run.
  • 7:00-9:00
    Kickoff Party Sponsored by AIGA Upstate NY We put the cherry on Day One at our Kickoff Party. The fine folks at AIGA Upstate NY serve as the welcoming committee for our workshop attendees and Friday guests arriving the night before. An essential part of your event experience! Register now so we can save you a seat!

Friday, May 13



    Sky Armory The main event. We've assembled a day full of inspirational talks, great food, and more than a few surprises up our sleeves. Join over 250 fellow designers in what will be a memorable event!
  • 7:00-8:00
    Coffee With Creatives Presented by AIGA Upstate NY Swing by Modern Malt on your way to the conference, and grab a coffee and quick breakfast bite with the coolies from AIGA Upstate NY. Please register (free) in advance so we can let Modern Malt know how many they should expect. All good things.
  • 8:00-9:00
    Registration 2nd Floor Come early, grab your badge, scope out our Marketplace, and get ready for an amazing day!
  • 9:00-9:15
    Opening Remarks 3rd Floor Find your seat as we kick off Create Upstate 2016 with a few notes from the organizers. We'll run down everything you need to know about the event.
  • 9:15-10:00
    The Hidden Talents of Everyday Things Kelli Anderson avatarMaking by hand is a dialogue. The only way to know if a design decision “works” is to test it out in the actual complexity of life. Because of this, design—in addition to making things—is a tool to explore the unknown. Whenever we make anything, we ask the question “is this possible?” When we feel friction, listen for the echo, calibrate resistance by hand—we are using our senses to perceive answers from our world. Kelli talks about how this process has guided her work and the surprising things she has learned.
  • 10:10-10:55
    Switching Roller Coasters Jonnie Hallman avatarAfter years of freelancing and taking on too much work, Jonnie burned out. To ensure it wouldn’t happen again, he built an app to calm the ups and downs of freelancing. In doing so, he quickly realized that bootstrapping an app is its own roller coaster. In this talk, Jonnie speaks about the challenges of working alone, being your own investor, and running an app responsibly.
  • 11:10-11:15
    Student Design Challenge Showcase AIGA Upstate New York Design is a powerful tool to make a positive impact on our communities and give voice to important messages. This year, Create Upstate will highlight the area's best upcoming designers participating in AIGA Upstate New York's Student Design Challenge.
  • 11:15-12:00
    Art School Confessional Danielle Evans avatarEvery artist starts from the same place: really bad. Follow Danielle Evans down the breadcrumb trail to pre- and post- art school mishaps, flops, and failures in Art School Confessional. Relive the light PTSD of horse posters and bad clients before coming out clean on the other side, learn the beginnings of food type, and discover what encouragements from the not-so-distant past can inform our creative futures.
  • 12:00-1:15
    Lunch Food!
  • 1:15-2:15
    Cropped Sponsored by Aten Cropped is a live design competition pitting designers from across Upstate against each other in a battle to see who has the chops and who gets cropped.
  • 2:35-3:10
    Get Comfortable Feeling Uncomfortable Ben Cline avatarLet's get rid of trying to "find inspiration". It's a lie. Perspiration is the only way to break new ground and stand out from the crowd. Become comfortable feeling uncomfortable. Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse to some of Rally's most successful projects as well as triumphant failures. Attempting to create bold design work is not without consequences.
  • 3:10-3:55
    Destination Process: Tackling a Big Project One Step at a Time Becky Simpson avatarWhat if we saw process more like a road trip and less like a connecting flight? We can lessen the burden of getting started when we see the journey as the destination and not a means to an end. By celebrating the process, we are able to get started, embrace our awkward first drafts, make better stuff and share our process along the way. First drafts are the warriors that carry us to the finish line. It's time to give them the credit they deserve. Becky will talk about how she's tackled her biggest personal projects one baby step at a time and how she's making these habits a sustainable part of her workflow.
  • 4:10-4:15
    Student Design Challenge Winner AIGA Upstate New York We'll announce the winner of the 2016 AIGA Upstate New York Student Design Challenge. Defending Champion: Syracuse University
  • 4:15-5:00
    Take It Easy, But Take It Dan Cassaro avatarExperience the thrill of the commercial arts as you hurtle through the black void of space in this new inspirational talk by Dan Cassaro.
  • 5:00-5:15
    Closing Remarks We'll round out the day with a few messages, thanks yous, and high fives.
  • 5:30
    After Party Sponsored by Terakeet You could say the entire day is a party, but we'll step things up with a proper celebration immediately following our sessions, Upstate style. Plan on sticking around!