It’s been a full week since the WordCamp Asheville 2015. Organized at the Highsmith Student Union on the campus of UNCA, the weekend long event was jam packed with presentations by over 40 speakers in 4 tracks, panel discussions and after hours socializing events. Made possible through the effort and support of numerous volunteers and sponsors, the WordPress-centered event attracted attendees traveling from as far as New York and Texas. Our minds are still buzzing with all the new things learned, interesting people we’ve met and time spent with our burgeoning web community here in Asheville. It was an amazing weekend to say the least.
In her keynote address, Carrie Dils spoke about how our most simple interactions can lead us steadily along on the path for building future relationships and opportunities. Using the analogy of a child searching for a friend on the first day at a new school was quite fitting for this year’s theme of connection and especially hit home for us. We attended last year’s conference—the first year of the annual event. Being one of the new kids on the block here in Asheville, we can still remember walking into the conference on day one. In many ways, it felt like the first day at a new school. With our backpacks securely on, trading up Trapper Keepers for laptops, we flashed back to the younger version of ourselves looking for the open (and welcoming) seat in the cafeteria. Other than a few email exchanges with one of the organizers, we didn’t know anyone. We went in with an open mind, hopeful that we will walk away knowing a couple more people and learning a few new tricks for our toolbox. And that’s what we did.
Simply put, the people you meet at a WordCamp are awesome. WordCamp provides an opportunity to make many unexpected connections within the community. Whether you’re a blogger, designer, developer, content creator, business owner, newbie or someone who merely has an insatiable interest in learning—there is a place for everyone. All you need to do is be ready to say hi, soak in some knowledge, share with others and get inspired.
In the words of Charles Eames, “Eventually everything connects—people, ideas, objects… the quality of the connections is the key to quality per se… I don’t believe in this ‘gifted few’ concept; just in people doing things they are really interested in doing. They have a way of getting good at whatever it is.”
Fast forward one year.
This year, ODDS has had the honor of being a part of the design team, working along with Jamie King and organizer, Corey Bullman. For a couple months leading up to the event, we met regularly to discuss and brainstorm the conceptual and aesthetic direction of this year’s identity and supporting design pieces. Being owners of individual creative agencies here in town, it was a unique opportunity for each of us to come together and collaborate on a common mission outside of our day-to-day work. It also seemed fitting for this year’s theme and showed brightly through the identity we landed on for the event itself. Once the concept for the wordmark was flushed out, it felt as if all the other parts naturally landed in place. The banners, t-shirt, stickers, schedule, map and swag for the contest winners, all followed a cohesive look and feel—a connection of aesthetics you might say. Volunteering our time through creative collaboration was a great way to engage with our local design community and give back to the larger WordPress community.
In one year since Asheville’s first WordCamp, we have forged some strong ties within the design and web industry here in town. From not knowing anyone in our first year, to volunteering our time and sharing our skills in year two, in many regards, feels like we’ve come full circle. For an industry that can work from anywhere, this conference proves that Asheville has become quite the hub for a lot of creative and tech savvy folks. And for us, WordCamp Asheville continues to inspire us to learn, share and join the hardworking people who are building this incredible community around us. We are humbled to be a part of it.