HOW Design Live 2016 Set for May in Atlanta

Ah, the good old days, when firms had a training budget in place to ensure that employees could attend events to perfect their design and technical skills. But thanks to the Internet, anything beyond a subscription to can be frowned upon. Fly across the country? Stay in a hotel for days on end? With parties in the evening and room service and cable TV, are you mad? The result has been a conference landscape in which it's difficult to justify attending any but the most major events, such as Adobe's MAX — The Creativity Conference, held each Fall on the West Coast.

But what about Spring in the South, you ask? The folks behind HOW magazine have been hosting design-related events for years but more recently adapted to the harsh economic climate by grouping them into a mega-event, with its long-running Design Conference becoming the centerpiece. The idea was that attendees take that in and while they're there extend their visit to include one or more of the other offerings. This was a pretty good idea and seems to have found acceptance, with the event being able to attract consistently solid attendence of nearly 4,000. This then morphed into the conferences becoming simply five tracks or "programs," as HOW calls them, for grouping the many sessions available during the five-day event. All while ensuring that the quality of the keynote speakers remains high, with such folks as Stefan Sagmeister, David Butler and James Victore guaranteed to fire up the crowd in 2016. So what are the five programs?

Design and Creativity
As in past years, this core track has rounded up some impressive designers, consultants and design leaders to head such sessions as Shut Your Monkey: How to Control Your Inner Critic and Get More Done; Art is Meant to Be Framed; and How Asking Can Accelerate Your Creativity and Amplify Your Life.

Creative Entrepreneur
Okay, so you were either fired or decided in a moment of bravado to strike off on your own. Now what? Sessions include From Designer to Entrepreneur; Licensing Know-HOW: Creating New Revenue Streams from Art and Design; and Marketing Strategy for Designers.

In-house Management
And at the opposite end of the freelance spectrum we have those who are at the head of an in-house creative team.

Branding and Packaging
If you're not familiar with the term, a "dieline" is used as part of the process of creating a design that will be diecut for the creation of such things as packaging or envelopes, to ensure that design elements are in alignment. As such, the conference is headed up by Andrew Gibbs of the popular packaging-focused site, Since everything has its package, there's really no good reason to not be well-grounded in the arcana of package design and this track would seem to deliver the goods, with such sessions as Rethinking the Role of In-house Brands and Packaging; and The Resilient Brand.

Vision and Leadership
This involves sharing the perspectives of heavy hitters such as Emily Oberman, Sean Adams and Ken Carbone.

In fact, there's so much going on you're bound to miss some sessions. Happily, included with a BIG Ticket registration are audio (but strangely, not video) recordings of most of them and these are available at an extra charge for other attendees.

More information and registration for the event, which will be held May 19-23, 2016, in Atlanta, is available on the HOW Design Live site, with reduced pricing ending November 19.