You must attend all graphic design conferences you can. I repeat. You must attend all graphic design conferences you can. Big or small. They are nothing short of wonderful opportunities to meet other designers, see some cool shit, learn some cool shit, and hang out with really awesome people that you can keep in contact with and all will help you continue to grow as a professional in this field.
Designers are nerdy, sarcastic, and incredibly talented and kind people (especially in Minneapolis and during Design Camp in MN speaking from experience).
But how do you conference right?
Talk to people you don't know and here's the part where you get to be your authentic self. Listen and share all sorts of things about design with them.
Bring business cards. If there are nicely designed, great. If you can't design them in time, make ones anyway. You can enter all sorts of raffles with them and you'll be meeting so many people, you won't have time to write down their information to contact them later. People love giving you their business card and getting to take yours after conversations. So have them.
Hashtag any photos you take at the event. Check out this previous post on the importance of hashtags here.
Stay curious. Ask people questions and learn as much as possible.
Follow up. Once you have contact information of people you enjoyed talking to, follow up with them. Thank them on LinkedIn and keep in touch.
Be sure to come to AIGA's Real World Design conference tomorrow. We would love to have you there.
Designerds Ariana Shank and Olivia Booth