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Create Upstate: Advice We Won't Forget

We could spend hours writing about Create Upstate—the shenanigans we shared with each other as a team, the incredible creatives we met, the inspiration we received from every direction, and the confidence we built knowing that we can do this—but there were three themes that will continue to stick with us: the power of play, taking risks, and (of course) communication.

The Power of Play

These designers know how to have a good time and how to constantly stay inspired. This was apparent with Gemma O'Brien's hysterical and experimental Spew Bag Challenge series, where she draws vomit puns on barf bags when traveling on planes. Idea Kraft showed us how they stay loose with their ambitious and inspiring 48-hour ReKraft rebranding event. And Tad Carpenter, of Carpenter Collective, started his SUNday SUNS weekly illustration project to stay focused on the joy of creating.

Take a Risk

Be all in. Make the phone call. Don't give yourself time to lose enthusiasm. Keep the curiosity.

The conference ended with some really powerful words (and work) by Tad Carpenter, who we just adore for his fearlessness and risk-taking. That guy knows how to commit, no matter how zany the concept—and he always manages to stay true to his vision. 

"The harder I work, the luckier I get...go get lucky."
"Don't let it get unfun."
"If you're passionate about it, so are others."
"It ain't about the end result. It's about the exploration."



Yes, we all know that communication is key—but we loved how the speakers provided extra insight into how exactly to make that happen. We heard how important it is to be more transparent and understand how everyone is really feeling.

What are your blocking issues?

What is getting in the way of you doing your job efficiently?

Disagree and commit.

It's okay to not see eye to eye—just stick to the decision that's made and don't look back.

Tracking time doesn't have to be punishment—it's just data.

It's also an indicator of the health of a project (and the people working on it!)


What did you like (or not) this week? What support do you wish you had? What had you feeling super pumped?

Be open about evolution. 

Your needs are gonna change as you grow as a team.

Communication should be transparent, strategic, and empathetic.

Be open and honest, know what your goals are, and care about people, people!

How many fu@k$ do you give?

This was our favorite. On a scale of giving a $h!t, where do you and your team land on key tasks and decisions?

(a special shout out to ZaengleCap Watkins and Truth Collective for the communication tips)