The Big Cat design team had the chance to attend Behance Reviews Birmingham, hosted by Bareface.

This is a creative design forum where key speakers talked through their work processes and gave advice aimed at creative people in the industry (whether you were a photographer, illustrator, writer or designer).

In between talking about their processes they also highlighted the significance of doing work you’re passionate about and of human interaction and wellness in design. This is done by simply listening to the consumers’ needs (as well challenging the client brief), undertaking rigorous research as well as experimenting.

The most important thing to note is being prepared to make mistakes and learning from them is all part of the creative process.

After the talks, the events key speakers then provided a rare opportunity for budding creatives to gain insights from an established designer by reviewing their portfolios.

But opportunities like this shouldn’t be so rare…

Not just portfolio reviews, but design meetups in general. There aren’t many consistent events in Birmingham apart from our Digital Marketing Meetup (hosted monthly) and Glug (hosted quarterly). London is seen as the hub of all things design, and so it’s more than likely that you’ll come across events and opportunities there.

This is why it’s important now more than ever to get the ball rolling and to host and attend as many meetups taking place in Birmingham. It is a thriving creative city, and by creating more opportunities for designers to come together will not only help us grow as a community, but as people. We can branch out into other sectors such as Marketing and PR to build our reputation as a booming creative city.

How to host a successful meetup

Attending an event can be quite daunting (as designers aren’t always the most outgoing when it comes to networking opportunities) and hosting one even more so. However, even just a casual get-together over drinks while drawing (which Drink and Draw does excellently) is enough to grow our network. Our Managing Director Anthony Tattum gives us some of his key points in hosting a successful meetup:

1.When planning an event you need to think about three things:

  • Picking the right subject matter
  • Who is going to be speaking?
  • What is the format of the event?

We’re all busy people with commitments before, during and after work so you must choose a subject that is appealing to your attendees. When planning the event theme think:

  • What is in it for the audience?
  • What will they gain?
  • Would I want to go to this?
  • Is this too specialist?

Try to pick a topical subject or attract a speaker that has a strong appeal. If a high profile speaker isn’t possible then try interesting formats such as speed networking, multiple speakers followed by a panel discussion, small group workshops, or growth hacks.

2. Use a free event platform

Free event management and marketing platforms offer a really simple way to get your event off the ground and online

Currently we like Nvite, a free to use (providing the tickets are free) platform that looks beautiful; it can be adapted nicely with branding and makes delegate registration really simple. Some nice images are always good plus speaker photos and biographies help too.

Your event date and location are intuitively incorporated to make it super easy for visitors to navigate the site. Platforms like this, (however good,) are only as good as the content. In addition to what has already been said, ensure that you present your text well: punchy headings, short paragraphs, bullet point lists, and long list full of reasons to attend.

3. Audience

Finding and talking to the right audience is a crucial element of a successful event.

At Big Cat we’ve been organising events for over 20 years and have amassed a great database. If this is to be your first event you are likely to have a limited list of potential delegates. In this case we would suggest looking for partners with an existing database or starting small with the contacts you have already.

An alternative are community platforms like Meetup, which have ready- made special interest groups. Meetup also helps you promote events by subject matter and geographic location. It does however have its limitations: an unpleasant layout, poor community messaging and lots of weirdos – but is a great place to start to build a community and a brand.

Posted by: Keshia Chauhan on