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Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast is taking place 8-10 May and welcomes all creatives, designers and graphic artists. So much that there’s now a special discount offered, which can be accessed by emailing the organisers at: sunshinecoast@startupweekend.org.

Why should creatives sign up to Startup Weekend?

“I signed up to step out of my comfort zone,” Amy, a designer by profession, says. “To shake things up, learn something new, and see how far I could push myself.” The idea of creating an app sounded very technical, but at Start-up Weekend teams focus on the user experience, creating a brand, making interface mockups, and formatting the final presentation. All tasks that benefit from the help of a designer. Not to mention, it’s advantageous for any Startup Weekend team to have a member who can offer a different creative problem solving perspective.

Creatives & Designers creating the future, iForage team 2014
Creatives & Designers creating the future, iForage team 2014

Because of designers’ skills, they are hot commodities at Startup Weekend. Every team wants one and values the skills he or she can bring to the table. Sharon explains, “They appreciate you! I don’t think I’ve ever received so much positive feedback and confidence in my choices and development of an identity. With such positive energy, it pushes you to make it the best it can be and it’s so rewarding.” Other attendees understand that good design can make or break a product and having a designer on their team is like having a secret weapon. She adds that she liked how everyone enters the room as equals. “I felt like I walked in with a clean slate and no one judged me either way. It was amazing! I got to prove myself with the work I did THAT DAY.”

Building a startup in a weekend has its share of challenges. Designers typically need time to develop creative solutions, but in Amy’s words that’s not an option. “Perfectionism is a road block to momentum, and there’s not really any room (or time) for it. You have to manage your time, and you have to be fast. Period. That was hard.”

Looking back though, Sharon says it is totally worth it. “The rewards you get from taking a weekend away and designing for some amazing new companies is priceless.” Amy’s reaction was quite similar. “It’s definitely addictive, especially for a designer that might be working in the corporate world where they work with the same brand every day. You leave Startup Weekend with an incredible sense of accomplishment. As a designer, it’s easy to fall into a staleness, where you aren’t challenging yourself or learning new skills. Startup Weekend is like a creativity boot camp that recharges your system. Amy says, “I feel like I can take anything on and have been running strong all week. It totally re-ignited my passion for what I do.”

Being social at SWSC2014
Being social at SWSC2014

In addition to leaving recharged, you might walk away with some great contacts and possible future opportunities as well. Sharon received eight freelance requests from the weekend. “I highly recommend going and staying late at the very last happy hour celebration. I made most of my connections there because people could pin you with your work. And the drinks didn’t harm either,” she shares.

Still on the fence? Here’s Amy’s take. “On one side of the fence is this amazing opportunity to totally reenergize your career, meet new people, step outside your comfort zone and make something wonderful. On the other side of the fence is the same weekend you had last weekend…which, I’m sure was awesome…but not THIS awesome.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast 2 May 2014
Retha Scheepers