Art + Design

Altitude Design Summit

Altitude Design Summit is a bloggers’ conference on design, lifestyle, photography, fashion, events, styling, and art direction. Founded by Sarah Urquhart, Gabrielle Blair (of Kirtsy and Design Mom), and Kate Shoening, the conference was last month in Salt Late City, Utah, with more than 400 design bloggers in attendance (plus their Twitter followers—3 million total, according to Salt Lake Magazine). This certainly was the place to be for a design and style obsessed creative professional like myself, and I learned so much about this young but quickly growing online community.

The four-day conference was packed with educational and inspiring panel discussions lead by renowned design bloggers. The lineup of speakers was stellar—name your favorite blog author and you’ll probably find him/her on an Alt Summit panel. Pretty much all the style mavens that I’ve dreamed of meeting were there!

Clockwise from top left: Our beloved author Joy Cho of Oh Joy! Stationery line and Oh Joy!, Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge, Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind, Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day, Crystal Gentiello of online magazine Rue, Heather Armstrong of Dooce, Ashley Meaders of I Make Stuff, another beloved author of ours, Meg Mateo Illasco of Creative, Inc. and Anthology Magazine, and Tina Eisenberg of SwissMiss.

Through daily reading of their blogs, I’ve imagined these authors to be super creative, smart, stylish, and fun inspirational beings… and they truly were. Heather was as beautiful, funny, and captivating as I imagined her to be, or even more. Her session was so popular that seating ran out before it started. Tina was a closing keynote speaker. Her presentation was perfectly and thoroughly organized, and her slides were of course impeccably “Swiss.” And my favorite people… Meg, Joy, Grace. They were always together looking like the prettiest little birds in their colorful and stylishly put together outfits. In their spare time, they actually discuss lifestylish things like how to print a design on a curtain for Joy’s bedroom renovation. They also discussed forthcoming Anthology Magazine articles, where to eat in LA, Golden Globes dresses, Mad Men, and Grace’s beautiful tweed-covered and leather-belted carry-on bag that is just a little too long to be counted as a carry-on, etc.

Meg and Grace in their “twin” jackets.

Alt attendees Brittany and Jessica with 642 Things to Draw.

Andy Kane and Kate Pruitt. Andy gave a silkscreen workshop at Alt Summit that everyone, including Kate, was raving about. Hope to take his class soon…

Joy, Jordan, and a promising future design blogger (love her stripy dress!).

Did I mention there was a Kate Spade party? Here I am at the photo booth with (from left) Kellen, her baby Lulu, Christine, Marisa, and Willo.

What’s not to love about meeting these amazingly creative stars of the blogosphere? Now I am curious more than ever about what YOU think. Where do you get your inspiration? Blogs? Conferences? Stores? Books? Post a comment below letting us know and I’ll randomly pick one commenter next week to win a 25% off coupon for Cricut Circle along with this tote bag from the Alt Summit silkscreen workshop.

Ayako Akazawa
Senior Designer



  • glee February 3, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    how did we ever get along w/o the internet and blogs? my day just wouldn't be the same w/o them!


  • Debbie February 4, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I find inspiration everywhere…and I was lucky enough to take a class taught by Erin Loechner which really pointed me in the right direction. It really helped me to move forward with my business and my blog. I love the fact that there is just such a wonderful and helpful blogging community out there. It is wonderful to watch each and everyone one of them truly working towards their goals. That's what inspires me!


  • Janel February 4, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I feel lost when I'm away from my computer. I love all of the fascinating things that pass through my blog reader every day.


  • Harpreet February 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    for me, inspiration always comes along unexpected, by surprise… to think of it, its always when i'm away from work and not thinking about it. the five minutes after the end credits in the movie multiplex, the time between i sit in the car and i turn the key, amongst friends in the noisiest of restaurants, in the kitchen chopping vegetables…. all the times and places i'd think myself to be furthest from it, its there.. WHAM!


  • Kelly Milner Halls February 4, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    No wonder Chronicle always ALWAYS produces books with a distinctive look. Their designers work hard at edgy perfection. Love.


  • Love2teach February 4, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    I mostly craft for my friends and family so I get my inspiration by paying attention to the little things that make them unique and special to me and how to express that which I am fascinated by them in a symbolic yet concrete way. I find magazines, books and looking at pics on apps on my phone very helpful in deciding on a vehicle for my ideas!


  • jodi February 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    the internet is the most amazing source of inspiration. i still love to look through design books and magazines, but the internet has it all! i especially love scouring pinterest for new products and beautiful rooms.


  • Creative Thursday February 5, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Aya! It was so wonderful meeting you! Alt was so inspiring! I'm still thinking about everything I learned. I would not be living the creative life I am today without the internet and all of these inspiring, lovely people who share with us online.


  • Aimee May 22, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I attended ALT and just loved it. However, there just wasn't enough time to connect and meet with everyone! I didn't run into you at all for example! Wasn't the Girls With Glasses/Kate Spade party so much fun? Hope to see you at this year's ALT!


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