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The lesson of Valiocon

Last month, around 10 Vox designers descended upon San Diego to participate in a design conference called Valiocon. Our mission was three-fold:

  • Go to a cool conference. Learn new things. Connect with new people.
  • Give a talk, on the designing of our newest Vox vertical, Polygon.com. Do Vox proud.
  • Go forth and bond with thy team.


The Conference

Valiocon, (billed as the FUN design conference) is set in beautiful San Diego at the Catamaran Resort. The lineup of speakers ranged from letterpress experts to designers-turned-surfing-acai-smoothie-evangelists to talks on magazine publishing for web designers - bookended by good food, and time in the Southern California sun June Gloom. All-in-all, an engaging and well-balanced event.


Our Talk

Team Polygon Design gave a 45 minute presentation called Polygon: Design at Scale - where we mapped out our process… touching on typography decisions, moodboard development, and responsive design. If you read this blog regularly, we’ve been over much of this stuff here, on the product blog. But *do* take a gander at the deck we put together if you’d like more!



The Bond

While it was awesome to share our process with other folks in the design community, and the talks were thought-provoking - it turned out the bonding was the best part of this excursion. Though we had hoped (even planned) for some solid team-building time, we may not have been prepared for what a week together would come to mean. Over tacos, and beer, and the dancing (oh my god the dancing), and some potentially misguided late night swimming… some team fires started to re-ignite.

I’m sure I don’t have to explain to you what it feels like to make meaningful connections with other human beings - but I did want to underscore the value of this sort of thing.

We, as colleagues, were able to double-down on relationships. We shared laughs, stories, and generated a shockingly large number of new inside jokes. If you want to look at it from a company angle, we strengthened trust and goodwill amongst team members. It will - no doubt - leave a long-tail of increased interest in collaboration, and improved culture.

But there is more to it than that. When you step back and look at your life, and the decisions you make about where to spend your time, and what you spend your time doing… it’s nice to feel like you’re among kindred spirits. It’s nice when those kindred spirits turn out to be the people you work with.