Last Monday, our team had the opportunity to travel to Chicago for NeoCon 2019. Located downtown in the Merchandise Mart, NeoCon has been held every summer since 1969. It’s an awesome place where manufacturers, users, and designers of all types come to see and show a huge variety of products from categories like fabrics, furniture, interior design, technology, and flooring. Designers — whether graphic, industrial, or interior — are problem solvers, and it’s beneficial for us to see how different problems can be solved using the same design skills we use every day. NeoCon gives us, and other attendees opportunities to meet and discuss how we can help each other with our different skillsets.

NeoCon is not only a place for furniture and fabric inspiration, but for print design and marketing too. For us at Northbound Studio, we have enjoyed going to NeoCon for the past few years for that reason. We can’t get enough of the beautiful print pieces and clever giveaways. After NeoCon, we spread all of our collected materials out and spend time sorting through them. We pick out typography, color, and image trends that help inform our own work. Not only can we use them for inspiration on marketing materials for ourselves and our clients, but to be informed of the trends in style and design. We like to be in-the-know about top trends so that our work can build upon them and be even bigger and better in the future. You may even see bits and pieces from these print materials in our mood boards!
One theme we saw throughout the whole selection was a focus on human connection and experience. A lot of the showrooms we visited showed the importance of community in whatever industry; even the benefits of nature as they have an influence on our attitude in work environments. This idea of community is important to us, too. Many of our clients are not only staples in our communities, but focus on bringing communities together to make memories. Much of our messaging is focused on this idea. We also recently learned about accessibility at a Creative Mornings talk in Grand Rapids. We’ve been working on improving our processes to make sure that our work is accessible to all members of the community, including those who are differently abled.
We had an awesome and educational experience and we can’t wait to go back in 2020!