Adobe Certified Expert - InDesign CS2
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How I Spent My Creative Suite Vacation

Last week, I spent six consecutive days immersed in InDesign and other Creative Suite applications (mostly Photoshop and Acrobat) in the beautiful city of Chicago at the back-to-back InDesign and Creative Suite Conferences. I’ve mentioned this event a lot in the podcast episodes leading up to it, so I figured a quick run-down of the event — now that I’ve attended it — would be useful.

I had several goals while attending this conference.

Goal number 1: learn, learn, learn!
I had an opportunity to go in-depth on most of the advanced features of InDesign (and other CS apps) by following the “advanced” and half-day tutorial tracks of the conference. This included a day-long in-depth overview of Adobe InCopy by Anne-Marie Concepcion, a half-day session on Acrobat by Claudia McCue, about three-quarters of a day on XML with Jim Maivald, and the cherry on the sundae, two back-to-back half-day sessions on Photoshop with Ben Willmore.
Renown expert David Blatner was the editorial director of the conferences as well as a presenter of several sessions and the “master of ceremonies” for the whole event. On all fronts, and as a just plain nice guy, David really delivered.

Goal number 2: network, network, network!

I also had the pleasure to meet and talk with other presenters, vendors and attendees including Sandee Cohen (who did her very entertaining InDesign game show at the conference), Pamela Pfiffner of Peachpit Press, Lawrence Horwitz from Teacup Software (who sat one-on-one with me to take me through two of their amazing plug-ins, DataLinker and TableStyles and CellStyles Pro), and trainers like Cathy Palmer of Digital Design Tools and Jori Curry from Ascend Training.
I honestly can’t place a dollar value on this amount of information and access to some of the most knowledgeable people in the field. The conference was more than worth price and I highly recommend it to anyone who can twist the arm of their boss or squeeze the cash out of their own wallet to attend. If you know your skill level and pick the right sessions, you’ll get far more out of it than you put in. Barrycon, who pulled off this big event, is also holding InDesign Conferences in London and Amsterdam in the months ahead, and I’m sure there’ll be more here in the U.S. soon.

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2 Responses to “How I Spent My Creative Suite Vacation”

  1. Hear, hear! I wish I had seen you or that you had been identified in one of my sessions, Michael. I would have loved to speak with you, and thank you for your podcast in person.

    I second your comments on the conference. It was worth the time spent, and the support staff did a terrific job, as did the speakers.

    I’ve had over 16 years Quark experience, and 2 years of InDesign since then. I read a LOT of design resources and have many books on design, type, layou, you name it. This was by far the most, fastest learning I’ve ever experienced.

    I’d go on, but there’s no need. Highly recommended.


  2. James…I can’t believe you were there!

    Weren’t you listening to my podcasts? Or checking the blog? I had mentioned the conference several times, and that I’d be attending. And I even extended an invitation — in the podcasts and on the blog — to any listeners who wanted to get together, have a drink, talk shop, etc.

    I hate missed opportunities. I would have enjoyed meeting and speaking with you, too.