The Top 10 Reasons to Attend Creative South this April 7–9, 2016 in Columbus, Georgia.

It’s that time again. Creative South 2016 is almost upon us! Our 6th year of incredible growth. Our 6th year of hosting what has become the conference that all other design conferences are being compared to. All hosted right here in beautiful, historic, downtown Columbus, GA. Not familiar with Creative South? Well let’s get to fixing that. Read on and see just what makes this conference truly stand apart from all others. And if you are familiar with our little shindig, read on anyway and build up the excitement just that much more. Oh, and if you haven’t already, head over to and grab your tickets, register for our huge selection of workshops and get your hotel all squared away.

Looking forward to seeing y’all again or meeting you for the first time!

Written by Lenny Terenzi & Fran Panto

What do you think of when you hear Columbus? Ohio? The famous explorer? Bank holiday? How about Georgia? Creative South? Those may trigger your thoughts of what Columbus means in your mind, however Columbus, Georgia is so much more. Columbus is home to the last land battle of the Civil War, United States Infantry School, The Mother of the Blues; Ma Rainey, the largest urban white water rafting course (just down yonder on the Chattahoochee), the founder and inventor of Coca-Cola, Aflac, TSYS, Realtree, and of course Creative South just to name a few.

We invite our attendees to explore the city while they are here, but of course we will do our due diligence to introduce you to some of the highlights while you are here. The conference is held at the historic Springer Opera House which first opened in 1871 and was restored in 1965. A beautiful venue doing great things for the community and the arts.

This year Creative South will introduce you to Columbus State University with two campuses that stretch from River Park campus downtown housing the fin and performing arts, communications and history and geography departments to the more north part of town that is home to the Main campus. Some of this year’s workshops will be hosted by the rapidly growing CSU Arts Department at the Seaboard Depot Art Studios located within the River Park campus.

Our neighbors in Phenix City now have a satellite campus for Troy University and we are happy to break it in for workshop day. The beautiful campus building over looks the river and is outfitted with the latest technology and efficient seating concepts. Troy University is steps away from the Courtyard Marriott in Phenix City (one of our preferred hotels) and just a walk over the pedestrian bridge (where the kick off party is held) to downtown Columbus. Both CSU’s downtown campus and Troy University’s Riverfront campus building have made their way in to the Creative South family.

It’s no secret that the Creative South team gets jazzed about grubbin’ on some good eats. No more feels more passionate about that than the Creative South co-founder, Mike Jones. While his passion lies in barbeque (especially Tommy’s BBQ), Columbus is quickly becoming a food lover’s playground.

Our goal is to entertain you, inspire you and put some meat on those bones! Our good friends at 11th and Bay always do right by us and our guest. They cook up some amazing food for us on the bridge during our kickoff party. You don’t want to miss this, but if you do make sure to pop into their in their restaurant that is adjacent to the good ol’ Chattahoochee river.

The Loft (home to Creative South 2013) knows what they are doing. Not only do they have incredibly delicious food (have a steak) they are a hub for amazing music and comedic talent.

It is easy to get carried away writing about all the great places to eat and drink in downtown Columbus. You will find yourself on Broadway, which is the main street housing most of bars, restaurants, nightlife (more on this later) and shops you will encounter while you are here. Another staple establishment on Broadway is our trusty caffeine dealer, Iron Bank Coffee Co. Located in a rad old bank (you can sit in a legit vault) on the corner of Broad and 11th street, they sling signature coffee, espresso and tea drinks as well has healthy, delicious and locally sourced breakfast, lunch and dinner fare. So many choices to make like Barberitos, Your Pie, Minnie’s, MaBellas, Epic, Picassos’s, Uptown Vietnamese, Ruth Ann’s, and Chili Thai that you will not go hungry at Creative South.

If you were to ask what our favorite thing is besides designing, what do you think we would say? If you guessed partying you answered correct! Creative South’s main goal and mission is to host a great event leaving you inspired, refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to create amazing things. A close second goal of ours is to show you an awesome time in our great city. With that being said we have a few awesome Creative South sponsored events for you.

To kick it all off, Creative South hosts a party on a pedestrian bridge that hovers over the Chattahoochee River and connects Georgia to Alabama. The party takes place on Thursday, April 7th at 7pm. Food, drink, InkWars and fun all provided by the Creative South team. We like to keep this a bit of a mystery, but if you are curious check out the video from last year’s event featured on our Facebook page. Come ready to get jump started for a legendary weekend. Make sure to wear your Creative South lanyard to get in or bring ID to check in and register.

Coming back this year are both TYPEFIGHT and Ink Wars. These events don’t need an introduction, but if you don’t have a clue about either let us say this…THEY ARE EPIC! TypeFight will take place in the vendor hall on Friday showcasing fellow attendees going head-to-head battling over a single letter in the alphabet. InkWars is a hardcore display of talent and artists seeking glory while throwing down on their interpretation of a secret theme announced only seconds before they begin to draw on 8’ x 4’ canvas using only black markers. Mind Blown.

When you are rubbing elbows with your new Creative South family, make sure to wander on down Broadway to explore some of the Columbus nightlife. Places to check out are the before mentioned The Loft, The Tap, Maltitude (for all your craft beer and wine needs) and so much more.

This has become our mantra. If you are coming alone, you won’t be alone for long. Creative South has always been about community, lifting each other up. It’s not uncommon for you to walk to dinner or lunch alone or with a f ew people and by the time you reach your destination you need a table for 10, or 20, or more! If you come with a team that team will grow tenfold over the course of the conference. Regardless of how large you roll into Creative South you will be welcomed with a hug around the neck and never want for conversation or companionship.

And it doesn’t end when the conference is over. Our family travels in early and stays sometimes days after the conference to hang out and keep the feeling alive for as long as possible. Lasting friendships are formed at Creative South. Connections that go far beyond “I know this person” to “This is one of my best friends.” Take a look at last year’s speaker Lenny Terenzi of Hey Monkey! and conference co-founder Mike Jones as well as UI designer Peter Deltondo and developer Rob Davarnia. They all met because of our little conference right here in Columbus, GA and have truly become family. In fact they were all groomsmen at Lenny’s wedding last year!

Coming to network? Well ok, you can do that. But take it a step further and open yourself up to really letting people inside to get to know you and do the same for others. What you will get out of it when you leave is far greater than traditional “networking.”

Once of the essentials in our world is learning a new skill. Hands-on, getting right into the mix. Creative South 16 has more workshops covering more subjects than any year before it. There truly is something for everyone and they are all taught by some of the top in our industry. From Digital Painting with past speaker and emcee Rogie King to taking a look at how design and our culture can enable true social change with Antoinette Carroll, we are covering all the bases to get you charged up before the first speaker ever hits the stage. Check out this line-up…

  • Digital Painting with Rogie King
  • Intro to Sports Design with Britt Davis
  • Hand lettering with Wells Collins
  • Creating Vector Textures with Ben Stafford
  • Recharge & Ignite Your Life with Lenny Terenzi & Diane Gibbs
  • Let’s Build Some Icons with Meg Robichaud
  • Shaping Light with Alicja Colon
  • Passive Income with Dustin Lee
  • Social Innovation with Antoinette Carroll
  • Creative Business with Brad Clements
  • Sketchbook Bookbinding with Shann Ferreira & Mike Lawson
  • Prototyping with Framer with George Kedenburg III
  • Women in Design with Lydia Kuekes & Niki Litts
  • And a few more to be announced!

Ok, so content like this comes at a premium so these do cost extra outside your ticket purchase. They tend to go fast so make sure you get your ticket (or tickets) to our workshops today! The workshop are held on April 7 so if you are making travel plans and do not plan to take a workshop you can safely come late afternoon / early evening in time for the kickoff party.

Instead, each of our contestants are given one hour, black ink, a HUGE blank canvas ( We are talking 4' wide and 8' tall here) and a theme. Here is the thing, the theme is announced only seconds before the warriors are set to draw. When they are done, a new champion will receive the heavy weight belt. You have never seen a battle like this. With a Live DJ spinning well into the evening it’s a full on party up in here!

We have some big changes in store for INK WARS this year making it double the fun. Stay tuned for registration and sign-up for battle!

Thursday, April 7th at 9pm @ The 14th St. Pedestrian Bridge. Takes place during the Kick Off Mixer.

For the third year in a row, 52 conference attendees will be facing off in the Letter-Ring for fabulous prizes and calligraphic glory. This year has it all: good people, loud yelling, free t-shirts, making art under pressure, the risk of serious injury, and a gen-u-ine wrestling ring. Want to test your mettle against other quarrelsome designers? All slots are already filled and the smack-talk is already well underway!

Friday April 8th and Saturday April 9th in the Vendor Hall at The Springer Opera House

The lifeblood of this great event, we are truly grateful to all the sponsors who continue to support the creative industry. These folks are on the frontline creating the apps and services that make our jobs easier. Because of you and your support in the past we have had many sponsors come back to us each and every year. Because of the community YOU are building. Make sure you say hi if you see them at the conference, give them a shout-out on the socials and best of all, if you need anything they offer give them some business. Let’s keep it in the family!

Huge thank you to our 2016 Sponsors!

Mailchimp, InVision, Realtree, Real Thread, Cub Studios, Serve Studios, Mossio, Astute Graphics, JakPrints, Dribbble, Glyphs App, Columbus State University, Troy University, Hey Monkey!, MJ Gillespie Photography, Iron Bank Coffee, Positype, Purple Rock Scissors, Columbus Visitors Bureau, Uptown Columbus, Banana Bones Media, Inch x Inch, and TypeFight.

So you want to be a Sponsor?
That list above doesn’t have to stop there. Sponsoring and partnering with Creative South is an amazing way to get your company exposed to an elusive and trailblazing creative class. We’d love to have you join our family!

One of the highlights of Creative South is our venue. The Springer Opera House. When the Springer opened in 1871, it was the nicest theatre between New York and New Orleans, so it served as a venue where shows traveling from the Big Apple to the Big Easy could recoup some travel expenses.

Steeped in history and truly a sight to behold it is the perfect host for our gathering of the best of the best in our field. The staff truly have made us feel welcome and we are proud to call the Springer our home.

Fun fact! Make sure you check out the wallpaper throughout. All original, all screen printed. Yum.

At Creative South we pride ourselves on bringing in the best talent from all over the world. Our speakers have come from as far as Australia, Europe and as close as our very own hometown. We believe in bringing you great stories. Not just dog and pony show portfolio reviews. Creative South 2016 hosts design superstars alongside up and comers in the industry. They all have something we can learn from. Check out our full schedule…

Friday April 8

  • 8a-9a:
    Check-in & Coffee
  • 9a-9:15a:
    Opening, Announcements, Prayer
  • 9:15a-10a:
    Peter Deltondo
  • 10:10a-10:55:
    Hebah Abdelqadar
  • 11:25a-12:10p:
    Adam Grason
  • 12:10p-2:10p:
  • 2:10p-2:55p
    James & Katya Hsu
  • 3:05p-4:05p
    Education Panel
  • 4:35p-5:20p
    Bethany Heck
  • 5:30–6:45p
    Anton & Irene
  • 7p-11:45p
    Bandy Party on Broad

Saturday April 9

  • 8a-9a
  • 9a-9:15a
    Opening, Announcements, Prayer
  • 9:15a-10a
    Scotty Russell
  • 10:10a-10:55
    Carlos Basabe
  • 11:25a-12:10p
  • 12:10p-2:10p
  • 2:10p-2:55p
    Forefathers Panel
  • 3:05p-4:05p
    Noah Elias
  • 4:35p-5:20p
  • 5:30–6:45p
    Aaron Draplin

Creative South is a weekend of creative thinking, collaboration, and exploration in Columbus, GA. Attendees enjoy workshops, talks focused on process and experience, and meeting old friends as well as making new ones. Our goal is to connect you to folks in the industry and the design community. Our ULTIMATE goal is for you to have a great time and explore our awesome city. So as we say at Creative South, “Hug necks! Come as friends and leave as family. Word!”

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