The INsight Design Conference Inspired the Creatives of the Region

A gathering of creative minds claimed Faith Church Community Arts Center in Cedar Lake in mid-September for the annual INsight Design Conference. This conference is a unique networking event specially geared toward graphic designers, artists, web developers, entrepreneurs, and the like.

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“The only rule is that everything that our speakers talk about has to have a creative thread,” Kevin Bruinsma, Director of Communications for Faith Church and cofounder of INsight Design Conference said. “The purpose of the conference is to inspire, educate, and transform. We want to build a community of creative professionals in Northwest Indiana.”

INsight began about nine years ago. Bruinsma is a graphic designer as is the other cofounder, Joseph Gonzalez, graphic designer et al for the Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana as well as an owner of his own photography business. They saw that there was a need for a community for creatives and met that need.

“It started out as a portfolio review,” Gonzalez said. “We got a bunch of professionals together and invited these young college students in to get their portfolios reviewed. It’s grown and changed, but it still carries the same mission and goal.”

There were 13 presenters in total, and each one had something unique and inspiring to share with the group. The presentations could only last for five minutes, otherwise Bruinsma would put a stop to things with his air horn which he lovingly named, Claudia.

Between presentations there were networking sessions where everyone could get up and mingle, eat some pizza, and stretch their legs. Business cards and ideas were exchanged, and no one left without meeting someone new.

The presenters were:

Angie Drach – She presented 10 Dos & Don'ts for Creatives on the Hunt. Basically, she wanted her audience to know what to do and what not to do to get that job that they are gunning for.

Chris Mahlmann – The President and CEO of Ideas in Motion Media, Mahlmann talked about how graphic designers and other creatives can best use social media to their advantage to market themselves and have the greatest impact.

Eric Verbich – Verbich delved into how one can prepare his or her files for large format printing.

Joe Dascenzo – He believes that in order to get the product, you have to be willing to go through the process. He discussed the points in the creative process that lead to innovation.

Julia Huisman – The editor for Inspired Living Magazine, Huisman let the people know that Northwest Indiana is filled with brilliant and creative people. She talked about how to find these people and build a great team.

Liz Mares – She said it’s okay to be quiet. Mares pointed out that introverted people are often lost in the social media shuffle because they are told over and over again to be seen, be heard, and be pushy.

Matt Fiocca – The hard work that you put into that beautiful design will eventually be handled by someone else one day. Fiocca has ways to prepare you and your work for an easy and successful transition.

Michelle Nikitaras – A wedding planner, Nikitaras tells the tale of her accidental fall into the creative industry and how many grateful clients she has because of that happy accident.

Mylinda Cane – A photographer in her spare time, Cane revealed that her hobby saved her and shaped the way she sees and finds beauty.

Natalie Leaman – She’s a designer in an engineer’s world. Sounds like oil and water mixing, right? Leaman was able to bridge the gap and use her talents to help the aviation industry using Geographic Information Systems and AutoCAD.

Rhasaan Taylor – Taylor gave a humorous presentation on how to trick yourself into happiness by taking a second look at the things that we are normally told to avoid.

Wayne Ozenkarski – There’s no way you can win if you don’t take any risks. This was Ozenkarski’s message to the audience as he emphasized on not letting fear disrupt your chances of success.

Justin and Evvie Tillich – The duo said not to ignore the small things that make us special. These tiny talents are often what make us the happiest and we should not push them aside.

"Claudia the air horn was a little nerve-wracking," Drach said with a laugh. " I have been coming to this conference for about four years and this year I was asked to present. Kevin and Joe do a good job and I am glad I got to present because I feel like I had something important to say."

After the conference concluded, an after party was held at Pier 74, a restaurant just a few minutes away from Faith Church. Here, people could spend more time with each other and the speakers. They could find a speaker who touched on something of interest to them and talk to them more on that subject.

For more information on the INsight Design Conference visit   

Sponsors and Partners:
Faith Church
Largus Graphix Solutions
The Indiana Knit Factory
Please Explain
Wooden Jacket Design
Ron Delhaye
Arcadia Design
AMP Public Relations
3Sixteen Creative Works