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CreativeMornings is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community; free, monthly events that feature a short talk, Q+A and breakfast. Local chapters celebrate a city’s creative talent and promote an open space to connect with other interesting, like-minded people.

CreativeMornings started in New York City in 2008 and has since grown to well over200 cities all over the world.

Map of the globe with pins in all 200+ CreativeMornings chapter locations

It's Crazy Awesome

I (Austin, Pen & Mug founder) attended my first CreativeMornings in February 2017 when a friend was the featured speaker, and I left enamored with the organization. It was a gathering full of community, opportunity, and creative inspiration, and I'd been looking for all three.

After attending religiously for a few more months I got involved with the Nashville chapter's design team, creating graphics for social media, event signage, and monthly giveaways. One of my first projects was a CreativeMornings Nashville sticker pack (shown below, and produced by the generous people over at Sticker Mule).

CreativeMornings Nashville logo
creativemornings sticker of a coffee mug
creativemornings sticker of a donut with sun rays
creativemornings sticker of a sketchbook and pen
creativemornings sticker of high-fiving hands

Morning Friends

For one project, our team of designers was tasked with creating a wide variety of illustrations that all represented the spirit of CreativeMornings Nashville: the fun and whimsy, the creative community and, of course, the breakfast.

My entry was this handdrawn illustration of two pals, a mug and a doughnut, smiling happily together. These two started out as a simple postcard and social post, but received such positive responses from the community that they have since taken on additional forms such as a photobooth prop, a large flag, and even enamel pins!

smiling mug and donut characters with their arms around each other
smiling mug and donut initial sketch
smiling mug and donut ink drawing
smiling mug and donut final artwork
smiling mug and donut on a large flag
smiling mug and donut enamel pin - front
smiling mug and donut enamel pin - back

"Surprise and Delight"

In September 2018, the CreativeMornings Nashville chapter got a unique and wonderful message from CreativeMornings Global HQ. We learned that our chapter had developed a reputation in the CM community for infusing "surprise and delight" into our events and messaging, and HQ asked our team to lend a hand in preparations for CreativeMornings Global Summit Camp 2018. Our reply, of course, was an eager "uhyes".

Working within a tight deadline, the wonderful Christie Vergona and I designed and wrote the Summit Camp Field Guide – a pocket-size book of activities and other frivolity designed to get CM leaders from 30+ different countries (89 CM chapters) interacting and connecting with each other. (Printed by the fine folks at Scout Books).

The "Morning Pals" flag made an appearance at Summit Camp, as well.

CreativeMornings Summit Camp banner
summit camp field guide book
summit camp flag
summit camp field book interior pages

The Mug Library

CM Nashville team members who attended Summit Camp returned overflowing with new ideas from the featured speakers (Seth Godin, Priya Parker, Ingrid Fetell, and more) and other CM chapters around the world. One of the first of these ideas to be put into action in Nashville was the "Mug Library" sustainability effort.

Rather than providing paper or Styrofoam cups, we collected (and continue to collect) a "library" of ceramic mugs for people to use at our events. We've also encouraged event attendees to BYOM (bring your own mug) if they'd prefer to use their own.

I stayed true to the rough, hand-drawn vector style of the "Morning Pals" to create a new series of illustrations for the Mug Library. These friendly mugs have been used on promotional and informational materials, including large event posters, social posts, and presentation slides.

mug library hand-lettering
mug library instructions digital graphic
dirty mugs signage
clean mugs signage
bring your own mug illustration
mug library objectives digital graphic

Breakfast of Chimpians

Sometimes we also make things for sponsor activations at events. This large format sign was for a personal favorite of mine, Frothy Monkey, when they showed up with an espresso machine and a build-your-own-cupcakes bar. (See why they're a favorite?)

A 2x3 foot poster for Frothy Monkey's activation at a CreativeMornings Nashville event.

"Nashville Is Creative"

Our latest project for CreativeMornings Nashville was a new apparel illustration to help raise money/awareness for the organization. We were given the line "NASHVILLE IS CREATIVE" to begin with, and came up with this illustration below. (Now available in our online shoppe!)

"Austin has distinguished himself among the very best designers we’ve had the pleasure to work with in nearly 5 years of designing a huge variety of projects. He always comes to the table with an excellent vision for the project, but he also readily solicits and incorporates our feedback. His work is always on time, which is so important, but more importantly he’s just an open and friendly guy who really cares about producing good work. We know when a project has Austin on it, it’s gonna be good!"

Colin Pigott

CreativeMornings Nashville Host

Pen (& Mug) Pals?