Circles Co. Presents


Circles Co.

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What is Circles?

The heart and soul behind Circles Co. is simple: to craft experiences for creatives, makers, and adventurers. Our hope is that through these unique experiences, there will be a spark within you to make better art, live more authentically, and use your creativity to inspire the world around you.

As creators ourselves, we never want to cap out — but, we want to constantly push the limits of our creativity. We strive to create an environment where we can experience the thrill of pushing through creative boundaries, not only for ourselves, but for all creatives. Our mission is to empower creatives to be their best creative selfs though building experiences that will enhance their lives + creativity. Here at Circles we are celebrating five amazingly rad years. To celebrate, we are throwin' it back to the '80s. We wouldn't be where we are without you, the Circle Makers! We thank you for five great years and hope for many more!



Here at Circles Co. we strive to bring you the best of the best to share their knowledge and process. Whether they are the up-and-comers whose work you need to be watching, or the design leaders whose portfolios you’ve long admired; you will leave inspired and ready to create.

Ashleigh Axios

Ashleigh Axios

Former Creative Director at The White House

Allan Peters

Allan Peters

Former Creative Director at Target

Jessica Walsh

Jessica Walsh

Partner/Art Director at Sagmeister & Walsh

Aaron Draplin

Aaron Draplin

Founder at Draplin Design Co.

Mikey Burton

Mikey Burton

Designy Illustrator

Brooke & Tyler Eide

Brooke & Tyler Eide

Flint Co.

Joshua Blankenship

Joshua Blankenship

Creative Director at NewSpring Church

Mary Kate McDevitt

Mary Kate McDevitt

Hand Letterer & Illustrator

Sean McCabe

Sean McCabe


Luke Stockdale

Luke Stockdale

Sideshow Sign Co.

Luke Stockdale

Micah Davis

Circles Official Emcee

The Talks

Play by your own rules

Jessica Walsh

Jessica will speak about the value of play, and it's importance biologically and historically. She will discuss how play is at the heart of any creative process which requires innovation, and how one can enter this state mind. Play was crucial to her own development, and she shares how it influenced her career path. Every great game has a strict set of rules, and she thinks the same goes for design. I think limitations helps creativity thrive. It’s difficult to do something great when the possibilities are endless. Through her recent work at Sagmeister & Walsh she shows how she creates her own rules which helps guide her to the concepts, and when it’s a good time to break them.


Allan Peters

Before the advent of computers, social media and the internet design took time. The best way to move our visual culture forward is to learn from the great craftsmen of the past. Learn why digging through old broken down shacks, collapsed barns and obscure museums can lead to revolutionary visual inspiration and unearth decades of lost trends. This is what we lovingly refer to as #badgehunting. In this session you will learn how digging through relics of the past has inspired a fresh way to brand companies and design logos. You’ll hear stories about #badgehunging. You’ll see how work inspired by the past doesn’t feel old, but is instead refined and thought provoking. Learn how you can get involved in the future of #badgehunting.

Supercharge Your Writing

Sean McCabe

If you want to build an audience, if you want to sell products, if you want to attract great clients, you need to learn to write. Whether it's a blog post, video, podcast, speech, or course, it all starts with writing! Honing your writing skills is one the best investments you will make in your professional career. Learn to build a writing habit, increase your writing speed, and eliminate writer's block forever.


Ashleigh Axios

Get a behind-the-scenes look at how innovative design and digital strategy happen in-house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Ashleigh will show-and-tell how her small design team transformed daunting challenges into successful digital campaigns as part of the Obama administration. Hear her team’s tactics for tackling limited resources, overcoming impossibly quick timelines, experimenting while in the public spotlight, and not just taking criticism, but intentionally seeking it out. Have fun counting the animated GIFs while you collect all sorts of tips from the former White House creative director.

How I Built Up, Blew Up, and Rediscovered Who I Want to Be

Joshua Blankenship

15 Things I’ve Learned in 15 Years as a Professional Designer

You’re Not a Designer

Brooke & Tyler Eide

Educating clients on the ‘value’ of our expertise, the pitfalls of design by committee, and what we’ve learned this last year running a business consulting for non-designers.

Roll With It & Gain Momentum

Mary Kate

You can’t plan for everything. While Mary Kate admires folks who can plan out their future, she has never been great about making plans, let along sticking to them. Mary Kate will talk about how she navigates the world of freelance by rolling with it when it comes to trying new things, making work, and clients and contracts and gaining momentum when things go well but especially when things go bad.

Design, Illustration & Breakfast Foods

Mikey Burton

New-ish New Yorker Mikey Burton will talk about his path from child to graphic designer to ad man to illustrator, and why the title “designy illustrator” works for him. He'll also cover the importance of self motivated work, and how it can change the path of your career. He will also discuss (at length) his deep deep love of fizzy water and breakfast foods and how it informs his work (really). Apologies in advance if you leave hungry, but hopefully you'll be inspired too.

Making the Streetscapes Distinctive Again

Luke Stockdale

Since the sign industry has had access to design software, a wall has been built between sign-making and quality design. When taking a brand from a 2-dimensional place to multidimensional signage, Designers are now left to deal with an industry that is unadaptable and indifferent to the finer details of design. Through creative partnerships and a focus on education, Sideshow Sign Co. is attempting to change the culture of the sign industry and put the power back in the hands of the designer.

Main Pass

  • $310 student
  • $357 professional
  • $340 groups (5+)

Hangout Pass

  • $167 student
  • $197 professional
  • $180 groups (5+)
Order Hangout Pass

LIVE Streaming Pass

  • $67 single
  • $127 small group (4)
  • $167 large group (4+)
Order Live Pass

The Hangout Pass

only $197

What's a Hangout Pass?

The Scoop

On a budget? Looking to bring your entire team? We've got a great deal for you! Hangout Passes are now available! What is a Hangout Pass you ask? Well, it is a Circles Pass that gives you the same Circles experience for less expensive rate. The hangout room is adjacent to the main auditorium where you will watch the talks on a live video feed. It still includes all the same swag, parties and fun! The only difference is you will be in an overflow room. It's a great option for students, teams and our budget friendly folks!

Pass Includes:

  • Live Stream of sessions in the lounge area (seating will be available)*
  • Access to sessions online once videos are uploaded to the site
  • Interact with the speakers
  • FREE tote bag filled with swag
  • A coffee mug
  • Circles 2016 T-Shirt
  • Activities such as ping pong and foosball
  • Screen printing with Printed Threads
  • Relaxing at the Red Bull Station
  • Admittance to the parties (dinner & drinks included at After Party only)
Snag a Hangout Pass

Panel I

Mikey Burton


Designy Illustrator

Christine Herrin


Adobe Creative Resident

Ashleigh Axios


Former Creative Director at The White House

Brad Woodward


Founder & Designer at Brave the Woods

Brian Gardner


Founder of StudioPress

Andrea Trew


Graphic Designer at Flywheel

Panel II

Allan Peters


Former Creative Director at Target

Tara Victoria


Founder at Hatch & Harbour

Brad Weaver


Partner at Nine Labs

Mary Kate McDevitt

Mary Kate

Hand Letterer & Illustrator

Gus Granger


Principal at 70kft

Nick Jones


Designer at The Grid


Our Workshops

Knowing the basics is not enough for you — you’re serious about making your ideas move like lightning and you want to soak in all the knowledge you can get. Perfect! The workshops were created just for you. At the Circles Workshops you’ll be able to get your hands dirty, go a little deeper, and get answers to your questions floating around in your head. You’ll walk away with practical knowledge and action steps in order to use your words to make some big waves in our world.




Workshop Workshop

Becky Simpson

Illustrator, author & designer. Adobe Creative Resident

Topic: Illustration/Book-Making
Written and Illustrated by You: a Book-Making Workshop

Becky Simpson is the author and illustrator of I'd Rather Be Short (100 reasons why it's great to be small) and The Roommate Book. In this workshop, Becky will talk about how she's used everyday life to inspire her books and how she's gone about getting published. In the second half of the workshop, she'll guide you as you create a mini book of your own (complete with your writing and illustrations). You'll not only leave with your new picture book in hand, but a handful of nifty prompts and resources to take this kind of project to the next level. This is great for anyone interested in illustration, creative prompts or traditional publishing.

Workshop Workshop

Brad Bishop

Torch Creative

Topic: Branding
The “Torch” Logo Design Process

Brad Bishop and Michael Thurman will break down the Torch logo design process from initial thumbnail concepts all the way to final production, covering all aspects of the creative process within our collaborative environment. Located in the DFW Metroplex, Torch Creative specializes in logo design, with an emphasis on sports identity. Torch Creative has created a number of packages for the NHL, the NBA, MLS, Minor League Baseball, the Goodyear Cotton Bowl, as well as numerous colleges and universities that include: LSU, the University of South Carolina, the University of Utah, BYU and the Texas A&M University System.

Workshop Workshop

Victor Melendez

Senior Designer at Starbucks

Topic: Creative Process
Handcrafted illustration

Learn how to create illustrations based on simple sketches and bring them to life in photoshop. In this workshop you will learn how to create and manipulate custom brushes and textures from scratch. Using your own brushes can provide a simple illustration with your own personal touch and character.

Workshop David Roark

David Roark

Creative Director at The Village Church

Topic: Creative Process
Art & Copy & Liturgy

Translated "the work of the people," liturgy is the worship practices of the historical Church that serve to reorient the hearts and minds of believers toward the gospel story week in and week out. Rather than creating work that is merely attractive or that generates a whole lot of hoopla around a sermon series or other church initiative, we should be creating work that is intentionally formative. This workshop will take a look at liturgy and how creative work in the Church can be liturgical and then move into examples of how The Village Church is seeking to accomplish this.


Workshop Brad Woodard

Brad Woodard

Founder & Designer at Brave the Woods

Topic: Business
How to Make a Full-Time Living Doing Your Dream Projects

It isn’t always easy finding time to start up passion projects, especially if you have a demanding full-time job, kids hanging off your legs and hopes of a social life. Brad Woodard, designer and illustrator of Brave the Woods, has been there and will help you decide on your own passion project and how to find the time to actually do it, so you can start landing those dream projects. Can’t decide on a passion project worth pursuing? In this workshop, you are going learn what makes you unique as a creative and how to use that to market yourself and get your dream projects and clients. By the end of the workshop you are going to come away with a unique plan for your own creative career and your next passion project. And to relieve you of all your excuses, you will be invited into an exclusive side project with Brave the Woods.

Workshop Fred

Fred Rodriguez

Founder of Aesthetic Supply Co.

Topic: Lettering
Hand-Lettering: Practice Makes Progress

Hand-Lettering takes a lot of practice; Fred Rodriguez from Aesthetic Supply Co. will be going over some basic principles and techniques to allow you to make progress in this skill. While showing you his process from concept to final sketch, he will discuss topics such as tools, styles, and layout. But most importantly help you get started on your very own hand-lettered design. This class is great for any designer/ illustrator or anyone wanting to learn more about hand-lettering. Be sure to come ready to sketch, and bring a short quote, phrase or word so you can start practicing.

Workshop Workshop

Cody Bridenbaugh

Graphic Designer at NewSpring Church

Topic: Branding
In-House Rebranding: The Tools You Need

Cody Bridenbaugh is a Creative Director at NewSpring Church. He was an integral part of rebranding NewSpring, a multi-site church. During the first half of this workshop, Cody will talk through the process NewSpring used, share practical tools, and guide you through ways to grow your brand. In the second half of this workshop you’ll work hands-on to help expand NewSpring’s brand. You’ll leave with ideas, a brand style guide and other resources that will help you execute your own in-house rebrand.

Workshop Paul Sirmon

Paul Sirmon

Founder & Designer at Buzzbomb Creative

Topic: Type
Totally Tubular Type Skills, Dude

In this workshop we’re going to learn to set type quickly and like a pro with a handful of rad tips. Part discussion and part hands-on you’ll need a copy of InDesign to get the most out of it. We’ll cover several topics like the theory of grids/layout structure, pairing type, personality, readability, really, as much as we can cram in.

Register for a Workshop

The Venue

Palace Arts

300 Main Street, Grapevine TX 76051 • City Guide

The Schedule

8:00 am

Registration, Coffee & Connect

8:30 am

Track 1 & 2: Workshop 1

Becky Simpson & Brad Woodard

10:30 am

Track 1 & 2: Workshop 2

Torch Creative & Fred Rodriguez

12:00 pm


1:30 pm

Track 1 & 2: Workshop 3

Victor Melendez & Cody Bridenbaugh

3:30 pm

Track 1 & 2: Workshop 4

David Roark & Paul Sirmon

7:00 pm

The Pre Party



Wednesday Sep 7

7 pm – 10 pm
Back Porch Grill & Tavern
210 N. Main Street
Grapevine, TX 76501
→ Directions

* Drinks not included


Thursday Sep 8

7:30 pm – 11 pm
2330 William D Tate Ave
Grapevine, TX 76051
→ Directions

* Drinks and dinner provided


Friday Sep 9

7 pm – 11 pm
The Ginger Man
1512 E. Southlake Blvd
Grapevine, TX 76092
→ Directions

* Drinks not included

The After Party

Thursday, Sep 8th 7:30 PM

SkateTown in Grapevine, TX

Come hangout with us at the raddest party in town.

Be sure to wear your '80s get-up and bring your sweetest dance moves.

After Party
After Party
After Party
After Party
After Party
After Party
After Party
After Party

The ‘80s was a decade about people, decisions, and inventions that changed our future. It was ten great years of nonstop glamour, unchecked excess, ruthless ambition, and explosive technological innovation that combined together in order to produce the historic changes and global events that made us who and what we are today.

The fingerprints of the decade best known for Pac-Man and the personal computer are everywhere in our daily lives. The first launch of NASA’s Space Shuttle triggered a tech-explosion in global communications that now makes our world-wide love affair with smartphones and the Internet possible. Here’s to the ’80s!

The Sponsors

  • Packlane


  • The Grid


  • My Fonts


  • Adobe Creative Cloud


  • Carbon Ads


  • Foxy Propganda


  • Smilebooth


  • Scoutbooks


  • Studiopress


  • Deep Eddy Vodka


  • TCU Graphic Design


  • Javelin


  • The Created Co.




  • Musicbed


  • Walk the Light


  • OK Paper


  • Lemieux Company


  • Printed Threads




  • DSVC


  • Kind


  • This Could Be You

    Become A Sponsor


Experience We

Circles Conference is a three-day experience for you, the creative. The conference brings designers and makers from across the globe together for the dual purpose of learning from world-changing thinkers and connecting with one another. The conference creates a space where you will be challenged to push yourself in the creative process, inspired by others who are thriving in the creative industry, and empowered with resources and practical tips to help you pursue excellence.

At the end of the three-day experience you will leave with a fresh spark of passion, filled to the brim with innovative ideas, and with a community of Circle Makers who are ready to create and do life with you.

Register Today
Circles Co.

A Circles Co. Short Film

The Team

Ismael Burciaga


The Creative Visionary

Jill Bragdon


The Experience Architect

Kyle Russelburg


The Swiss Army Knife

Kendall Hanna


The Decor Specialist

Lindsey Erin Clark

Eryn Clark

The Socialite

David Hemphill


Web Developer

Derek Nelson


Circles Friend

Anne Dapore


Volunteer Coordinator

Frances Yllana


Party Coordinator

Brett Bowden


The Swag Specialist

Wilson Lemieux


The DP