Everyone Lost Their Sh*t at Alt Summit

I’m back from my third year at Alt Summit (that’s short for Altitude Summit) – a conference that attracts hundreds (this year it seemed like a thousand) design bloggers and creative entrepreneurs from all over the world. The themes that typically course through the hallways and conference rooms of Alt Summit are as follows: be your most authentic self, make connections, keep it real, say no, say yes, do more, and dream big. They all seem like total cliches unless you’re actually there – then you really do become inspired to do more and dream big.

But in my recap I want to talk about all the things I, and others, lost their shit over at Alt Summit.

1Backpack copy

1. A few people lost their shit over the fact that I packed just one small backpack for the entire event. Yup. In an attempt to attain a minimalist lifestyle I decided to pack three outfits and one pair of boots to Alt Summit – all of which would fit in one small backpack.

2Bathroom copy

2. Everyone lost their shit. Literally. Two days in and I wasn’t feeling well. at all. And the fact that the bathrooms in the super fancy Grand America smelled like Nepal made me think everyone else wasn’t feeling too hot either. My guts were audibly rumbling and tumbling inside my body the whole time. Was it something I ate? Was it the altitude? It was a total mystery until my friend Claire shared this rumor that at conferences they sprinkle this chemical over your food that acts as a laxative. Apparently, they do it to avoid food poisoning in case any of the food they’re serving is bad. I believe it.


3. Everyone lost their shit over each other. The best part of Alt Summit is seeing all your old online buddies and making new ones. And then hitting up all the photobooths with each other. I met some super amazing and inspiring ladies this year – too many to list but I’ll be sure to share throughout the year.


4. I lost my shit over The Equals Record (Offline) Magazine. I became smitten with Miya and Elisabeth at Alt Summit last year. Shortly thereafter they turned a big dream into a reality and started an online space for women to really dig in, explore, and share the complex stories of careers, life, relationships, and culture. Well, this year they launched a sneak peek of the Equals Record quarterly print magazine and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I flipped through the pages immediately but decided to savor each and every word on the plane ride home.

5Stefan copy

5. We all lost our shit over Stefan Sagmeister. I’ve had a long time design crush on Stefan Sagmeister – so when I saw him appear on the Alt schedule as a key note speaker I became consumed with excitement. I saw him speak years ago at my alma mater and was really looking forward to seeing him speak again. I’m going to write more about everything I learned from his talk (that had EVERYONE captivated) over at the Braid Blog tomorrow. After his keynote I wanted to say hi and maybe get a photo but I chickened out (and my stomach wouldn’t stop flipping over on itself). So when I spotted him at the mini parties that evening I knew it was going to be my only chance. I approached him and said “I saw you speak years ago at OU. I have a huge design crush on you – you’re work means so much to me. I was too shy to get a photo then. Can I get one now?” He obliged but only if he could give me a kiss too. DONE.

Were you at Alt Summit this year? What do you lose your shit over? 

  1. That rumor about the food went around my college, too. And I definitely believed it.

  2. mai

    aah i wish i could have gone!
    hopefully next year!

  3. Jessica

    Hi Kathleen! I was wondering which pack you used for your trip–I’m going to try and do six weeks in Spain (for classes) this summer in a carryon backpack, and yours looks like a good size. Thanks! Looks like you had fun!

  4. Your backpack reminds me of Gwen Bell Love it:) She revamped her page, seems like you’re both switching things up!

    Now I keep thinking which three outfits I would take with me in case of emergency. Hmm…..


    Um, where’s the like button? You’re adorable and honest. I’m so glad you had such a fun successful trip!

  6. I deeeefinitely lost my SHIT over Stefan Sagmeister. He was one of my design heroes in college so, like you i chickened out on taking to him after his keynote but I ran into him in the mini parties and word barfed all over him about how i worship him. he AND his super hot fiance kissed me and I just about died. I would have come to Alt if only for all of that!
    xo Moorea

  7. You got a KISS from STEFAN SAGMEISTER?!!? That is just straight up amazing, he looks pretty awesome in his brown kicks. I’m dying over this- “super fancy Grand America smelled like Nepal.” Way to keep it real, as usual.

  8. Kathleen! Alt was seriously inspiring. Cliche and shit and all! I’m really glad I met you! You have a great voice in your writing!

  9. Haha yes! I was in Vis Com at OU when he came and spoke. We had a dinner at our professor’s house after and I’m pretty convinced that he was in love with me. I forget what he wrote when he signed my book, but I’m pretty sure it was something along the lines of “To my love” or something completely ridiculous, but I totally ate it up 🙂 Love your blog!


  10. oh I wish i had a place to be at ALT. I’m no design blogger, but I always look at the post from this conference and wish i could go to there

  11. I’ve read that at camps where everyone is mostly male, they put something on the food to lower testosterone.

  12. It was so fun to catch up at Alt! I feel like we need a project–a really fantastic project, on top of all the other projects. This is going to be a good year.

  13. Melanie

    Well, I lost my shit over meeting YOU, Stefan’s presentation (he took two things that I’m passionate about – positive psychology + typography – and blended them together in a big pile of awesome, seeing my friends and talking about all of the stuff we want to do, Jasmine Star AGAIN (I saw her speak last year and fell in love), and some great advice from Jenny Komenda, Erin Loechner, Helen Jane Hearn, + Susan Peterson. Those were definitely the highlights. 🙂 xo

  14. You are a riot! And the food sprinkle thing would explain a WHOLE lot. I adored meeting you! And apparently Stefan was kissing a lot of girls because I may have one of him my own instagram feed!

  15. Sad I missed out. Glad you had a great time though!!! xo

  16. Sorry to hear about the poo issues, but very glad to hear you had a good time!

  17. car

    Where did you buy the scarf you are wearing in picture #2? Thanks!

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