In the Trenches of a Two Night Stand

On September 24th and 25th I had the pleasure of taking part in the first Two Night Stand Event (Visit). I came across this event a couple months ago on Kel Knaga’s facebook wall. I clicked on the link, scanned the site and said what the heck, I’ll sign up. The event is invite only and only 20 creatives were chosen. To my surprise a few weeks ago I received an email stating that I had been selected. I was super excited for the chance at being able to hang out with some amazing talent, create some collateral for a “mystery” client and to just get out and be in community again.

Friday night was a meet and greet with the creatives as well as the client brief. We were told that it was an indie beer company and nothing else. I got settled in and posted up against the wall with a cold Old Style (an event sponsor) and some good conversation the night was starting off great. The space that hosted the event was called Coop. A collaborative working space where freelancers can rent space by the day, week, or month. A cool concept that we have touched on here on NWIcreative. The events’ client was Trencherman’s, a small batch brewing company made up of two down to earth “real” guys. They gave us a background on the company and we tasted their amazing beer. They left and the 20 of us got down to business with a large group brainstorm. The Quite Strong girls took control as the group tried to workout some details. Everyone had great idea’s, some got put on the board some got shot down. With this much talent in the room I thought the lid was going to come off. Just before things got out of hand, we broke up into 3 groups. It was up to the participants to dictate the structure of the night and the event as a whole. My experience with trying to organize creatives, my optimistic meter was running low.  But by the end of the night we did it, each group was off to a good start of creating it’s each own separate brand and strategy. Night one in the books, many beers later and a long ride home, I was back in the city before my head could recover.

Saturday came with a new set of challenges. Our team, (@teammomjeans) staggered in and got to work. As a group we had the vision of what we wanted to do from the night before, and now it was all about deliverables. The logo was the first beast to be handled. Creating a logo in an hour from start to finish isn’t ideal but  when you have beer and bagels for breakfast things start to look up. The team worked on logos then narrowed it down to one, designed by Aaron Maurer.

From there I worked on the labels for the bottles, rock star student Ammiel Mendoza worked up an icon set that we would use on the packaging. And our ring leader and organizer Nick Terry worked on research and development. We cranked out work all day and time flew and before you know it I was mocking up the bottles and putting the presentation together. The end of the night came and each group worked out some amazing solutions. The Trencherman’s came back and Aaron pitched them our ideas. Each team went in a Celebrity Apprentice style finish and our presentation even had a Kanye West like interruption. Each team pulled through and the clients were more than impressed. I was impressed as well. As a group we came up with two functional websites, three strong logo, labels and brand identities and even a strong marketing/promotional program.

After the event I interviewed the event organizer and creative Jason Schwartz.

Jason at a glance… Follow Jason on Twitter @jaycrimes
Currently: Principle at Bright Bright Great @bbgchicago
Experience: App development, UI/UX, branding, coding, industrial design, interaction, print, social media, strategy, web
Education: BFA University of Illinois, 1997-2001 Industrial Design MFA University of Kansas, 2002-2004 Design Education
Loves: Form + functionality, Garbage Pail Kids, getting involved, horror movies, insanely organized + synthesized data, scalability, t-shirts, user study, vinyl toys and web trends.

#1 How did 2 Night Stand get started?
2 Night Stand (@twonightstand) sprung from attending all the other creative get-togethers in Chicago, seeing the same creatives at every event and always walking away with everyone always saying “Oh man, we should totally work together sometime.”  This event is the lightweight platform I created (2 nights, no commitment) to have the opportunity to bring all of those people together to work collaboratively, as well as with other creatives who were interested, and looking for a creative experience.

Bright Bright Great (@bbgchicago) started discussing the details of 2NS around March. Bryant Hughes (The Good Lab) jumped on board in April and after hours upon hours of web/ideation/discussion Event 1 was born around June.

#2 How did you pick the client?
This is a touchy subject.

The concept of a “client” has seen many rounds of discussion. So the first thought it always… why would I want to work for free for a client? Even though the entire 2 Night Stand event is about the weekends worth of collaboration with creatives, we continue to return to the question of client over and over.
We hit many different options in discussion, non-profits, imaginary clients, lofty clients that are not involved, but whom we create for anyway. We try to figure out what is the best solution that works for participants as well as for the event and it seems that everyone has a different perspective on what is best.

Trencherman’s Beer Co. (the first event client, {facebook wall}) have been friends of mine for almost 10 years. I knew Josh and Jason from back when Josh was still brewing beer under the name Flounder’s Finest (in which I designed labels) and which also took a few home brew ribbons in tasting contests.

Trencherman’s has been brewing small batch craft beers since January 2010 and are in dyer need of some creative love. Their beers are excellent and I wanted to help them spice things up. Beer as a subject matter hits close to home, especially with creatives in Chicago, so I knew small batch beer and a creative weekend worked hand-in-hand. Old Style beer was also a sponsor of this event, so we went all out on beer.

In fact, a never-ending unlimited amount of beer was supplied. (pic)

#3 How Did You Pick The Participants
This event was our first stab at 2 Night Stand and we considered it our “friends and family” weekend. I would say that I knew (from one place or another) 60% of the participants. We allowed everyone to sign up online on our website ( and we selected from there. We had more sign-ups than slots, so not everyone was able to participate in the first event. We had a lot of interest from New York City, so we are looking forward to some satellite cities for our second event.

People can already sign-up on our site for the second event. If you want go check out and sign-up. The next event will be in Jan/Feb.

#4 What are your overall feelings on how the event turned out

I am really excited as to how the event turned out. This was our first event and we had no idea what to expect, so pretty much anything that didn’t end in a disaster, or lawsuit was a success.

I was surprised that with no deliverable requirements, all three teams of creatives opted for fairly traditional deliverables. I thought for sure we were going to see some weird experimental deliverables. We did have a few video creatives sign-up, but as we got close had to drop out for work related reasons. As we do additional events, I would love to see some video, or motion people sign-up.
The creative output and collaboration from the weekend was definitely a success. The quality of creative that came from the teams in just a short day of production was actually pretty astounding. All three teams got their game together and presented solid work. No excuses. Shows amazing talent from everyone involved.

#5 What Was The One Thing That Stood Out To You

Hmm, I was actually pretty surprised how well the groups worked together without having any prior engagement beforehand. I was really hoping for an MTV Real World type experience with fights and crying and one guy who thinks he’s a badass, but it was really great to see a group of random creatives jumping in together and doing good work. Go teamwork!

#6 What Are Your Plans For The Future of 2 Night Stand?
We are actually planning to hold these events every 3-4 months, so we are hoping that the future of 2NS means having an event mid-Winter (Jan/Feb). Now that we’ve rocked our first event, we’ve learned a lot from what we expected, needed to do and what the participants expected, so we want to learn from our mistakes/shortcomings to make future events even more fun and interactive.
We also plan to have satellite cities for future events. We had a lot of love from NYC when we posted the site, so possible we will see a Chicago/NYC 2NS battle throwdown for our next event. Keep your eyes peeled for that.

#7 Any last shout outs & thank yous?

For sure we have to thank the participants. This whole event hinges on the fact that there are amazing creatives out there who want to do something, so thanks to all the people who came out and grinded through the first event. We also want to thank Exaclair (Rhodia) for supplying the Rhodia pads and Old Style & Jason Ewers for supplying a never-ending supply of beer. Both donations were huge. We also wanted to thank The Coop Chicago ( for letting us use their space.
To see how the event unfolded, take a peek on the event feed at

Joseph Gonzalez (144 Posts)

NWICreative Editor-In-ChiefI'm also a full-time graphic & web designer for the Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana, Inc. A Freelance designer under the alias, Founder and Co-Chair of the INsight Design Conference.I am passionate about our craft, industry and community. I enjoy the challenges of life and the process of design.