Debriefing the first design community meetup at NationBuilder HQ

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Back on July 13th, NationBuilder hosted the 2nd-ever Sketch LA event- the official Sketch meetup group for Los Angeles. Sketch is an immensely popular tool among designers of all sorts but the community around it, specifically in L.A., was in need of some cultivation. Geremy from Lingo and Galya from Sketch had the brilliant idea of creating a meetup group for this cultivation - which resulted in 400 members joining even before 2 events were in the history books. An excellent sign. 

It's worth noting that if you don't know much about the L.A. tech community in general - much like any community in L.A. - there is a geographic handicap when it comes to getting people together. Los Angeles is big, it's spread out, and commuting from the westside to the eastside weekday evenings can grind your teeth down to the gums. 

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So when it came to bringing the 2nd iteration of Sketch LA to downtown Los Angeles from Culver City, a 40 minute commute in peak traffic, it took some convincing to let NationBuilder host at its headquarters.

Luckily, a survey indicated at least a 50% split among the initial 400 group members that lived on the westside versus eastside. This gave us a ripe opportunity to show off our lovely, haunted office and dissolve the notion that Los Angeles tech is isolated to Santa Monica. 

For this particular event, we wanted to discuss how the NationBuilder design team uses Marvel within Sketch to generate interactive mockups, as well as our design process in general. Andrew, one of NationBuilder's lead designers, gave an insightful talk on both of these topics and the contrast of designing in a creative agency against a product company. 

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One of the more refreshing things about this meetup, albeit pretty new, is just how inherently helpful the community is. A lot of us have been to meetups where there is a tangible awkwardness and someone always hijacks a Q&A session to digress down a rabbit hole of irrelevance. Not here. The veteran designers and Sketch magicians of the group were quick to contribute and answer questions from those who were new to the software, all while remaining mindful of airtime. 

I was also amazed how thoughtful and genuine the community is. Any blowhardy resume bragging or "you're doing it wrong" attitudes were checked at the door. Instead, conversations often started around a passion for Sketch, then may have drifted into dialogue around how country referendums work or why Eggslut hype is bullshit (true story).

The cultivation is off to an excellent start. The community is blooming and coming together. I'm excited to see where it goes. Now if only we can settle the score on Eggslut hype...

Check out a video of the meetup filmed by Stephen Shirk.

Credit to Aaron Whitmore for the stellar photography.

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