DesignThinkers is the largest Canadian annual design conference hosted by RGD (Registered Graphic Designers). With over 50 guest speakers including Karim Rashid, Frank Chimero and many other industry leaders, DesignThinkers truly lives up to its hype. DesignThinkers 2015 was the 16th annual event, with a record-breaking attendance.
Thursday (November 12th 2015) morning we started the event in the Sony Centre Main Stage for ‘Beauty and Magic’ by James Victore discussing the human development and why good design is good business. After many great talks, meeting new people and chatting with some of our vendors, we decided to check out the networking lunch. This allowed us to hand out our promo posters that we had produced just days before the event. The community was giving us great feedback, as everyone started coming up to us, asking for their own copy. As one side of our poster reads “It always seems impossible until it’s done”, many couldn’t wait to put their copy hanging at their workspace for daily motivation.
After lunch, we made our way downstairs to the Sony Centre Interaction Room, where many panels were hosted. “The Current State of Canadian Graphic Design”, “Client Confidential”, “Hiring Creative & Designers” were the 3 panels to be discussed. These were great because not only were they interesting topics with interaction, they were discussed by many leading designers within the industry.
After an afternoon in the Sony Centre Interaction Room, Thursday was closed with the amazing Karim Rashid’s talk on ‘The Business of Beauty’ in the Sony Centre Main Stage. What made this talk so interesting to us was Karim’s uniqueness in his thought process. Though we were a big fan of his talk, everyone had their own opinions. After the closing talk, RGD invited everyone out to a social Delegate Party at Omni King Edward Hotel where the Karim’s talk debate continued. It seemed to be a hit or miss with everyone. Many were very opinionated on his talk – it seemed that everyone either loved it or wasn’t a fan. Nonetheless, it was a great conversation starter with many new faces, which carried onto meeting new people. We had the opportunity to meet some amazing new contacts, and network with people within the industry.
Again, meeting new people allowed us to hand out more of our posters that was were excited to hand out. Our new friends from Creative Circle couldn’t wait to get a copy of our posters, which led to great conversations.
After a long day one, we are prepared for another successful day. There are many new faces, and many familiar faces. Day 2 was a lot more fluent for everyone, as the attendees understood the event and were comfortable with scheduling and venues. We got some coffee, said good morning to some new friends of ours, and made our way into the first talk from Austin Kleon, ‘How To Steal Like An Artist’. Austin Kleon has a book titled ‘How To Steal Like An Artist’ which happened to be the biggest seller at the onsite Swipe Books booth. His talk and book suggests that most art nowadays is not original. Austin suggests that everyone likes to think their ideas are original, but nothing comes from nowhere. Every idea comes from another idea, which is just remixed and morphed into an artist/scientist/entrepreneur etc., making it their own.
After a couple more talks on the Main Stage, it was lunchtime. We had the opportunity go for lunch with some of the new people we have met from the delegate party on Day 1. We walked up the street to St. Lawrence Market and had some lunch. This is what we really enjoyed about DesignThinkers: the community, the culture, the fact that we had the opportunity to meet new people. DesignThinkers did a great job at ensuring there was ample amount of time to network and be involved within the community.
Because we really enjoyed the panels on Day 1, we couldn’t wait to check out the panels on Day 2. And that is exactly what we did after lunch. ‘Powerful Branding Through Print’ and ‘Design Education & Social Innovation’ were both great talks.
As it was the second last time slot of the event, we figured we’d head back to the Main Stage to get great seats for the closing talk by Frank Chimero. We are very happy we did that, as we had the opportunity to listen to Paddy Harrington RGD on ‘A Field Guide to Creative Adventuring’ where he discusses his new magazine titled ‘Frontier’, a subscription-based magazine that focuses and explores on the risks people take on making something worthwhile and original. In Paddy’s motivational talk, he really stressed on the advantages of taking risks which left many people inspired and open minded. A great opener for the long awaited, highly anticipated Frank Chimero’s talk titled ‘Design is Borderlands’.
Chimero’s talk was one of the more humorous talks as he touched on his viral memes, as he figured out the perfect caption for every New Yorker cartoon. He partnered LinkedIn’s “Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” to all of the New Yorker cartoons, and this exploded all through the interwebs.
Shortly after Frank’s long-applauded talk there was a closing ceremony hosted by RGD and awards were given.
As DesignThinkers 2015 has come to an end, it has definitely lived up to its hype as Canada’s largest design conference. Espress Labs is very happy with the event, and we are very proud to have attended such an amazing event and experience. We sure cannot wait to attend DesignThinkers 2016!