• News
  • Vancouver

Design Educators Conference is May 30 in Vancouver

The Design Educators Conference is back in Vancouver on Thursday, May 30, following DesignThinkers Vancouver. Educators from around the world are invited to attend to discuss the future of design education.

Registration is open.

Organized in collaboration with the Vancouver Community College, the 2024 conference theme is Compassion, Creativity and Community.

Presenters include Dori Tunstall, Founder and Lead Executive Director at Dori Tunstall Inc.

Submit a proposal to speak at the event. The deadline to submit is February 26.


If you have questions, email RGD’s Programs Manager, Abdul Omar at [email protected].

  • News
  • Scholarships
  • Vancouver

10 $500 scholarships available for DesignThinkers Vancouver

Apply by Monday, March 4 for one of 10 $500 Scholarships, generously provided by 123wBecoming Design OfficeOK DAVEPendoPSDDB (digital), Pound & GrainResonanceRethinkRoodenburg Design and Will.

The $500 scholarships are available to help cover travel costs and registration to attend the RGD’s DesignThinkers Conference happening in Vancouver on May 28 and 29, 2024.

To apply*, submit a 1-minute video expressing your enthusiasm for DesignThinkers Vancouver and why you want to attend.

*You must be a current Student RGD, Provisional RGD or Junior Affiliate Member to be eligible.

Assessment

Applicants will be assessed on their creativity and passion. Priority will be given to Members who reside 100 km or more away from the location of the conference.

Deadline

Deadline to apply: 11:59 pm PST on Monday, March 4, 2024

Interested in helping support young designers? If you are interested in sponsoring a scholarship, email [email protected].

  • News
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver

Whitman Emorson signs on as Design Partner for 2024

Joining the roster of esteemed firms who have developed branding for the DesignThinkers conferences, Whitman Emorson shares their design process, challenges, inspiration and more for the 2024 branding.

In its 25th year, the 2024 Conferences take place in-person with an option for online streaming in Vancouver on May 28-29 (registration opens Dec 2023) and in Toronto on Nov 7-8 (registration opens May 2024).

Why did you and your team want to take on the 2024 DesignThinkers branding as a project?
We took on the 2024 DesignThinkers branding project because of its significant impact on both the Canadian design community and our personal growth as individuals over the years. We are so lucky to have access to this kind of event so close to home and seeing all the studios who have contributed in the past is inspiring. Creating the conference identity also allows folks to get to know us at Whitman Emorson, our exceptionally talented team, our design philosophy and, of course, engage with the identity we’ve created! Plus, what a cool brief. It’s been freeing to step out of the parameters of our day-to-day and shake up our process to establish the visual identity for 2024.

What has been the most challenging aspect of coming up with the design/concept?
The most challenging part of this project/process has also been the most exciting! It’s a fairly open brief with fewer parameters than we’re used to (in this industry). Instinctually, as designers, we often thrive with structure, guardrails and restrictions. “Freedom within a framework” allows for play while being tethered — to explore, but not too far, to play, but within the sandbox. With the brief for 2024 DesignThinkers, we were challenged by the freedom of possibility and the endless ideas that come with it. Allowing ourselves to lean into a feeling of “anything is possible” was equally challenging as it was exciting.

We were also challenged knowing this visual identity would be viewed by our peers, both locally and internationally. Its reach and scale inspired us to create something that would resonate with the design community and the broader creative community, leading us to question: What is universally true? What will inspire and excite? What will be differentiated and how can we push our ideas/thinking/execution, all while having fun?

What is the source of inspiration for the concept? What research did you undertake?
Our source of inspiration for the concept stemmed from something that felt relevant to the design industry at large — the notion that embarking on any creative project can be initially daunting and overwhelming, often with uncertainty about where to begin, but ultimately, it is a fruitful and fulfilling journey.

Drawing from a range of influences, including surrealism, collages, graphic design tools and devices such as optical illusions, animation and textured layers, we were inspired by being immersed in the creative process ourselves. Our approach involved extensive visual research, employing tools like brainstorms, mind maps and mood boards. Ultimately, we aimed for the concept to capture and celebrate the dreamlike, unpredictable nature of the creative process, inviting attendees to enter into a world of endless discovery.

What has been your team’s design process to tackle this project?
We used this brief as an opportunity to shake things up and explore a new approach — nothing revolutionary but definitely different from our day-to-day. We briefed everyone on our team, including accounts, strategy and interns and conducted a studio-wide brainstorm. The session was inclusive and varied, yielding a wide range of themes and ideas! Designers were then paired up in teams, where each was responsible for coming up with creative directions and visual executions centred on a core idea or theme. We did quite a bit of research and narrowed in on three directions, two of which were shared with the RGD Design Committee. We were closely involved in the decision-making process and ultimately decided on, in our very humble opinion, an identity that we believe (and hope!) will resonate with attendees and speakers alike.

To learn more about sponsoring DesignThinkers, email Michelle Pereira Hampton, RGD’s Director of Communications & Development, at [email protected].

If you would like to submit a proposal to speak at the event, apply here.

General conference inquiries can be sent to Abdul Omar, RGD’s Programs Manager, at [email protected].

  • News
  • Vancouver

Over 600 creatives come together in Vancouver

The attendees learned something new about themselves at the workshops, took inspiration from the stories of the speakers and indulged in some retail therapy at the designer marketplace — there was something for everyone on May 30–31 at the 24th annual DesignThinkers Conference in Vancouver. See conference highlights below.

The conference featured talks by Eleni BeveratouTheresa FitzgeraldDebbie MillmanPum LefebureLiza EnebeisCey AdamsAlex CenterThas Naseemuddeen and workshops by Laurie RosenwaldDominic Ayre RGDDominic PrevostTom FroeseDiana Varma RGD and Mustaali Raj.

Over the two days, attendees participated in roundtable discussions, a campus tour, book signings, sampled offerings from industry suppliers and artisans. Everyone also had an opportunity to engage with each other at a delegate party.

Below we share some takeaways from the presentations: 

“If you get an opportunity to work with someone you love and to do things you love, appreciate it in that moment. I say this because we’re all creatives — we’re difficult to deal with sometimes, we deal with people who are difficult to deal with sometimes — so to all the young ones, be in the moment. Because there is no such thing as the future. Now is the future. Enjoy it.” — Cey Adams, Visual Artist

“We are always looking to be perfect. But for me, the word ‘perfect’ is killing because it means it is almost the end of a project. What I love the most is doubt and I work with doubt all the time. It means that you’re not settled and you want to discover more. Opening up that door is very important for design. Not perfection.” Liza Enebeis, Creative Director & Partner, Studio Dumbar/DEPT®

“We live in uncertain times and it is hard to know what matters. We do have questions about tomorrow. To me, character matters. Every day we can make choices that allow us to shift and grow our awareness, to take better care of ourselves so that we can take better care of each other, growing resilience to adapt to whatever the changes bring is really important. Character matters and it is something you do even if no one is there.” — Theresa Fitzgerald, Ex-Vice President Brand Creative, Sesame Workshop

“When we talk about accessibility [in typography] there are three things to consider. First is legibility, which how fast we recognize a ‘c’ to an ‘o’ or an ‘e’ to an ‘a’. The second is readability — the typesetting, how lengthy the paragraph is, what are the colour combinations between text and background, etc. And lastly likeability, this cannot be measured but as humans we like different things and what we like does define accessibility.” — Eleni Beveratou, Creative Director, Dalton Maag

“Strict regulations can be a designer’s best friend. As designers, we thrive when we are given boundaries and limitations, otherwise we’d be artists. I have always thought of designers as artists who solve problems.” — Matt Webb, Senior Brand Manager (Craft), BZAM Cannabis

“I always tech my team to be a keen observer of emotions. Noticing emotions makes you a better designer. Seeing is one thing, but feeling gives you much deeper connection with the audience.” — Pum Lefebure, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Design Army

“Bringing form to feeling is about creating something tangible from a set of emotions or abstract ideas. In some instances, that tangible form and visual expression has the ability to transcend conventional language to form a deeper sense of connection with the viewer.” — Tom Hingston, Creative Director & Founder, Hingston Studio

Registration for DesignThinkers Toronto on November 2–3 (in-person and streaming) is now open. 

Register now!

  • News
  • Vancouver

Catching up with our event photographer, Connie Tsang

Connie is a Vancouver-based photographer with 10+ years of experience as a full-time freelancer, specializing in events and photojournalism. Connie’s been the person behind the lens for many of our DesignThinkers conferences in Toronto. We caught up with her before she joins us for the first time in Vancouver.

What do you like most about event photography?

It keeps me on my toes, that’s for sure, so there’s rarely a dull moment. Being launched into new situations, where I can be a fly on the wall with groups of people leading me in various directions is really exciting. Most of all, I love natural interactions, and being able to step back and tell the story of a day is a really fun job.

What are your top three must-have items when you’re out on a shoot?

A lens cloth, lip balm, and a running mental map of where the closest water stations/washrooms are.

You’ve photographed DesignThinkers for a number of years (thank you!). What are you looking forward to about DesignThinkers Vancouver?

I’m so happy to be a part of the event again. This will be my first one in Vancouver, so I’m eager to experience the vibe over here! Over the years, I’ve seen some great speakers and met interesting attendees, so if it’s anything similar, I know I’ll have this to look forward to!

See more of Connie’s work on her website and Instagram.

  • News
  • Vancouver

20 questions with DesignThinkers speaker Alex Center

You’re going to be okay. We’re all going to be okay. Stop comparing yourself to other people. Everyone’s story is unique.

- Alex Center

In this rapid-fire interview, RGD President Nicola Hamilton sits down with Alex Center to ask him 20 questions about design, working in the industry and everything in between. See more from Alex when he presents at DesignThinkers Vancouver this May 30–31.

  • News
  • Vancouver

Dominic Prevost talks presenting with confidence while staying true to yourself

“Presenting is an acquired skill, and the only time most creatives get to practice it is in front of a client when the stakes are the highest.”

 

Group Creative Director and design educator Dominic Prevost has created award-winning, fully-integrated campaigns for some of the world’s most notable brands. In advance of his workshop at DesignThinkers Vancouver, we asked him a few questions about delivering presentations, why we fear it so much and the lesson he learned from one of the most memorable pitches of his career.

 

You’re delivering a workshop at the conference called, “Presentation Primer.” Without giving too much away, what can participants expect to learn in your session? 

I’m so excited to give this workshop, I wish I had the whole day to do it. Participants can expect a fast-paced, hands-on session where we’ll go through four unique exercises meant to level up their presentation skills while also staying true to themselves (meaning no one’s going to walk away from my workshop thinking they need to sound like a corporate robot to succeed).

Why do you find creative professionals often struggle with selling, or presenting, their ideas and expertise?  

In Design School, I’d spend hours labouring over kerning and sleepless nights photoshopping my comps within an inch of their lives, because that’s what my instructors cared about. Very little attention (or guidance) was given to the art of the presentation, setting up the insights, outlining the process and doubling down on why your creative solution is the right one for the client.

Not only that, but the creative process itself is very intimate. You’ll either work by yourself or with a small team of like-minded individuals until the idea is ready to be presented to the client. But when presentation time comes, simply describing what’s on the slide just won’t cut it.

Presenting – just like kerning, or copywriting, or Bezier-curving, or front-end developing, or retouching or concepting – is an acquired skill… and the only time most creatives get to practice it is in front of a client when the stakes are the highest! No wonder creatives feel like they’re not good at it. You have to work the muscle, starting with a different mindset.

As someone who’s worked on numerous award-winning projects for high-profile clients, is there a pitch you’ve executed that you’re particularly proud of? What made it special or memorable? 

My most memorable pitches always begin with a team of amazing people who are all committed to creating work we can be proud of, whether we win it or not. One such pitch was over a decade ago during my time at Sid Lee where we were pitching for the Diesel global account.

The process was intense and relentless. Multiple creative teams from both the Paris and Montreal offices came together to create a massive campaign that was funny, weird and forward-thinking (in an Instagram before Instagram kind of way).  We made it to the final round, gave it everything we had… and then months later, Anomaly released Diesel’s iconic ‘Be Stupid’ campaign, which won the Grand Prix at Cannes. So yeah, we may have lost the pitch, but we lost it to the best creative of the year.

I still look at the pitch deck from time to time because it was completely wild, because we almost pulled it off, and also because it brings back fond memories of late nights brainstorming with colleagues who are still dear friends more than a decade later.

You’ve worked in-house and in agencies all over the world. What do you love most about the creative industry in Vancouver?

I love Vancouver. It’s a super interesting city full of momentum and creative opportunities (cool tech startups, lifestyle companies, creative shops with global aspirations) with the same West Coast creative vibe as LA or SF, without the pretenses and a lot more bike lanes. 

What are you most looking forward to about coming to DesignThinkers Vancouver? 

I’m itching to connect with old friends and colleagues as well as meeting new like-minded creatives and leaders. I’m looking forward to being challenged, inspired and going “ooooohhhh” and “ahhhhhhhh.”

 

Dominic’s workshop takes place on May 30 at 3:15 p.m. Pre-register for this workshop when you register for the conference.

  • News
  • Vancouver

Eight DesignThinkers Vancouver scholarships awarded to emerging designers

With the support of our sponsors, the RGD is awarding eight scholarships to emerging designers to attend DesignThinkers Vancouver this May 30–31.

Student RGDs, Junior Affiliates and Provisional RGDs were invited to submit their social good work for an opportunity to win a scholarship to the conference

Sponsors 123w, Hangar 18, Pendo, Pound & Grain, PS&Co, Rethink, Roodenburg Design and Will Creative each provided $500 for each winner to use to cover their costs to attend.

Below, we share their winning work. Click on each project to learn more about it.

Bella Sanchez Student RGD (awarded by Rethink)

Cali Martin Student RGD (awarded by Roodenburg Design)

Christina Tran Student RGD (awarded by PS&Co)

Ellie Kim Student RGD (awarded by Pendo)

Grace Abbey Provisional RGD (awarded by Pound & Grain)

Matteo Ferralasco Student RGD (awarded by 123w)

Melissa (Nhung) Pham Student RGD (awarded by Hangar 18)

Yas Fakhr Provisional RGD (awarded by Will Creative)

heyRGD project

  • News
  • Vancouver

Watch/rent DesignThinkers presentations by women design luminaries

To celebrate International Women’s Day, the RGD has curated a list of leading female creatives who have delivered inspiring presentations at DesignThinkers over the years.

RGD Members can view the presentations for free in the Members-only section of our website.

Non-members are welcome to rent the presentations of their choice for 30 days from the list below at US$7 per talk.

Purchase here. 

Become a Member today to get free access to these and 750+ other presentations from our conference, events, webinars and more. View a list of all presentations available in the RGD video archive.

Ellen Lupton

DTVAN 2018: Design for Sensory Experience

Designers in today’s cross-disciplinary, multimedia world create objects, images and brands that activate all the senses and reach people in emotionally fulfilling ways. In this presentation, Ellen shares ideas and inspiration from her two latest projects, Design Is Storytelling and The Senses: Design Beyond Vision.

Non-members: Rent here

Jessica Bellamy

DTTO 2018: Infographics for Social Change

Learn how to tell visual data stories to inspire policy change and mobilize information at the grassroots level. In this presentation, Jessica explores principles of conscious and responsible design from real-world infographic projects. You will leave with actionable tips and tricks for working with strategies for being an effective and equitable data storyteller, building a mindful and sensitive lens for data evaluation, data framing and message building techniques and more.

Non-members: Rent here

Sarah Hyndman

DTVAN 2019: Type Tasting

Sarah has spent six years creating experiments that explore type and perception and taking her pop-up typography lab to events. Her experiments range from profiling typeface personalities to altering the taste of a jellybean with a font. In this presentation, she talks about her experiments, gives insights into the process and explains how some of her failed experiments have taught her the most.

Non-Members: Rent here

Tina Roth Eisenberg

DTTO 2019: The Unexpected Power of Side Projects

If you’ve ever wondered whether keeping up with a hobby or passion project pays off in the end, Tina’s experience is proof that it can. In this presentation, Tina shares an inspiring look at her creative journey, from turning her personal visual archive into a popular design journal to founding various businesses.

Non-Members: Rent here

Grace Hwang

DT Virtual 2020: Creating Connection: the Power of Design to Bring People Together

In the era of COVID-19 and at a time when isolation and loneliness are two of the biggest contributors to declining health, what can design do to upend this trend? In this presentation, Grace brings her experience and insight from designing for health and well-being and her journey into mixed reality to share the possibilities for design to grow our sense of togetherness.

Non-Members: Rent here

Tina Smith

DT Virtual 2020: Type Driven
Tina Smith often describes her work as type-driven: work that uses type as hero, clearly communicating the essence of a brand or story. But she’s also driven to do typographic work on her own. What does it mean to be type driven, both professionally and personally? Reviewing a range of type-focused projects, in this presentation Tina shows how passion for type and exploration in personal projects manifested in brand identity and editorial work.

Non-Members: Rent here

Lisa Congdon

DT Virtual 2021: How Engaging With the Personal Can Lead to More Aligned Client Work

Lisa’s career has been built on making and sharing work aligned with her personal interests and values and then attracting a client and project list that is tightly connected with those interests and values. In this presentation, Lisa shares her story, explains how personal work can lead to meaningful client projects and offers advice for making and sharing work that can lead to a purpose- and joy-filled career.

Non-Members: Rent here

Jennifer Taback RGD

DT Virtual 2021: Designers as Tools of Reconciliation: Design and research through an Indigenous Lens

As an Indigenous designer and strategist, Jennifer discusses the role designers can play in reconciliation by examining the information they gather, how it is presented and the importance of creating authentic, informed visuals. In this presentation, she explains how to create the bridges required to effectively work in both worlds and how to blend available teachings and tools to create projects that amplify Indigenous voices.

Non-Members: Rent here

Jolene Delisle

DTTO 2021: How to Transition from a Side Business to a Full-Scale Practice

Jolene worked full-time while beginning to build her creative agency, The Working Assembly,… and even grossed over 1M in revenue while still operating it as a side hustle. In this presentation, Jolene shares the highs and lows of taking a fun freelance practice and scaling it to a full-time funded business.

Non-Members: Rent here

Elana Rudick RGD

DTTO 2022: Defying Self Perceptions to Design a Career You Love

You’re here at DesignThinkers. Woah! Feelings of excitement and nervous energy swirl. You’re inspired and trying to soak it all in. Now what? Where do you go from here? How do you break down self-imposed roadblocks to find your path, make your mark and enjoy a sustainable career? In this presentation, drawing from her own journey, through personal stories and interactive exercises, Elana challenges you to discover the next step on your design journey.

Non-Members: Rent here

  • News
  • Vancouver

Asking your boss for time off or a ticket? Use our templates

Step 1: Decide to attend DesignThinkers Vancouver. Step 2: Ask your boss if you can go.

 

If you’re not sure how to ask your employer for the means to attend the conference, we’ve got you covered.

Use our templates to explain to your boss why you want to go, how much it costs and why it’s beneficial for the company if you attend.

Don’t forget these are templates, so change up the wording, delete things, add them — whatever you need to make it work for you.

We hope this helps you spend less time stressing over whether you can attend DesignThinkers, and more time deciding what sessions you’ll go to when that approval email comes in.

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