Full Story Behind The Design Disruptors Brisbane Premier

My story of how I got the gig organising the Design Disruptors Brisbane Premier at the University of Queensland along with the help of some amazing people.

Have you ever had this urge to do something, then comes along this thought behind your head that tells you.

“Forget about it. Nobody cares.”

But, when you are so passionate for what you are about to do. This other thought pops in.

“Screw it. Let’s do this.”

I went through this thought process when I sent out my email to InVision, expressing my interest for hosting a screening of Design Disruptors in Brisbane.


Back When It All Started

Usual routine — checking emails, sipping on coffee.

Ding-ding! You’ve got mail! Clark from InVision — Weekly Digest.

InVision’s Weekly Digest

Being the curious person I am, I watched the trailer — maybe more times than I’d like to admit. The film is a documentary about the impact and importance of design. A glimpse into the secret world of well-known designers. Debunking the myths of how they decide on design choices that impact the daily lives of billions.

I was so hyped for the film, I told myself — I must watch it. Hoping to find a screening in Brisbane, but there isn’t one.

How is it possible that there is no screening in Brisbane?

Is no one interested in the film?

Out of no where, I had this crazy thought.

What if I bring this film to Brisbane?

At this point, I have not thought about the logistics nor if I have any resources to organise an event. All I wanted to do was to watch the film.

Don’t wait for things to happen and go make them happen.
- Anonymous

This quote does sound cliché but it is true in this case. I didn’t wait for someone to organise a screening in Brisbane. Instead, I wrote an email to one of the producers of the film, Clair.

The Man In Shining Armour

I knew there is one person who would definitely help me on this. Bruce, my managing director at NetEngine. He is always encouraging us in the company to contribute back to the community. Plus, one of our company values being do worthwhile things. I am sure this event will be a great opportunity for myself and the company to reflect our values.

In the end, Bruce didn’t just encourage me to do it, instead he said the company would sponsor the licensing fee of the film. He even got our office marketing champ, Ash to help out.

Being the awesome Ash, she made a few calls and we have The Design Conference, AGDA, and Creative Mornings — Brisbane as event partners to promote the event. Unbelievable.

It’s All About Location

I reached out to one of my lecturers from the University of Queensland, Steve for the location of the screening. He replied, saying the university may be interested. Celebratory dance. I had my eyes on the GHD Auditorium. This virtual tour of the auditorium doesn’t even come close to what you experience when you’re inside.

Interior of UQ’s Advanced Engineering Building

Steve got me in contact with the faculty’s Marketing & Communication Manager, Trent. He loved the idea and scheduled a meeting with Ash and I to talk over the logistics.

I can’t believe this. It is happening.

In case you’re wondering, I have not organised any event before this. Not a clue where to start. I went home that day thinking I need to prepare a sponsor prospectus for the meeting. I didn’t even know what a sponsor prospectus is before this.

Design Disruptors Brisbane Sponsor Prospectus — Draft

We received more than we expected from Trent. We got the GHD auditorium, premium catering, ticket system, and a dedicated AV crew for the event. All covered by the courtesy of the university. Thanks, Trent.

The date is set. Location is booked. Tickets are ready for grabs.

Only piece missing from the puzzle. The film.

Just going through some legal stuff with the film. I won’t lie, I was worried. To get my mind off it, I focused on something else. Something that I enjoy — design.

We Have A Website

I drafted a couple of versions for the event website. I went with a one-pager separated into sections, avoiding the need to navigate to other pages. My approach with the design is to emphasise on the film coming to Brisbane, accompany with the theme of Design Disruptors.

designdisruptors.com.au website draft

I wanted to add some sort interaction onto the website that goes along with the word, disrupt. Thus, the idea of disrupting the word Brisbane — where the word scrambles when you hover over it. Thanks to the help from my colleague, Adam, the Javascript Wiz. We both dedicated our day to develop the website. We even managed to snatch the domain name, designdisruptors.com.au.

designdisruptors.com.au website

How Do You Promote Events These Days?

Social media. Duhh. It would be a pain to produce event ads for each social platform, not to mention printed materials. Here is where Outfit gets to shine, a brand automation platform developed by the team at NetEngine. It is a tool where designers can design a layout, and leave the content to organisers. And organisers can focus on the content without the worry of messing up the designs. Finally, let Outfit deal with the rendering. Speak to Ash if you need a demo, it is pretty neat.

Design Disruptors Brisbane Premier Event Materials

A Week Before The Screening

Pure coincidence. I happen to attend the Product Design Brisbane MeetUp group a week before the screening. It was my first time attending this MeetUp group. I was keen to promote the film screening, so I went. Meeting the hosts of the MeetUp, Luke and Jai, I asked if I could make an announcement at the end of the session. They agreed to it not knowing what I was about to announce. When it was time, Jai and I had a quick chat about my announcement. Guess what. Luke and Jai were going to announce that they are hosting a screening of the film as well.

I was like — dude, no way.

They were at the same stage as I was, waiting for the film. Then Jai said the most amazing thing I can imagine, “Let’s do it together”. Not only Jai helped me out with promoting the event, he also got me in touch with his Creative Director at Josephmark, Alex.

The timing couldn’t be better. I was looking for one more expert to join the expert panel session, and Alex would be excellent. Together with Steve, my lecturer, and Matt, the founder of The Design Conference chairing the panel, it is going to be epic.

Finally. It has arrived.

The missing piece. Seriously, I couldn’t be more grateful for the team at InVision to have send through the film. Everything is in place now.

Only 2 days after sending out the ads — we are up to 291 registers. Add up the MeetUp group registers, we have reached the limit of 350 registers.

It is time for the show, and it went down superbly.

I am going to leave my thoughts of the film for another post. For now, check out some of the tweets for the Design Disruptors Brisbane Premier below:

Reflection Time

From the start, all I wanted to do was to watch the film. However, it has gone past that. There is more to just watching a film. I want to take this opportunity to showoff the great design community in Brisbane. As well as, using this film to deliver the message to our audience what it is to be a designer. It is more than just making things pretty. It is solving problems for humans.

Be fearless, to go all out and to share it with others.

It was an amazing experience for me to do something for what I am passionate at, design — to be fearless, to go all out and to share it with others. The feeling is tremendous when I walked up to the stage. Looking back at the auditorium packed with people who are just as interested in design as I am.

Another thing I learned from this is don’t be afraid to reach out. There are good people out there who are willing and happy to help or just point you to the right direction. If I hadn’t sent that email to Clair, all this wouldn’t have happened. If I hadn’t reached out to Steve, I would never had met Trent, and we wouldn’t have the kickass auditorium. If I were to find any lame excuse to not attend the MeetUp, I wouldn’t have met Luke and Jai. Nor having the chance to invite Alex to chair the panel.

You Are Awesome

Finally, thanks to everyone who have helped me along the way, and supported me in organising the event. Bruce, this wouldn’t have happened without your support. Thanks to Outfit, for sorting out the event materials. Thanks to all the event partners who helped promote the event. A special thanks to the University of Queensland for providing the exceptional catering and the stunning GHD auditorium. Last but not least, thanks to the team at InVision for hooking us up with the film, Design Disruptors.

My utmost gratitude to you all.

Design Disruptors Brisbane Premier Event Partners.

Thank you for reading.

Find this post interesting? Share the love and recommend it.

Any thoughts? Feel free to leave them comments below, tweet at me, send me an email, or flick me a message via my portfolio. Any way you like it. I’d love to hear from you.