Keynoting St. Louis Design Week ‘22

Justin Dauer
3 min readOct 29, 2022


A couple weeks ago on October 15th I had the opportunity to deliver the closing keynote for St. Louis Design Week. This would mark my last in-person talk for the rest of ’22, while I focus on finishing my 2nd book over the remaining few months of the year (…I’m sticking to that mindset, at least).

Returning to a live program for the first time in a few years (since the pandemic began), St. Louis Design week is a series of events—studio tours, networking events, presentations, workshops, panels—that immerse the local community in all things design.

A picture I took of The Gateway Arch, on an incredibly beautifully Saturday morning

Driving in from Chicago, I was able to spend the day of my talk walking around the city. It’d been about 25 years since I’d last visited, so I had to see the Gateway Arch once again, as well as the local selvedge denim apparel store (hello, Crimson Serpents Outpost). We all have our things, right? :)

In the evening I made my way to astounding The Link Auditorium, designed by renowned architect Theodore Link for the Wednesday Club, the first women’s organization in St. Louis to construct its own home. The character, and history, of the building hits you the moment you step through the doors.

Exterior views of The Link Auditorium

The acoustically perfect auditorium meant there was no need for audio set-up or sound check — something I was initially dubious of, but quite incredible to experience in practice.

About to press play on Keynote and jump in with my mediocre dad jokes

I delivered my talk “Humility: The Designer’s Most Essential Trait.” As much a talk about humility specifically, it’s also about our values (and their identification, and importance toward both personal / professional spheres), always being students of our craft to drive evolution, and ensuring we’re as connected to our design as we are to one another.

I lead with a tale of my own ego of my (design) youth, and how it stunted my (design) growth — stagnation, strained professional relationships, and disconnection from my values were the casualties. It’s an intro with inherent vulnerability — and one of my favorite talks to give.

After a Q&A session that went almost as long as the talk—and it was fantastic—I was able to chat with a handful of those in the audience. Inspiring, engaging dialogues. If you’re local to St. Louis or within distance of attending St. Louis Design week in ’23, I can’t recommend the program—and the organizers behind it—enough.

More information: St. Louis Design Week



Justin Dauer

Designer, author, & speaker. Wrote "In Fulfillment: The Designer's Journey" and "Creative Culture."