As creatives we take our inspiration from our daily surroundings, we never really know the next source of insights. The context may differ from human to human, it could be a book, a movie, a deep discussion, an overheard debate that sparks something, or it could be an event, where you face a information tsunami, coming right at you.
Why an event is so great as a source of inspiration and insights? Because there you have it all, books and movie recommendations, meeting new people and deep discussions.
We put together a list of what we believe that are the world’s best design events, with the desire to help you better navigate the large array of them.
If you are a avid event-goer this is the perfect list for you go ahead and start planning your trip if you’re short on funds or just like to plan early for cost optimization. Also, many events offer a free live-stream video or a video archive of the presentations. Often universities, museums, embassies and local bookstores offer free entrance.
In chronological order, 2018’s top design events, conferences, festivals and fairs worldwide:
Maison & Objet Design Show— Paris — January 19–23, 2018
MAISON&OBJET PARIS now offers a clearer perspective of three main areas: MAISON and its wide range of interior decoration, organised into different worlds; OBJET, the show’s concept store, ideal for retailers; and finally INFLUENCES and its unique itinerary. A new offer that has been created to facilitate communication and the unearthing of new products.
DLD — DigitalLifeDesign — Münich — January 20–22, 2018
DLD stands for Digital, Life, Design and explores how the digital age fundamentally changes our life, society and business.
Creative Mornings Events— Worldwide — Jan 6 through Dec 30
CreativeMornings is a worldwide monthly breakfast lecture series for the creative community. Currently hosting design events in 130 cities in 55 countries around the world.
IxDA18 Conference— Lyon — February 3–8, 2018
Each year the conference lives in a different city, with a different culture and a different organization team. IxDA is a worldwide member-supported organization with over 10 years of history, 173 local groups and 80,000 members.
VFX Festival — London — February 6–8, 2018
Over three jam-packed days they will present the most dynamic and enterprising films, games and animations of the past year. The festival assembles industry leaders through a range of talks, workshops, panels and interactive exhibition spaces. Get tips from leading industry studios Framestore, The Mill, REWIND, Escape Studios, Blue Zoo and Cinesite. Learn about gaming, VR, animation, motion graphics and many more.
Smashing Design Conference — London — February 7–8, 2018
Brand new conference fully dedicated to all things web performance. Dealing with ads, third-party scripts, A/B testing, HTTP/2, debugging, JAM stack, PWA, web fonts loading, memory/CPU perf, service workers.
Design Indaba Festival — Cape Town — February 21–24, 2018
Every year the Design Indaba Festival curates a pioneering programme of speakers, music artists, film and design exhibitions, showcasing the best of the global and African creative industries.
Offgrid Conference— New Zealand & Australia — February 22–27, 2018
Off Grid 18 is a different kind of design conference. We invite you to travel, explore, and discover the Experiential City through a series of curated talks, events and experiences in diverse locations around Wellington, New Zealand, with stopover events in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.
SXSW Design — Austin, Texas — March 9–13, 2018
Explore how design and design-thinking shapes the way we interact with technology and our world with Design sessions like Arts at CERN: When Art Meets Science, Cross-Cultural, Multilingual, and Localized Design, and Limitless Creativity: How to Design in an AI World, and more.
TEI Conference— Stockholm — March 18–21, 2018
TEI 2018 is the 12th annual conference dedicated to presenting the latest results in tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction. This year the theme of the conference is Post-digital Design. In the early days of TEI, a common assumption was that our physical mundane reality could be augmented by sprinkling it with the magic of digital technology. Over the last decade there is less mystery to the realm of digital technologies as the digital have become the mundane, inseparable from our everyday routines.
OFFSET Design Conference— Dublin — March 23–25, 2018
With over 2,500 attendees each year, Offset has fast become one of the world’s most inspirational, educational and vocational conferences for the design and creative industries. Since 2009, from their Dublin base, they have attracted such creative icons as Massimo Vignelli, Sir Peter Blake, Paula Scher, David Carson, Milton Glaser, Kyle Cooper, Stefan Sagmeister, Micheal Bierut, Shepard Fairey, Tomi Ungerer, JR, Lance Wyman, George Lois and Louise Fili to grace their wonderful stages.
IDSA Medical Design: EXPERIENCE — Boston — March 29, 2018
The event will explore the potency of researching and designing healthcare products and environments that weld human performance, business and the dignity of users. he timing couldn’t better as this fourth IDSA Medical Design Conference follows the HFES International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care, which will be held March 26–28, also at the Boston Marriott Copley Place.
IDSA South Conference — North Carolina State University — March 23–24, 2018
An Event Apart — Seattle — April 2–4, 2018
An Event Apart Seattle: Special Edition is a three-day conference with 18 sessions and an intense focus on digital design, UX, content, code, and more.
TED — Vancouver — April 10–14, 2018
They say: TED2018 will be an event not to be missed! We believe them.
IDSA Northeast Conference — Rochester Institute Of Technology — April 13–14, 2018
Smashing Design Conference — San Francisco, CA — April 17–18, 2018
Featuring front-end ingredients, UX recipes and nothing but practical beats from the hidden corners of the web. Only practical, real-life techniques and recipes you can learn from and apply in your job straight away!
Salone Del Mobile — Milano — April 17–22, 2018
The Salone Internazionale del Mobile was founded in 1961 as a vehicle for promoting Italian furniture and furnishings exports and soon became the most keenly awaited event in the world of furniture.
IDSA Central Conference — Columbus College of Art & Design — April 27–28, 2018
EAD Conference | Design For Next— Rome — April TBD, 2018
The 12th EAD Conference is hosted by Sapienza University of Rome in Italy, and it will foster discussion among designers, academics and experts about the articulated scenario of contemporary design and its perspectives, with intent to nurture diversity and interdisciplinary.
Pictoplasma Conference— Berlin — May 2–6, 2018
Since its inception in 2004, the annual Pictoplasma Berlin Conference & Festival has established itself as the main meeting point for an international audience of visual creators and producers. The event is an unconventional design conference, a forward looking animation film festival, a communal playground for collaborative creation, a surprising tour of gallery exhibitions — and is all about the fun of encountering like minded people.
99U Conference— New York City — May 9–11, 2018
The 99U Conference is a one-of-a-kind live experience that inspires creative professionals to bring their ideas to life and shape the future of the industry.
TYPO — Berlin — May 17–19, 2018
TYPO Berlin will be about the practise of change, about scenarios, about heroes and evaluation. It will be about big data and personal data. And the digital home. Do we really want one? The transparent consumer has long since become a reality. But some consumers have already begun covering their digital tracks.
By Design — Bratislava — May TBD, 2018
Central Europe's out of the box design and entrepreneurship conference wants to to create a network between designers in Slovakia, Austria, Hungary and Czech Republic.
RGD Design Thinkers — Vancouver — May 29–30, 2018
For 18 years, the Association of Registered Graphic Designers has hosted the annual DesignThinkers Conference. Their mission is to gather diverse perspectives to explore the processes of design and creativity.
IDSA Women+Design Summit — San Diego — May TBD, 2018
This new event, has focus on the unique challenges and accomplishments of women in design by learning from other fields and offer an opportunity to network, collaborate, learn, grow and share together.
What Design Can Do — Amsterdam— May TBD, 2018
What Design Can Do (WDCD) was initiated in 2011 as a platform to showcase design as a catalyst of change and as a way of addressing the societal questions of our time.
NeoCon — Chicago — June 11–13, 2018
Held from June 11–13 at The Mart in Chicago, NeoCon has evolved into one of the most recognised and attended trade shows in the industry and this year will be no exception. With the help of our Advisory Council, the show has remained focused on being at the forefront of changing commercial design and business trends.
An Event Apart — Boston — June 25–27, 2018
An Event Apart Boston is two days of sessions from 12 speakers with intense focus on digital design, UX, content, code, and more. Following the two-day conference comes a full day, A Day Apart, with a single speaker diving deeply into one important topic.
Smashing Design Conference — Toronto — June 26–27, 2018
What’s the best way to learn? By observing designers and developers working live. For their new conference in Toronto, all speakers aren’t allowed to use any slides at all. Welcome SmashingConf #noslides, a brand new conference in Toronto, full of interactive live sessions, showing how web designers design and how web developers build — including setup, workflow, design thinking, naming conventions and everything in-between.
Cities for Tomorrow — New York — July 10–11, 2018
On July 10–11, The New York Times will convene the world’s foremost industry experts, policymakers, developers, creative visionaries, entrepreneurs and others at Cities for Tomorrow, the must-attend event for leaders who are shaping the urban environments of the future.
An Event Apart — Washington — July 30-August 1, 2018
An Event Apart Washington DC: Special Edition is a three-day conference with 18 sessions and an intense focus on digital design, UX, content, code, and more.
IDSA International Design Conference — Atlanta — August TBD, 2018
D is among a handful of disciplines that really, really values and strives to improve the human condition. Not just intrinsic value — but fundamental, instrumental value. Whatever the world throws at us — digitization, electrification, sensorification, autonomy or connectivity — industrial designers surmount barriers, leveraging them as elements. We make “design at scale.”
An Event Apart — Chicago — August 27–29, 2018
An Event Apart Chicago is two days of sessions from 12 speakers with intense focus on digital design, UX, content, code, and more. Following the two-day conference comes a full day, A Day Apart, with a single speaker diving deeply into one important topic.
Brand New Conference — New York — September 13–14, 2018
The Brand New Conference is a two-day event organized by UnderConsideration, focusing on the practice of corporate and brand identity. The conference consists of eight sessions each day offering a broad range of points of view with speakers from around the world practicing in different environments, from global consultancies, to in-house groups, to small firms.
London Design Festival — London — September 15–23, 2018.
London Design Festival is an annual event, held to celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world and as the gateway to the international creative community.
The Big Draw Festival — Worldwide — October 1–31, 2018
The Big Draw Festival is for anyone who loves to draw, as well as those who think they can’t! It’s an opportunity to join a global community in celebration of the universal language of drawing.
Every year, thousands of enjoyable and experimental drawing activities connect people of all ages with schools, galleries, museums, libraries, heritage sites, village halls, refugee organisations, outdoor spaces — all-sorts of places — artists, scientists, designers, illustrators, inventors and each other.
An Event Apart — Orlando, Florida — October 8–10, 2018
An Event Apart Orlando: Special Edition is a three-day conference with 18 sessions and an intense focus on digital design, UX, content, code, and more.
AIGA Design Conf — Minneapolis, Minnesota — October TBD, 2018
Hosted annually by AIGA, the professional association for design, as a means of connecting the design community through rich conversation, inspiration, networking and education.
2017’s conference theme was, “connect,” because we’re all in search of meaningful connections to the work we do — and ultimately, to each other. Connection happens when we employ empathy in our work, when we include the stories and perspectives of others, and when we come together to move our professions and humanity forward.
MAX Adobe — Los Angeles, California — October 15–17, 2018
Come to MAX to rejuvenate your work, your process, and your own creative journey. MAX is the perfect blend of information and inspiration, practical knowledge and creative magic.
World Design Summit — Montreal, Canada — October TBD, 2018
All Congress sessions are designed to intersect, encouraging the sharing of knowledge between 6 disciplines: architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, landscape architecture and urban planning.
VIEW — Turin, Italy — October TBD, 2018
VIEW Conference is the premiere international event in Italy on Computer Graphics, Interactive Techniques, Digital Cinema, 2D/3D Animation, VR and AR, Gaming and VFX.
AA XX 100 — London, UK — November TBD, 2018
An international conference convened by the Architectural Association and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art with a rich programme of presentations, panel discussions, distinguished keynotes, and an open jury to celebrate the centenary of women at the AA.
AA XX 100 is the project to commemorate the centenary of women’s admission to the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London in 1917. To date it has comprised a raft of complementary enterprises including an annual lecture series and an ongoing programme to conduct filmed interviews with AA alumnae.
The London Illustration Fair — London, UK — December 1–3, 2017
The London Illustration Fair is an annual, artist-led illustration, print and graphic design fair, bringing artists and buyers together in a unique environment. The fair offers the chance for illustration lovers to come face to face with their favourite artists and discover amazing new artwork from emerging illustrators. There is something for every pocket from exclusive original pieces to prints and gifts for under ten pounds.
An Event Apart — San Francisco, California — December 10–12, 2018
An Event Apart San Francisco is two days of sessions from 12 speakers with intense focus on digital design, UX, content, code, and more. Following the two-day conference comes a full day, A Day Apart, with a single speaker diving deeply into one important topic.
An Event Apart — Denver, Colorado — December 11–13, 2017
An Event Apart Denver: Special Edition is three days of intense focus on digital design, UX, and more. The Denver show is sold out, but you can look into the above mentioned AnEventApart upcoming events.
We hope this offers you a wide perspective of the upcoming world design events.