tips January 23, 2020

15 Annual design conferences: where to be and what to expect

What better way to start the year than to plan ahead for all the design conferences to come?
Events like these are a great opportunity to learn new skills and to connect with other designers. Especially if you are a freelancer – like me – or if you’re the only designer in your workplace, it feels a bit lonely after some time. 
For that reason, it’s good to be with people that share that same passion and perhaps to make new friends and be aware of opportunities.
Plus, if you’re planning on traveling more this year, why not combine both things?

Below are 15 suggestions for design conferences that can lead you to a new destination in more ways than one.

Digital Thinkers Conference by Awwwards

Awwwards is one of the most known websites by designers, especially those that work for web and digital areas.
Each year, they decide on a new city to host a conference regarding design trends, new technologies, and pretty much everything internet related.
This time, they’re taking it to Tokyo. 
From the 23rd to the 24th of January, there will be a handful of great speakers and workshops to attend.
But even if you’re not ready to go to Tokyo just yet, at least check out their website. It’s pretty cool.

Interaction Design Education Summit 

I was very surprised when I found out about this conference.
It’s dedicated to those that teach interaction design and want to learn or practice new teaching approaches. 
I’m not a teacher, but this a very good excuse to spend two days (2-3 February) in Milan.

Interaction Week 2020

Also taking place in Milan, between the 2sd and the 7th of February, this even isn’t, as it might seem, about UI.
It’s about the broader definition of interaction. The basic principle that for design to work, users need to interact with it. So instead of focusing on a specific area of design, it’s based on what makes good design good, regardless of the medium.

UX Copenhagen

Mark the last two days of March on your calendar and buy a plane ticket to Copenhagen.
This year’s topic is the Influence and Design for Good. There will be more than twenty speakers, workshops, networking, and, for sure, a lot of new insights on UX.

AIGA Design Conference

This is one of those design conferences that don’t require much convincing. AIGA is one of the biggest design institutes in the world and always delivers great content and quality.
During two days (30 March-1 April), in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, you can hear some of the design masters.
Names such as Giorgia Lupi, Roman Mars, and Gene Lee, are on the speakers’ list, just to mention a few.


Dublin hasn’t been the same since Offset.
From students to companies, there’s something for everyone at this design conference.
The organization promises three days packed with talks, workshops, parties, and even a bag of goodies (who doesn’t love a bag those?)

Health Experience Design Conference 

As you’ve probably guessed, this is a conference that focuses on those who work to improve the health sector.
From 14th to 15th of April, The Royal Sonesta Boston, in Cambridge, will be filled with people that want to join forces to create a better experience for patients and practitioners.

Pixel Up! 

By designers for designers
This is the first conference that focuses on user experience, taking place in Cape Town, Africa.
Between the 4th and 6th of May, professionals from all over the world will gather to learn and connect.


This conference will happen around the same time as Pixel Up! but will last another full day.
It’s the second from this list happening in Boston, and one of the most attended in America.
Their statement tells you everything about the eventWe believe that design is powerful, inclusive and can change the world. We bring together some of the most remarkable design thinkers of our time and innovative design leaders to inspire and educate our community of makers, thinkers, and creators. Enough said.

Birmingham Design Festival

I’ve been wanting to go since I discover this festival (still not sure if I can make it this year but fingers crossed).
In the third year of the conference, the format will be different and, for the first time, there’s a theme: Color.
The first day, the 5th of June is dedicated to workshops, while the second one, the 6th, is a day full of conferences.
Both students and professionals can attend, since the tickets vary in price, accordingly.

By Design Conference

BD! is a conference, not only for designers but to everyone that works in the creative fields.
Happening on June 6th, in Slovakia, it will be full of interesting speakers such as Kenya Hara, and Stefan Sagmeister.

Future of Branding Week 

If you’re into brand strategy this design conference will be your jam.
From 22sd to the 26th of June, there will be talks, round tables, mini-workshops, and studio visits. You will learn how to increase brand value, new technologies involved in branding, and so much more.

London Design Festival 

This is a festival that pays homage to the city where it takes place.
In the third week of September, several places in London will be showcasing projects that enhance, stimulate, and question the viewers.
Product designers and architectures shouldn’t pass this opportunity to see some amazing installations.

Adobe Max

Probably the most sought-out conference on this list.
It’s not only important to see what will come next from Adobe Softwares, but also to experience everything else. Huge opportunities to network and share experiences with other like-minded professionals.
Cross October 19th to 21st on your calendar and book a trip to LA so you can experience three intense design days.

Design Manchester

By the end of the year, in November (12-22), Manchester will be the stage for another great design event.
Twelve days stuffed with conferences, exhibitions, movies, and parties across multiple venues. 
Ran by a nonprofit organization, Design Manchester is now on its 7th edition and keeps getting bigger and more diversified.

Sum up

Although I suggest the previous design conferences, there are many more happening this year in America and all across Europe and most likely in your own town. Check them out and let me know if you end up following my suggestions or if I missed another one that you know about.

About Melted

Melted was born in 2017. 
Back then, I was facing some hard time regarding my profession (or lack of), but I wanted to push forward and inspire others to do the same.
So I put my fears aside, and several huge cups of coffee later, this project was online.

Read the full story

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