DesignThinkers Toronto 2017 inspires creatives to take risks, focus on the 'why' and love what we do
This November, over 1,700 creative professionals gathered in Toronto to hear from industry leaders and explore new perspectives at our 19th DesignThinkers Conference.  


Keynote presentations from Timothy Goodman, Pentagram's Emily Oberman and Mimi Valdes of i am OTHER reminded attendees of the importance of finding your own creative voice, using design to elevate the voices of others and always asking 'why'. 


"All good projects start with 'why'" - Timothy Goodman 


Highlights from Day 1 included a lesson in the art of seduction from Design Army's Pum Lefebure, 'Designing the Invisible' with Nicolas Roope of Poke London, a conversation about the new design economy with Chris Do, 'Field Notes from the Future' with Christian Ervin and a look at the current opportunities for design with R/GA's Mike Rigby. Strategy sessions featured Douglas Davis, Jessie Kawata, Susan Weinschenk, Emily Cohen and Dewey Reid, and Trends conversations were hosted by Jan Chipchase, Blake Howard, Kelli Anderson, Sarah Hyndman and Contrast Foundry's Maria Doreuli and Ekaterina Kochkina. 



Day One closed with a special 'In Conversation' with Scott Dadich and Ralph Gilles, providing commentary and scenes from the popular Netflix series Abstract, with an inside look at the world of automotive design.



On Day Two, Nicholas Blechman took attendees on a virtual tour of The New Yorker, Stephen Gates provided a roadmap to managing an empowered internal creative team and Anne Swan of Siegel+Gale reminded designers to embrace strategic thinking to better keep up with business needs. A presentation from Paul Sahre explored the motivation behind why we design, and Nigel Holmes reminded us that there is a place for humour in our work. Delegates were inspired by the work of Astrid Stavro, Michael Johnson and stories of 'self-loathing' from Bloomberg Businessweek's Rob Vargas, learned from Strategy speakers Reena Merchant, Val Head, Jonathan Ford and enjoyed Trends talks from Robin Honey RGD, Robert Smith RGD and Jeff Greenspan.


“Why am I a graphic designer? It gives me a sense of purpose, a reason to get up in the morning. It gives my life meaning. It’s not a job; it’s who you are.” Paul Sahre 


In addition to the inspirational presentations from the stage, delegates had the chance to connect with exhibitors at our Designer Marketplace, fill up swag bags at our giveaway tables, get books signed by the speakers and mingle at the Delegate Party (complete with photo booth and giant Jenga game). 



This year delegates were also invited to connect through Slack, which provided a platform for sharing resources and connecting with fellow conference-goers. Facebook Live Q&As also gave RGD's followers a chance to interact with speakers Emily Oberman and Pum Lefebure from the DesignThinkers greenroom.


Here are a few highlights from speakers and attendees via the #rgdDT hashtag on Twitter and Instagram:










Click here to view more photos from the event.


RGD Members can access presentation recordings from past conferences by visiting the Members Only section. This year's conference videos will be posted in the next 2-3 weeks. Presentations by Astrid Stavro and Mike Rigby are available to watch now on the RGD Facebook Page.


Thank you to our Event Partners: 

Software Partner: Adobe

Print Partner: Flash Reproductions

Career Development Partner: Creative Niche 

Signage Partner: PCL Graphics Ltd. 

Digital Partner: The Pixel Shop

Design Partner: Rethink

Paper Partner: Rolland Enterprises Ltd. 



Registration is now open for DesignThinkers Vancouver 2018, happening May 29-30.