Creatives from around the world gather at third annual DesignThinkers Vancouver
Karin Fong speaking at DesignThinkers Vancouver 2019

Photos by Rick Etkin

Hundreds of creatives from around the globe gathered in Vancouver on May 28 and 29 for the third annual DesignThinkers Conference. Serving as an opportunity for attendees to learn, ponder and network, the Conference explored key topics and questions facing the design industry today.


Day 1 featured talks from Austin Kleon, Karin Fong, Jessica Bellamy, Leland Maschmeyer, Liz Jackson, Yah-Leng Yu and Kit Hinrichs. Presenters discussed an array of engaging topics, such as the importance of taking care of yourself at work, using design to dismantle racism and discrimination and how beauty is an integral part of design.


Jessica Bellamy speaking at DesignThinkers Vancouver



















Austin Kleon speaking at DesignThinkers Vancouver

































At the end of Day 1, Co-Founders Jamie and Lyndon Cormack of Herschel Supply Company were awarded for being named DesignThinkers of the Year for Western Canada in 2019. DesignThinker of the Year is awarded to Canadian chief executives who have incorporated design and design thinking into their organizations to achieve business objectives and drive innovation.


Jamie accepted the Award on-stage, and spoke about the role design plays in their business. "Design is everything to Herschel," he noted. "It permeates every single aspect of the brand."


Jamie Cormack accepting his DesignThinker of the Year Award for Western Canada in 2019




















On-stage interview with Jamie Cormack, Co-Founder of Herschel Supply Co.




















To finish off Day 1, attendees gathered at the Butcher & Bullock for a Delegate Party, complete with food, drink and conversation.


Day 2 featured talks from James Victoire, Sarah Hyndman, Jennifer Vano and Augustus Cook, Jenny Lam and Hillel Cooperman, Eric Snowden, Moira Cullen, Cheryl Heller and Mike Monteiro. Similar to Day 1, speakers provided insight on important industry topics, such as how to build an engaged team, the soft power of design and how designers are responsible for creating a just, ethical society.


Jennifer Vano speaking at DesignThinkers Vancouver



















Sarah Hyndman speaking at DesignThinkers Vancouver






















Attendees were also able to listen to Lightning Talks, which are 10-minute sessions delivered by distinguished Vancouver-based designers. These were interspersed throughout the longer sessions. Lightning Talks were delivered by Dr. Milena Radzikowsa, Supratim Chakraborty, Kim Ridgewell, Hans Thiessen, Jane Vita and Stevie Nguyen.


Dr. Milena Radzikowska\'s Lightning Talk at DesignThinkers Vancouver





















DesignThinkers Vancouver also featured additional programming. Attendees were able to join in on roundtable discussions in the morning and at lunchtime both days, explore the Exhibitor Marketplace, have books signed by various speakers participate in a studio crawl, and attend a screening and panel on Frontiers of Design. 


Roundtable discussion at DesignThinkers Vancouver



















Exhibitor Marketplace at DesignThinkers Vancouver



















Delegates were invited to share their thoughts and ideas on the Conference via Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #rgdDT. A few highlights are:







A big thank you to our Conference partners:


Creative Niche

MET Fine Printers


Western Living Magazine


And thank you to Concrete, our 2019 DesignThinkers Conference design partner, for this year's branding.


Thank you to Rick Etkin for capturing the Conference; view all the photos from DesignThinkers Vancouver 2019 here.


RGD Members will have access to recordings of the talks in the Members Only section once they are uploaded. Click here to learn more about becoming an RGD Member.