DesignThinkers Toronto 2019


DesignThinkers, Canada’s premier conference for visual communicators, is a must attend for any informed, forward-thinking creative, communications or marketing professional or team. The inspiring event, now in its 20th year, breeds change agents who become drivers of innovation. Sessions teach delegates how to create effective communications by exploring cutting-edge innovation, the latest technology, demographic and ethnographic trends, strategic management techniques, cognitive theory and much more.


DesignThinkers Toronto 2019

Date: October 24 & 25, 2019

Location: Sony Centre for the Performing Arts


Early Bird Pricing for the Conference ends October 7, 2019!


Confirmed Speakers

  • Nick DenBoer

    Nick DenBoer

    Video Artist

    Nick is a video artist who has developed a unique brand of VFX comedy, combining video remix and animation techniques to create surreal and often absurd videos. Nick honed his skills working as a writer and bit creator for Conan O’Brien producing and remixing popular culture segments for the show. His groundbreaking short film “The Chickening” (a poultry-infused remix of Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”) graced the screens of TIFF and Sundance. Nick’s unmistakable style has found a home in many productions. He has directed and produced ads for Old Spice and KFC, music videos and tour visuals for deadmau5 & Flying Lotus, countless TV shows, films, web and VR projects. Nick has carved out a career through remixing and repurposing existing footage to produce new and sometimes ridiculous creations.


    Sponsored by Z by HP

    Z by HP logo

  • Perrin Drumm

    Perrin Drumm

    Founder and Director of Eye on Design
    Perrin Drumm is the founder + director of Eye on Design, a site and award-winning magazine that publishes stories about the world’s most exciting designers, and the issues they care about. Eye on Design’s global, women-run team works with partners to conduct deep original design research and run initiatives that advocate for the rights of working creative professionals. Perrin is a writer and editor with an MFA in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has held editorial positions at Conde Nast, The Sundance Channel, Adobe, TED, The Paris Review, and The Architect’s Newspaper. Her writing has appeared in New York Magazine, Interview, Art Forum, Art in America, Frieze, and Print, among others. She is currently working on a book about sound.
  • Greg Durrell is a partner at Hulse & Durrell, a Vancouver-based design firm that develops brands, products and films for ambitious organizations that want to make a lasting impact. Durrell and his partner Ben Hulse began working together in 2007 on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Games design team, and went on to lead a comprehensive rebrand of the Canadian Olympic Team in 2011. Between 2012-2018, Durrell directed and produced a feature-length documentary called Design Canada, documenting how 1960s graphic design shaped the identity of a nation. Following a sold-out show (650 people) at the Hot Docs theatre in Toronto, the film toured over 50 cities including New York, Los Angeles, Moscow and Zurich. Design Canada debuted at #1 on iTunes Documentaries in January 2019.
  • Studio Dumbar (part of Dept) is an award winning international agency with a Dutch heritage, specialising in visual branding.

    Liza is directly involved with all main projects such as the visual identity for the Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, NGO Alzheimer Nederland and Transavia airlines. She is an MA Design graduate from the Royal College of Art, London. Before joining Studio Dumbar she worked for Pentagram London for several years. Liza gives lectures and workshops around the world and is regularly invited as a jury member. As of 2018 she has been elected member into the prestigious design association AGI, Alliance Graphique Internationale.

    Merijn is involved in the complete design process, from strategy to implementation and guiding other designers in the team. Some of his most noted projects are the visual identities for Big Mile, the Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis and The National Museum of Antiquities. Merijn holds a bachelor of Arts from the Willem de Kooning Academy and a bachelor in Communication from Hogeschool InHolland. Besides working at Studio Dumbar Merijn is co-owner of technolabel Float Records.
  • Verònica Fuerte

    Verònica Fuerte

    Founder & Creative Director of Hey Studio
    Verònica Fuerte is a designer and illustrator from Barcelona. After earning a degree in Graphic Design from ELISAVA and a MA in Typeface Design from EINA she worked for several design studios in Barcelona. In 2007 she founded her own studio, Hey, which has grown steadily since. She received the ADC Young Guns 7 award and her work has appeared in prestigious media such as It’s nice that, DesignBoom, Communication Arts and AIGA. Verònica also teaches in several different universities in Barcelona and frequently speaks at international conferences.
  • Maria Giudice

    Maria Giudice

    CEO & Founder of Hot Studio
    Innovator, artist, protagonist, activist, and positive provocateur, Maria has pursued a vision of intelligent, elegant, people-centered design throughout her professional life. Her grasp of the pragmatic, the authentic, and the essential have kept her at the forefront of design and business for over 30 years. Under Maria’s leadership, Hot Studio, the award-winning experience design firm she founded in 1997, grew into a full-service creative agency with an impressive list of Fortune 500 clients. In 2013, Facebook acquired the talent behind Hot Studio, where Maria worked as a Director of Product Design.

    From 2015 to 2017, Maria led a global team of designers as Autodesk’s first VP of Experience Design. Notable awards and recognition for Hot Studio include a nomination for the National Design Award. In 2012 Maria was recognized as an AIGA Design Fellow for making significant contributions in the design community and by raising the standards of excellence in practice. Maria’s third book, Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design, is available in several languages. She speaks at conferences all over the world. Today, Maria consults with individuals and organizations who wish to grow and expand their design practices. Maria serves on several Boards and is a Trustee at California College of the Arts. Maria is a mom to two amazing teenagers, and in her spare time, can marry people as an ordained Minister for the Universal Life Church.

  • Sagi Haviv is a partner and designer at Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, the firm responsible for many of the most famous logos of all time, including those for Mobil Oil, Chase bank, PBS, NBC, Showtime Networks, NYU, National Geographic, and Barneys New York. The firm most recently designed the new logo for Animal Planet.

    Among the over 60 identity programs he has designed are the logos for the US Open Tennis Championships, Leonard Bernstein at 100, Harvard University Press, Conservation International, and LA Reid’s Hitco Entertainment.

    Sagi joined the firm in 2003 after graduating from The Cooper Union School of Art. He is a go-to expert on the process of effective logo design for Bloomberg Businessweek, PBS, Fast Company, and NBC’s Meet The Press. He speaks about logo design around the world, including for TEDx, the AIGA, the HOW Design Conference, the Brand New Conference, Princeton University, the Onassis Foundation, the American Advertising Federation, and Columbia Business School, amongst many others. He teaches Visual Identity Design at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

    Sagi is coauthor of Identify: Basic Principles of Identity Design in the Iconic Trademarks of Chermayeff & Geismar (Print Publishers, 2011) and Identity: Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv (Standards Manual, May, 2018).

  • Blake Howard

    Blake Howard

    Co-founder and Creative Director at Matchstic


    Blake Howard is Co-Founder and Creative Director at Matchstic, an Atlanta-based brand identity firm.

    Born and raised in Nashville, Blake graduated from University of Tennessee with a degree in graphic design and then set out for Atlanta to pursue opportunity in the big city of the South. At 22, he did just that, starting a design firm on the principles of doing great work and valuing people, too. With Craig Johnson, he co-founded Matchstic in 2003. Since then, Blake has led teams through hundreds of brand initiatives across the globe, for organizations including Coca-Cola, Chick-fil-A, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, MailChimp, the City of Atlanta and the Center for Disease Control, Blake’s work has appeared in Fast Company, HOW, Print, The Atlantic’s CityLab, UnderConsideration’s Brand New blog, and the fourth and fifth editions of Alina Wheeler’s Designing Brand Identity. He’s spoken on branding, leadership and courage across North America and recently launched The Creative Rising, a podcast on tenacity and resilience in the creative industry. A believer in all things Atlanta and the creative community, Blake organizes the Atlanta chapter of CreativeMornings, a free breakfast lecture series that has accumulated close to 15,000 members and gathers more than 400 attendees each month.


  • Award winning designers Nicole and Noreen are co-leading a 100+person design team at global creative agency Wieden+Kennedy in Portland, overseeing client projects, creative direction and business development for the growing design studio, working with brands such as Nike, Samsung, KFC, Airbnb, Coca-Cola, Converse, Participant Media and HP Omen. Before relocating to Portland from Los Angeles, Nicole has been running her own design agency NJ(L.A.). She began her career at The Designers Republic before joining New York’s karlssonwilker. As Chief Creative Officer at Tatcha, Noreen was managing both the designers and teams across products for the US, China and Japan markets. Before Tatcha, she was Co-Founder and Partner of AdamsMorioka for 25 years—leading re-branding of Nickelodeon, VH1, Sundance and The Academy of Motion, Picture Arts and Sciences.
  • Natasha is an award-winning designer, an educator, and a partner at Pentagram. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, she joined Pentagram’s New York office in 2012.

    A three-time National Design Award nominee, Natasha’s work is recognized for its innovative use of graphic, verbal, digital, and spatial interventions that challenge conventional notions of media and cultural contexts. Her work is immediately recognizable, encompassing brand identity systems, packaging, exhibition design, digital interfaces, signage and wayfinding systems, print and architecture.

    Natasha is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts and is a guest critic at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Yale University School of Art, Cooper Union, Rhode Island School of Design, and Maryland Institute College of Art.
  • Adam J. Kurtz

    Adam J. Kurtz

    Artist & Author
    Adam J. Kurtz (aka ADAMJK) is an artist and author whose illustrative work is rooted in honesty, humor and a little darkness. His books including 1 Page at a Time have been translated into over a dozen languages and his “very personal” work for clients like Facebook and Urban Outfitters has been featured in the New Yorker, VICE, Adweek and more. His latest book, Things Are What You Make of Them: Life Advice for Creatives is a handwritten essay collection that digs into the emotional realities of being any type of modern day creative person.
  • Jeremy Leslie leads magCulture, dividing his time between designing, writing, curating and retailing. He’s a passionate advocate for editorial design, which he sees as an ever-changing discipline that has always adapted to new contexts. He has written several books about magazine design and the magCulture online Journal is a key source of news and opinion on the subject, celebrating in particular the independent sector. He curates the annual ModMag conferences in London and New York, and opened the magCulture shop in 2015, selling a unique selection of 500 magazines from across the world. He was awarded the British Society of Magazine Editors’ Mark Boxer Award, for services to the magazine industry, in 2018.
  • Matt Luckhurst

    Matt Luckhurst

    Founder and Executive Creative Director of The New Company


    Matt leads all creative work at The New Company, from strategy to execution. He is originally from Vancouver, BC and attended the Alberta College of Arts in Calgary, Alberta. He also holds an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Previous to The New Company he was the Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer of COLLINS and Design Lead at Airbnb. His past clients include Nike, Dropbox, Mailchimp, Airbnb, Instagram, Everlane and others. His recognitions include Cannes Lions, The One Show, The Type Directors Club and ADC Young Guns.
  • Rebeca Méndez

    Rebeca Méndez

    Professor at UCLA Design, Principal at Rebeca Méndez Studio



    Rebeca Méndez is an artist, designer, and professor at UCLA, Design Media Arts, where she is founder and director of the CounterForce Lab, a research and fieldwork studio for art, design and environment. Her research and practice investigate design and media art in public space, critical approaches to public identities and landscape, and artistic projects based on field investigation methods. Méndez’s diverse works develop within science, design and art through immersive installations, sound, video, photography, book arts, and drawing, with focus on post-humanism, eco-feminism, anthropocene and environmental justice.

    She has received significant recognition including her recent inclusion into the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the 2017 Medal of AIGA, and the 2012 National Design Award in Communication Design. Solo exhibitions: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Hammer Museum, Nevada Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Oaxaca, Mexico. Group exhibitions: 55th Venice Biennial, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, El Paso Museum of Art, and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Méndez is known for her career-long commitment to ‘design and art as a social force,’ and her interests and initiatives are a bridge between art, design and science, and demonstrate a commitment to the environment and a sustainable future.

  • David Nuff RGD

    David Nuff RGD

    Principal at Nuff


    Nuff has a hard time colouring inside the lines. His work blurs the lines between commerce and culture, art and design. For clients, he works on brand identities, digital products, murals and publications. Independently and as part of a collective, he designs interactive installations like 2017’s Shard, a giant, icy light crystal that responds to sound and motion. He is exploring spatial design and interaction paradigms at Ryerson University’s Design Fabrication Zone and developing his artistic practice as part of the 2018–19 Akin Studio Program at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Toronto.
  • Susanna Nygren Barrett

    Susanna Nygren Barrett

    Creative director and co-founder of The Studio


    Originally from Canada, Susanna Nygren Barrett studied fine art and graphic design in Vancouver and later completed a Masters Program at Yale University in Switzerland where she studied under the graphic design legend Paul Rand and renowned Swiss designer Armin Hofmann. After working as a designer at multi-disciplinary design company Karo Design in Vancouver, she moved to New York City where she was a designer and creative lead for the design firm Liska + Associates. In 2000 she moved to Stockholm and became a partner and creative director at the design and branding firm BVD, leading creative teams to develop brand strategy and design for clients within identity, packaging and retail concepts. Currently Susanna is the creative director and co-founder of the Stockholm design firm, The Studio, leading strategic design and branding assignments for clients both locally and internationally. She is a guest lecturer and holds workshops at various design schools, has been recognized with numerous design awards as well as sat on the jury of local and international design
    awards over the years. Coming from a creative family, Susanna has always been engaged in both music and art which provides continual inspiration for her work.
  • Jason Pamental

    Jason Pamental

    Typographer, Web Designer and Author
    Jason spends much of his time working with clients to establish their typographic systems and digital strategy, helping design and development teams works smarter and faster, and running workshops about all of the above. He is a seasoned design and user experience strategy leader with over 20 years’ experience on the web in both creative and technical roles. Clients range from type industry giants, Ivy League and High Tech, to the NFL and America’s Cup. He also researches and writes on typography for the web: he’s author of Responsive Typography from O’Reilly, articles for .Net MagazinePRINT, and frequent podcast guest. Author of online courses for Aquent’s Gymnasium platform and Frontend Masters. He’s an experienced speaker and workshop leader, having presented at over 50 national and international conferences. WEBS
  • Tiffany Rolfe and Angie Hannam

    Tiffany Rolfe & Angie Hannam

    EVP Chief Creative Officer US at R/GA

    EVP Global Chief Talent Officer at R/GA


    As EVP Chief Creative Officer US, Tiffany champions R/GA’s creative vision across the agency’s six U.S. offices and works in partnership with Richard Ting, EVP Global Chief Experience Officer + US Chief Creative Officer, to lead creative teams that work at the intersection of business and culture to deliver transformational work to global clients. Tiffany is well-known for developing strategic creative solutions that lead to business and cultural impact, and she brings over 20 years of design and creative experience to her position. Prior to R/GA, she spent over six years at Co:Collective as Partner and Chief Creative Officer, where she acted as lead partner for the Puma account and oversaw a highly successful campaign that catapulted YouTube stars to fame. Tiffany’s work has been featured in leading publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Ad Age, and Adweek. Her work has earned awards at every major creative and effectiveness competition including Best of Show at One Show, Grand Prix and Titanium Lions atCannes, and a Grand Clio. Tiffany was named one of Ad Age’s “Women to Watch” and is currently on the board of The One Club and the Ad Council Creative Committee.


    As global chief talent officer, Angie works closely with senior leadership across R/GA’s network of offices to evolve the company’s global strategy for talent planning and recruiting. In her role, Hannam leads a highly successful team of more than 25 recruiters, partnering closely with regional operations, human resources, and resource management leads to develop innovative approaches to organizing and supporting staff at all stages of their careers. Hannam brings more than 17 years of experience growing and developing talent to R/GA’s global recruitment practice. Prior to R/GA, she acted as VP, Global Chief Talent Officer at Crispin Porter + Bogusky. During her time at CP+B, Hannam was responsible for developing recruitment strategies across the agency’s 10 global offices and leading a team that hired hundreds of accomplished creatives, strategists, technologists and client service executives. At R/GA, Hannam leads staff acquisition across all disciplines and offices to evolve the company’s talent organization, ensuring that the company can continue to deliver innovative, award-winning work for clients across its global network.

  • Tina Roth Eisenberg

    Tina Roth Eisenberg

    Founder/CEO of CreativeMornings
    Tina Roth Eisenberg is a Swiss born, raised and trained graphic designer. In 1999 she came to NYC for a 3 month design internship and never left. Over the past 13 years Tina started numerous side projects that have organically turned into businesses: a creative co-working community called FRIENDS, a global, monthly lecture series called CreativeMornings, a simple to-do app called TeuxDeux and Tattly, a high-end temporary tattoo shop. She lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, with her two kids Ella and Tilo who are teaching her the art of making slime and building forts. Tina is often referred to as Swissmiss after her popular blog. She likes that.
  • Josh Silverman

    Josh Silverman

    Designer, entrepreneur, educator, advisor, optimist


    For 25 years, Josh Silverman has created successful relationships through design. He speaks and hosts workshops globally, teaches and guest critiques nationally, and is always connecting people and communities. Currently, he is consulting in design operations for Salesforce and Blend, and advising startups. Most recently, he advised and designed for the portfolio of companies with Sequoia Design Lab, served as Twitter’s first hire in design operations, and was one of the founding designers of the IBM Cloud Garage. In 1997 he founded Schwadesign, a lean, holacratic-model business, where he managed diverse teams and scaled the business for 18 years. Together, their work was recognized by The Wall Street Journal,, The Boston Globe, and more. His wide range of clients have included startups (iRobot, Buildium, Trinity Pharma), educational institutions (MIT, Harvard Medical School, Brown University), global corporations (UBS, Wells Fargo, Accenture), cities (Providence, RI, and Bethesda, MD), non-profits (American Heart Association, Friends of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute), and many more.
  • Hamish and Jesse are currently Partners at the design consultancy, Order. Previously, in 2014, they co-founded Standards Manual, an independent publishing imprint focusing on the preservation of graphic design history. They both also worked at the New York office of Pentagram Design under partner Michael Bierut as associate partners.

    Hamish holds a Bachelor of Design (Communication Design) degree with Honors from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University), Melbourne, Australia.

    Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, Jesse is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Art, Architecture, & Planning DAAP), School of Design.
  • Eric Snowden

    Eric Snowden

    Senior Director of Design, Digital Media at Adobe

    Talk: How to run a healthy design team

    Eric Snowden manages a multidisciplinary team of designers responsible for the Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Document Cloud applications and services at Adobe. His responsibilities span Digital Video & Audio, Digital Imaging, Design & Web, Documents, Mobile, and Services across web, desktop, and mobile surfaces. Most recently, Eric was Director of Design at Adobe for the suite of Creative Cloud Mobile apps, and was Head of Mobile for Behance. In the past he’s worked for Atlantic Records, Parsons School for Design, Warner Music Group, Adobe, Enderson Ranch Arts Center, and for the photographer Lynn Goldsmith.