DesignThinkers Vancouver 2017
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 18th year, breeds change agents who become drivers of innovation. DesignThinkers 2017 reveals the perspectives of visionaries from a range of communications-related disciplines including design, user experience, advertising, branding, consumer engagement, film, social media and entrepreneurship. 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.


When: May 30 - 31, 2017

Where: Vancouver Playhouse Theatre


To register, visit:




  • FLY PORTER: Use code RGD017 when booking online at

    New bookings only. Book by January 29, 2017. Travel between March 1 and 31, 2017. 15% discount is available for base fares (with the exception of the lowest class fare during a public seat sale) and does not apply to fees, taxes or surcharges. 

    Discount is not applicable between February 16-21, March 10-12 and 17-19, 2017. Up to 21 day advance purchase required. Select destinations may be excluded from the advertised discount. This offer may not be available for the entire travel period. Discount is not applicable on itineraries that include a partner airline flight segment.

    The promo code is intended for use by DesignThinkers delegates and organizers and is not meant for distribution outside of authorized channels. Porter’s fare rules and conditions apply. For any questions regarding Porter’s services or any pre-travel concerns, contact us at 1-888-619-8622.

  • Members (includes RGD & GDC Members)

    Designated Member: RGD, Prov RGD & CGD - 1 Day - $265 (after Mar 31 - $295)
    Designated Member: RGD, Prov RGD & CGD - 2 Days - $365 (after Mar 31 - $395)

    Affiliate Member of RGD / GDC Member - 1 Day - $335 (after Mar 31 - $ 365)
    Affiliate Member of RGD / GDC Member - 2 Days - $465 (after Mar 31 - $495)

    Student RGD / GDC Student Member - 1 Day - $120 (after Mar 31 $150)
    Student RGD / GDC Student Member - 2 Days - $195 (after Mar 31 $225)



    Non-Member - 1 Day - $445 (after Mar 31 - $475)
    Non-Member - 2 Days - $620 (after Mar 31 - $650)

    Group Member Registration* - 1 Day - $385 (after Mar 31 - $425)
    Group Member Registration* - 2 Days - $535 (after Mar 31 - $575)

    ** A Group Member Registration is a Non-Member attending DesignThinkers as part of a group of 3 or more individuals from the same company/organization.

  • Air Canada

    Air Canada is offering instant online registration and a 10% discount on eligible fares for travel to and from DesignThinkers Vancouver. Wi-Fi and comfortable, leather seating is available.


    To book a flight, visit and enter promo code QJWAE9X1 in the search panel.


    VIA Rail

    DesignThinkers delegates can save 10% traveling to the conference with VIA Rail Canada.


    This discount applies for bookings between May 22nd, 2017 to June 3rd, 2017 from all destinations, and all fare categories, with the exception of the Escape fare and the Prestige Fare on the Canadian (Toronto to Vancouver train).


    Book by phone at 1-888-VIA-RAIL using the corporate rate code 13427 or click here or ici to get full details and have the discount automatically applied to your purchase.

  • The Metropolitan Hotel Vancouver
    645 Howe St, Vancouver, BC


    Guestrooms: $209 + tax (single or double occupancy)


    Email or

    Specify Group Affiliation: DesignThinkers


  • Casey Caplowe

    Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of GOOD

    GOOD is a platform for individuals, businesses and non-profits to get together to push the world forward in positive ways. GOOD promotes sustainability, prosperity, productivity and creativity through its magazine, website, videos and live events. Since GOOD began in 2006, Casey has helped to build and shape the look, feel, and voice of the brand and all of its creations. Under his direction, GOOD’s products have been widely recognized and acclaimed, in particular the captivating infographics that makes information fun and relevant, have been widely acclaimed. He speaks widely on GOOD with a specific focus on design and collaboration.

  • Scott Dadich

    Co-CEO, Founder of Godfrey Dadich Partners and Creator and Executive Producer of Abstract: The Art of Design


    Scott Dadich is a designer, editor, writer, and filmmaker — a master storyteller on all platforms. Scott spent 11 years at Condé Nast, serving as WIRED’s Editor in Chief as well as Creative Director. Under his leadership, WIRED earned 10 Webby Awards, more than 50 Society of Publication Designers medals, a James Beard Foundation Award, and four National Magazine Awards for design. Scott oversaw the redesign of nearly every aspect of the brand, from the magazine and website to the organizational structure and even its San Francisco headquarters. Scott conceived WIRED by Design, the design retreat held at Skywalker Ranch, secured an exclusive interview with Edward Snowden in Moscow, and worked closely with President Obama, guest editor of WIRED’s November, 2016, issue. Other guest editors included Serena Williams, J.J. Abrams, Bill Gates, and Christopher Nolan. Fast Company recognized Dadich as one of the "50 Most Influential Designers in America". Collectively, his work has been recognized with more than 100 national design and editorial awards from organizations such as American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME), Society of Publication Designers (SPD), the Art Directors Club, American Photography, American Illustration, the Society of Illustrators, the Type Directors Club, and the City and Regional Magazine Association. Dadich currently serves on the board of directors of The People’s Portfolio, a nonprofit organization dedicated to respecting and upholding human rights through portrait photography by renowned photographer Platon.



  • Ralph V. Gilles

    Head of Design, FCA - Global 

    Fireside Chat

    As the global head of design at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Ralph Gilles oversees design for the company's iconic brands - Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram Trucks, Alfa Romeo and Maserati. Since joining Chrysler in 1992, he has served as Senior Vice President - Product Design and President and CEO - Motorsports, FCA - North America; President and CEO - SRT Brand; and President and CEO - Dodge brand for FCA US LLC. Ralph has been sketching cars since he was 7 years old. He draws design inspiration from pop culture and experiences from traveling the world. Ralph believes that ensuring a vehicle has a soul is the key to great design.


    Fireside Chat

    Join us for a Fireside Chat as we get a behind the scenes view of the world of automotive design with one of its most passionate innovators. Profiled as part of a new series called Abstract: The Art of Design, Ralph Gilles joins Scott Dadich, creator and executive producer of the show, on-stage for an intimate and interactive discussion. Ralph offers insights into this unique world where design is paramount and shares his experiences designing some of the greatest automotive designs of our era. We’ll watch clips from the show and take questions for Ralph in real-time via Twitter.



  • Maria Giudice

    VP, Experience Design at Autodesk

    Talk: Remaking the Making Company


    Innovator, artist, protagonist and positive provocateur, Maria Giudice 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 25 years. Under Maria’s leadership, Hot Studio, the experience design firm she founded in 1997, grew into a full-service creative agency with an impressive list of Fortune 500 clients. Hot Studio was nominated for a National Design Award in 2013. In March 2013, Facebook acquired the talent behind Hot Studio. In 2015, she joined Autodesk as VP, Experience Design. Her third book, Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design, is published by New Riders. Maria is an AIGA Design Fellow. She has spoken at conferences all over the world and currently serves as an adjunct professor and trustee at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.


    Talk: Remaking the Making Company

    Not that long ago new technologies were magical, and we were so happy when they just worked. Today we expect much more; we assume, demand even, that digital experiences don’t just work really well but are simple, intuitive and fun to use. This means companies need to stop thinking about technology to consider the holistic experiences of their customers. In 2015, Maria joined Autodesk as design leader and change agent, to help transform the 34-year-old company from one that was technology-centered to one that is experience-centered. In this talk Maria, shares her work in progress and some of the lessons she’s learned along the way.

  • Timothy Goodman

    Designer, Illustrator & Art director

    Talk: The Difference Between Being Cute & Being Creepy Is One Emoji - Making Work & Love on the Internet 

    Timothy Goodman runs his own studio in New York City. His clients include Airbnb, Google, Adobe, Ford, J.Crew, MoMA, Samsung, Target, The New Yorker and The New York Times. He has received awards from most major design and illustration publications. Timothy co-created the blog and book 40 Days of Dating with Jessica Walsh, that has received over 15 million unique visitors and whose film rights were optioned to Warner Bros. Their second social experiment, 12 Kinds of Kindness, was featured in The New York Times and NPR. His writing series “Memories of a Girl I Never Knew” has exhibited at the concept store Colette in Paris, France. His second book, Sharpie Art Workshop, came out last year.


    Talk: The Difference Between Being Cute & Being Creepy Is One Emoji - Making Work & Love on the Internet 

    Like many designers, Timothy is held down by rules and parameters that constantly stifle him. So how does he get his own sensibilities and his own voice into his work? Five years ago, he decided to redirect his design career and push himself into new, scary, unexpected territory through drawing, writing and personal projects on the Internet. He made a decision to approach graphic design as a practice, not as a profession. Join Timothy as he talks about where he’s been, where he’s at now and how he’s constantly trying to redefine what it means to work in this industry.

  • Tinker Hatfield

    Vice President, Design & Special Projects, Nike, Inc.

    Fireside Chat

    Legendary Nike shoe designer, Tinker has received global recognition for imagination and innovation largely through his collaborations with Michael Jordan for the Air Jordan line. In addition to continuing to work with Michael Jordan, Tinker creates specialized Nike athletic products for champion athletes including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer, Laird Hamilton and Gabrielle Reece. He also dedicates his time to mentoring Nike designers to build the Nike of the future. He has written for Harvard Business Review in addition to appearing in The New York Times and The Washington Post, among many other publications. In 1998, Fortune named Tinker one of the 100 Most Influential Designers of the Century.



    Fireside Chat

    Join us for a Fireside Chat as we get a behind the scenes view of the world of shoe design from one of its most celebrated innovators. Profiled as part of a new series called Abstract: The Art of Design, Tinker Hatfield joins Scott Dadich, creator and executive producer of the show, on-stage for an intimate and interactive discussion. He delves into Tinker’s history at Nike and discovers what it’s like to collaborate on designs with the biggest names in sports. We’ll watch clips from the show, and take questions for Tinker in real-time via Twitter.

  • Chip Kidd

    Award-Winning Graphic Designer and Writer

    Talk: Can you Really?

    Chip Kidd's groundbreaking book jacket designs for Alfred A. Knopf have elevated the form for close to three decades. He’s worked with hundreds of writers, including John Updike, Katharine Hepburn, Cormac McCarthy, Henry Louis Gates Jr., James Ellroy, Karen Russell, Michael Crichton, David Sedaris, Sharon Olds, Orhan Pamuk, Paul Simon, Neil Gaiman, and Haruki Murakami. His first novel, The Cheese Monkeys, was a national bestseller. His most recent book, Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design, is the first book to teach graphic design to children and has over 60,000 copies in print. As an editor and art director for Pantheon Graphic novels, he’s worked with and published some of the very best cartoonists in the world, including Chris Ware, Art Spiegelman, Dan Clowes, David Mazzucchelli, Charles Burns, Michael Cho, and Alex Ross. He is the recipient of the National Design Award for Communications, and his TED Talks has been viewed over 3 million times.


    Talk: Can you Really?

    His TED Talks has been viewed over 3 million times and his presentations are famously outrageous and hilarious. In Vancouver, award-winning graphic designer and best-selling author, Chip asks: 'Can You Really?' In which he ponders the never-ending questions: Can you really do THAT? But HOW? And WHY? And will you need a dropcloth?? Or just a towel? Hmmmmm.


  • Emily Lessard

    Chief Creative Officer of Bellweather

    Talk: Rebranding and Authenticity: How to Listen to Ghosts

    Previously, Emily Lessard was the Creative Director at NYC & Company, the advertising and marketing agency for New York City. Here she led the company-wide rebrand—from look and feel, to voice and imagery—in web, advertising, and print. Other key projects included the relaunch of; a city-wide icon set—made collaboratively with New York City agencies; and creation of the enormously popular “See Your City” brand. Her work has been published in AdWeek, Creative Review, Fast Company, It’s Nice That, The New York Times, Print Magazine, and others. 


    Talk: Rebranding and Authenticity: How to Listen to Ghosts

    Many designers have the opportunity to develop new brands, but so many of us are also asked to rethink and refresh existing brands. How do you decide what to build on or when to start anew? How do you respond to legacy without being hobbled by it? Emily explores these questions and more from the lens of her branding work for cultural institutions and destinations, including rebrands for the Aperture Foundation, the Magnum Foundation and New York City.


  • Min Lew

    Partner, Creative Director and Managing Director at Base

    Talk: Great Design = Design Skills + Human Skills

    Along with her team at Base, Min Lew works from the standpoint that truly iconic brands are born from a personality-first strategy. That by focusing on the human aspects of a brand, deeper, more personal connections can be made between people and companies. In her role as a designer, brand strategist and manager, she has helped to build personality-driven brands for an eclectic range of clients that include MoMA, JFK Terminal 4, Meatpacking District, Neuehouse, Kiki de Montparnasse, Coca-Cola, Gagosian Gallery, Puma, Milk, Museum of Sex, L'Oreal, Le Pain Quotidien, Pantone, Wellesley College, Kanye West, and more. A graduate of Yale University's MFA program, Min is an adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts and a guest critic at Parsons School of Design. Next to passionately building brands and Base, she is a regular speaker at industry conferences and previously served as a board member of AIGA/NY. Her work has been featured in and has contributed her thoughts on design and branding to publications that include The New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Wall Street Journal, Adweek, Creativity, Creative Review, Surface, Fast Company, and others.


    Talk: Great Design = Design Skills + Human Skills

    We live in an ever-expanding and increasingly transient world where people, ideas and capital are more and more fluid. For the past 15 years, Min has been taken a personality-driven approach to branding and design. Here Min outlines how she and her team uses both design skills but people skills to humanize corporations, launch their visions and clarify their complexities.

  • Craig Mod

    Writer and Photographer

    Talk: Thinking Outside the Book

    Craig Mod splits his time between the mountains of Japan and New York City. His is the co-author of the books Koya Bound: Eight days on the Kumano Kodo, and Art Space Tokyo: An Intimate Guide to the Tokyo Artworld. His essay collection, Bokura no Jidai no Hon (The Books of our Generation), was published in Japanese (2014) and Korean (2015). He is a MacDowell and VCCA writing fellow, and Techfellow award recipient. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, California Sunday Magazine, Aeon Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, New Scientist, Contents Magazine, Codex Journal of Typography and other publications. Every six years he reviews a camera. 


    Talk: Thinking Outside the Book
    For years, Craig has been producing and collecting “books” manipulated and reimagined by artists (both in form and content). Here he shows some of the best examples of innovative book design — physical and digital. He demonstrates how how artists are building off of and subverting the idea of the book to help us reconsider archives, printing and fine art collections. He reminds us what makes the book so powerful as an object, looking beyond its physical edges. And finally he considers its future; the printed book isn’t going away. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface (thanks to digital innovations like print on demand) of how designers can re-imagine these canvasses, sculptures even, for our thoughts and ideas.
  • Alex Schleifer

    VP of Design at Airbnb

    Talk: Altitudes — Designing At Every Level

    Alex Schleifer leads the user experience, design research, content and design operations teams at Airbnb. As a teenager he co-founded Sideshow, which produced award-winning digital work for a variety of global clients. In 2011 they were acquired by Say Media, where he became Head of Design, helping them to redefine digital publishing. During this time, he also co-founded UX Magazine, which quickly became an authority on user experience design. Alex is passionate about creating beautiful, engaging digital products that change the way we tell stories and make connections.


    Talk: Altitudes — Designing At Every Level

    Working on digital products requires a wide spectrum of skills—from defining high-level strategy to digging into the execution details. The sheer pace of innovation requires today's designers to shift altitudes constantly. Alex will dive into how Airbnb deals with the challenges of fluctuating altitudes: what works, what doesn't, and where to go from here.

  • Dana Tanamachi

    Creative Director at Tanamachi Studio & Tanamachi Goods

    Dana Tanamachi is a lettering artist and designer who enjoys living a quiet life and working with her hands. In 2009, an impromptu chalk installation for a Brooklyn housewarming party landed Dana her first commission for Google and set the popular chalk-lettering trend—and her career—in motion. After working under design icon Louise Fili, she opened Tanamachi Studio, a boutique design studio specializing in custom typography and illustration for editorial, lifestyle, food, and fashion brands. She has been commissioned globally by clients such as Nike, USPS, Penguin Books, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and West Elm. Dana’s first of three exclusive product collections with Target hit stores nationwide in 2013 and her book DIY Type (Potter Style) was released in 2014.


    In 2015 she relocated from Brooklyn to Seattle and debuted Tanamachi Goods, a line of beautifully hand-drawn print and gift products reflecting her personal aesthetic and featuring mediums beyond chalk.

  • Cap Watkins

    VP of Design at Buzzfeed

    Talk: Everything I Know

    Cap Watkins is a product designer, blogger, conference speaker and podcast guest living in Brooklyn, NY. As the first-ever VP of Design at BuzzFeed, he’s been tasked with making the company as smart about design as it is about social media. Previously, Cap was lead designer at both Zoosk and Formspring; UX designer at Amazon; and senior product design manager at Etsy, where he grew their design team and united the company’s very different products under a cohesive vision. Cap believes in thoughtful, holistic design solutions that get out of the way and empower people to accomplish more.


    Talk: Everything I Know

    Having been a Creative Writing major, Product Designer, Design Manager and now VP of Design, VP of IT and Product Manager, Cap wasn't exactly sure what he should talk about. So he will talk about everything! Namely, the most important lessons he’s learned so far in his zig-zaggy career. From great communication and collaboration strategies, to how to grow your career, Cap's gif-filled talk will offer valuable advice for everyone, regardless of your experience level or area of specialty.


  • Ellen Wong and Mark Beechy

    Executive Creative Directors at RED Interactive.

    Talk: Future-proof Your Career — Invest in a person, not a company.

    At RED Interactive Agency, Mark focuses primarily on the creative strategy while collaborating with multiple disciplines in order to assist our clients in understanding why, when and how they should approach digital. Ellen is responsible for providing the creative vision on select accounts, as well as managing the creative discipline across the Experience Design, Brands & Campaigns and Digital Advertising departments. Together they oversee the larger creative team at RED. They have worked for clients that include Adidas, Disney, ESPN, Ford, LEGO, Ferrari and Virgin Galactic.

    Talk: Future-proof Your Career — Invest in a person, not a company.
    The growing focus on creating holistic customer experiences is causing a shift in how modern creative agencies operate. The creative team is growing and diversifying. Traditional team organization and staffing models are being challenged. With high turnover, growing agency fragmentation, constant tweaking of capabilities and a revolving door of players and skills, are the ideas of loyalty and tenure relevant today? Are they valuable? Through shared stories and learnings from their 10+ year creative partnership, Mark and Ellen challenge where we invest our time and energy in our careers, and present a case for shifting our approach to achieving success and fulfillment at work in today's landscape.