DesignThinkers Vancouver 2019

May 28 - 29, 2019

Vancouver Playhouse


Check out photos from the event!


Video recordings of the Conference Presentations will be made available to RGD Members in early July.


Over its 20 year history, the DesignThinkers Conference has spanned massive changes in the communication design industry. From print to digital, visual identity to brand, websites to user experiences, design has evolved as new trend, technologies and philosophies transform the wider world. DesignThinkers Vancouver explored the innovations and disruptions that inform, inspire and influence design, considered its impact and re-imagined its role.



  • Talk Description:

    Become a Graphic Ally! Learn how to tell visual data stories to inspire policy change and mobilize information at the grassroots level. In this session, we explore principles of conscious and responsible design from real-world infographic projects. Topics covered are as follows: power dynamics in design, data framing, asset vs deficit mapping, access to information, communication strategy building and grassroots design strategies. Learn how to map out infographic solutions for reaching and activating policy makers, people with resources, low-opportunity communities and more. Participants leave actionable tips and tricks for working with low-design opportunity clients, strategies for being an effective and equitable data storyteller, building a mindful and sensitive lens for data evaluation, communication strategy building, data framing and message building techniques and breaking bad habits in visual storytelling.


    About Jessica Bellamy

    Jessica tells visual stories using data and personal narratives. She started her design career working with non-profits and community groups to create compelling explainers that break down complex service and policy information. In 2015, she created a small design agency called GRIDS: The Grassroots Information Design. In 2017, she created a hands-on workshop called Infographics for Social Change: A Graphic Ally Hackathon, which she has given at several conferences and major universities (Carnegie Mellon, UCLA, and Yale). She is also the creator of the Infographic Wheel, a handheld design tool that helps creatives select a visual layout for any dataset.

  • Hillel is Senior Vice President of UX Design at Oracle where he is leading a design renaissance to transform and elevate Oracle’s user experiences for customers. He was previously Design Director on Microsoft’s Azure Data and Machine Learning Platform, co-founder of Seattle creative agency Jackson Fish Market, and led the Windows User Experience team at Microsoft. Hillel is the co-author of a series of design books called Making Things Special. He is also the author of a series of middle-grade novels called The Madrona Heroes Register. He has served on the board and as a technical advisor for – the largest internet historical resource of African-American history. Hillel was also the first food blogger to ever be nominated for a James Beard award for his writing. Hillel, his wife Shelby and their three teenagers live in the Madrona neighborhood of Seattle, Washington with three cats and roughly 250,000 Lego bricks.
  • An internationally recognized design strategist, writer and educator, named “one of the most creative people in business (Fast Company) and among the “most influential designers in the past 50 years” (Graphic Design USA), Moira has built a career leading global design solutions that effectively honour the essence and heritage of organizations, institutions and brands. She has worked as a senior executive for multiple Fortune 500 companies including PepsiCo, The Hershey Company and The Coca-Cola Company where she led development of the acclaimed redesign of the Coca-Cola visual identity system that won the first Grand Prix for Design and Golden Lion for packaging at the 2008 Cannes Awards. 
  • Karin Fong is an Emmy Award winning director and designer working at the intersection of film, television, and graphic design. A founding member of Imaginary Forces, she is known for designing iconic title sequences. Her projects include the opening credits for the TV series Boardwalk Empire, South Park, and Black Sails, and most recently Lost In Space and Counterpart, as well as numerous feature films. She has helmed spots for major brands, including LEGO, Lexus, Target, Sony PlayStation, Toyota, and Herman Miller. From large scale video installations to video game trailers, Karin’s diverse projects showcase her unique voice in visual storytelling. Named by Fast Company as one of its 100 Most Creative People in Business and the recipient of the 2018 AIGA medal, she has won numerous awards in both advertising and entertainment. Her work has been featured at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, The Walker Art Center, The Wexner Center, SXSW, and in many publications about design and cinema.
  • Cheryl Heller, Designer, Author and Educator

    Talk: How Much Does Design Matter?

    Talk Description

    Design is viewed, in business and science, as a “soft” discipline, often lacking quantifiable results. Designers struggle with how to explain the design process in a way that clearly communicates its value. We see its effects, but how do we measure them? Cheryl has spent the last three years researching the difference design makes in human health. Here she shares new thinking about how to quantify design’s contributions, and ways to explain its value, and its role more clearly. Bringing rigour to the discipline, and to its measurement, is the best way to improve and scale the design practice.


    About Cheryl Heller

    Cheryl is President of the design lab CommonWise and Founding Chair of the MFA Program in Design for Social Innovation at SVA. She founded the first design department in a major advertising agency and, as its President, grew the division to $50m in billings when it was spun off as an independent entity. As a strategist, Cheryl has helped grow small regional businesses to become global market leaders, launched category-redefining products, reinvigorated moribund cultures and designed strategies for hundreds of successful entrepreneurs. Her clients have included American Express, Reebok, Sheraton, Medtronic, Pfizer, Discovery Networks International, Herman Miller, Gap, Bayer, L’Oreal, Harper’s Bazaar, The World Wildlife Fund, Ford Foundation and the Girl Scouts of America. Cheryl was recently awarded a Rockefeller Bellagio Fellowship, and is a recipient of the AIGA Medal for her contribution to the field of design. She is a Senior Fellow at the Babson Social Innovation Lab. She created the Ideas that Matter program for Sappi in 1999 and partnered with Paul Polak and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum to create the exhibit, “Design for the Other 90%.” Her book, The Intergalactic Design Guide, was published in 2018. 

  • Kit Hinrichs, Principal and Creative Director at Studio Hinrichs

    Talk: Design Thinking: A 50-year Perspective

    Talk Description

    Kit’s experiences are as an internationally renowned designer, Pentagram partner, author, entrepreneur and collector of everything graphic. This talk is a richly illustrated, behind-the-scenes look at his varied work as a narrative designer.


    About Kit Hinrichs

    Kit served as principal in several design offices in New York and San Francisco, and spent 23 years (1986–2009) as a partner of Pentagram before opening Studio Hinrichs in San Francisco, in 2009. His design experience incorporates a wide range of projects, including corporate communications, brand development, promotion, packaging, editorial design, environmental graphics and exhibition design. In addition to teaching at the School of Visual Arts in New York, the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and the Academy of Art in San Francisco, Kit has been a guest lecturer at the Stanford Design Conference, AIGA National Conferences, the HOW Conference and numerous other design associations and universities worldwide. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York and San Francisco, LACMA and the Denver Museum of Art. He is co-author of five books, including Typewise and The Pentagram Papers. Throughout his career, he has co-founded @issue: The Journal of Business and Design, chaired the AIGA California Show (the first regional show in AIGA’s 100-year history), co-chaired the Alliance Graphique Internationale San Francisco Congress, chaired the AIGA Business Conference and San Francisco Design Lecture Series and launched the @issue Design Conference. 

  • Talk Description:

    Sarah explores type and perception and has spent six years creating experiments and taking her pop-up typography lab to events. Her experiments range from profiling typeface personalities to altering the taste of a jellybean with a font. Here, she talks about her experiments, giving insights into the process and explains how some of her failed experiments have taught her the most. Join her as she demonstrates how typefaces narrate our everyday experiences and document our cultural tastes in a fun talk with lashings of audience participation.


    About Sarah Hyndman

    Sarah is a graphic designer, writer and public speaker whose area of expertise is multi-sensory typography. She is the founder of the highly innovative Type Tasting studio; her mission is to change the way we think and talk about typography. She is the author of How to Draw Type and Influence People (2017) and Why Fonts Matter (2016). Sarah is involved with research into typography and perception. She works on collaborative studies with the Crossmodal Research Laboratory, University of Oxford. She received a Master’s degree in Typo/Graphics from the London College of Communication (University of the Arts) for her exploration of food as a system of communication. Her work has been featured by CNN, Creative Review, Dazed & Confused, Eye, It's Nice That, Londonist, The New York Times and Wired. 

  • Talk Description

    Austin shares 10 principles for doing more creative work in a connected world. You'll learn how to think in networks, embrace influence instead of run away from it, use analog tools for better ideas and much more. 


    About Austin Kleon

    Austin is a writer, artist, speaker and New York Times bestselling author. His work has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, PBS Newshour, TIME, The Atlantic, Forbe,and The Wall Street Journal. He’s brought his depth and range of experience as a creator to his book, Steal Like An Artist, an illustrated manifesto for creativity in the digital age. New York Magazine called his work “brilliant,” The Atlantic called him “positively one of the most interesting people on the Internet,” and The New Yorker said his poems “resurrect the newspaper when everybody else is declaring it dead.” 

  • Jenny is the Senior Vice President of UX Design at Oraclewhere she is leading a design renaissance to transform and elevate Oracle’s user experiences for customers. She was previously Design Director of Alexa Devices at Amazon, co-founder of Seattle creative agency Jackson Fish Market, and Creative Director at Microsoft for Windows. Jenny is the co-author of a series of design books called Making Things Special. Jenny has served on the national board of directors for the AIGA and mentors national & local organizations to foster the next generation of creative design talent headed for the tech industry. She was named one of the Top 100 Most Influential Women in Technology by the Puget Sound Business Journal and was honored on the 40 under 40 list of Seattle Business Leaders. Jenny, her husband Adrian Klein and twin girls live on beautiful Bainbridge Island, Washington.
  • Talk Description

    Design has always balanced function and aesthetic. Lately, function seems to get all the attention. Understandably so. Many designers have sought to gain access to ever larger spheres of influence and function is the lingua franca for doing so. But that shouldn’t come at the expense of deepening our knowledge of aesthetics — not just its construction, but its value and purpose. Leland explores the concept of beauty and Fyodor Dostoevsky belief that “beauty will save the world.” You’ll learn what beauty is; how beauty makes work resonate more deeply with audiences; and why beauty will save the world.


    About Leland Maschmeyer

    Prior to joining Chobani in 2016, he was the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Collins, a brand and design consultancy with offices in New York and San Francisco. His work for clients such as Spotify, Airbnb, Target, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and Facebook has earned honours from Cannes, AICP, the Fast Company Innovation Awards, Type Directors Club, Graphis, Brand New, FPO, Effies, and Communication Arts, among others. In 2011, Campaign magazine selected him to its “Global 30 Under 30” list. In 2015, Forbes named his team's music video for Azealia Banks "the future of music videos." That same year, Fast Company, Wired, and Design Week named his global redesign of Spotify as the year's best. A faculty member of the School of Visual Arts MFA program, Leland teaches “Systems Thinking and Systems Design” and “Designer as Entrepreneur".

  • Mike is the co-founder and design director of Mule Design. He prefers that designers have strong spines. Mike writes and speaks frequently about the craft, ethics, and business of design. He loves design so much he wrote two books on the topic, Design is a Job and You’re My Favorite Client. He loves society so much he’s working on a book on how to protect it from designers. It’ll be out mid-year. He’s off Twitter and Facebook. That’s why you think he’s dead.


  • 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, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and for the photographer Lynn Goldsmith.