Best Design Conferences 2019
We’ve brought together the best conferences and events for designers across digital, UX, branding, graphics, advertising and more from around the UK this 2019 – and a few major ones from overseas you might want to consider booking a trip to.
Events featured here will inspire you, conferences will help build your skills and facilitate meeting like-minded people to build a support network around yourself. We’ll be updating throughout the year as more events are announced, so keep checking back.
We kick off with over fifteen conferences that are mighty in size and local to the UK or worth travelling to, beginning with London’s VFX Festival and ending with US highlight Adobe Max. We’ve also included some regular events you can attend without having to break the bank.
May 29-31 London
Bringing together London’s leading UX design experts, this three-day programme of workshops and talks should help you learn new skills to apply straight away.
Speakers this year include Molly Nix, design lead at Airbnb, principal designer for Google AI Matt Jones, and Katie Koch, Spotify’s design manager.
June 4-6 London
If you love VFX or are studying to break into the industry, you’ll be sure to benefit from hearing tips from leading industry studios Jellyfish Pictures, Framestore, Access VFX and Michelle Blok of The Third Floor, who we spoke to last year about previs FX.
You can also learn about immersive technologies like gaming and VR through talks, discussions and demonstrations. The event takes places over three different festivals, one of which happened in February; it’ll return in June with as yet unannounced speakers.
Birmingham Design Festival
June 6-8 Birmingham
Birmingham Design Festival is a young name on the block, but last year it managed to grab names like Anthony Burrill.
This year you can catch Jennifer Daniel, creative director for Google’s emoji division, Andre Jay Meissner, head of XDI team at Adobe XD, Wes O’Haire Dropbox’s product designer and founder of Blacks Who Design.
There’s also Mike McGee, CCO and co-founder of Framestore, Bianca Berning, creative director at Dalton Maag, artist Brendan Dawes, designer Craig Oldham and our mate Ben ‘The Illustrator’ O’Brien.
East London Comic & Arts Festival (ELCAF)
June 7-9 London
This popular three day fair presented by Nobrow sees over 4,000 visitors celebrate the work of artists and take part in a programme of talks and workshops related to all things comics and zines.
The festival is now taking submissions from artists, collective and publishers to exhibit – get yourself applied on the homepage before January 31st.
June 12 Manchester
Camp Digital is another UX design conference, led by digital UX agency, Sigma. This year’s keynote speakers include include Jared Spool, founder of User Interface Engineering (UIE), and Cenydd Bowles, author of Future Ethics and Undercover User Experience Design.
Other confirmed speakers so far include content design pioneer Sarah Richards, digital government leader Janet Hughes and Snook CEO Sarah Drummond, with many more to be announced in the coming weeks.
June 21 Bristol
Collaborate Bristol is a UX, IA and design conference in England’s south west. The conference returns for the seventh year running, aimed at encouraging sharing, learning and networking within the digital community.
With speakers including director & designer at Aardman Animations Gavin Strange, ethics track lead at City AI Catalina Butnaru plus more to come, it’s set to be an insightful day in the world of UX and design.
July 28-August 1 Los Angeles, CA
Siggraph is a five-day event that showcases the latest trends, designs and innovations in the areas of animation, VR, games, digital art, mixed reality and CG. You can get a hands-on look at the new technology, live demos, research and acts of collaboration.
Definitely worth going to if you’re interested in emerging technologies, and how they can help your creative processes. See the best highlights from 2018 here and see what amazing VR stuff was on show last year.
London Design Festival
September 14-22 Across London
The highly-regarded annual festival brings together a host of international designers and innovators to showcase newly commissioned works in contemporary design, art and research. It covers all forms of design from architecture and textiles to graphic and digital design.
Details of the full festival haven’t been announced yet – but keep an eye on Digital Arts for updates.
September 18-19 Copenhagen
This two-day conference is perfect for UI and UX designers, and the conference itself admits it has competent, visionary and nerdy talks, workshops and discussions with an all-new ‘nerd tracks’, which explores a range of design topics more in depth.
Details for 2019 are yet to be revealed but play around with the nicely retro Internet 1.0 design of the official site for this year.
Trojan Horse Was A Unicorn
September 23-28 Malta
Focussing on digital artists from concept art to animation and VFX, THU was our favourite conference of 2018. Describing itself as a ‘digital rave’, it feels more like a gathering of family and friends than your average industry forum.
That’s not to say there’s no creative and professional development going on: last year there were talks from the likes of Book of Life director Jorge Gutiérrez, Into The Spiderverse art director David Bleich and Magic The Gathering art director Cynthia Sheppard – plus Shadowboxing live art classes from Nadezda, VR painting classes from Goro Fujita, recruitment sessions with major studios including Naughty Dog and a lot of Power Ranger costumes.
Tickets are on sale now.
October 16 London
Interact London is a leading design conference that explores the roles that digital design, user experience, artificial intelligence, strategy, and everything in between play in today’s society.
The speakers and talks – both as yet unannounced – presented represent a mix of ‘philosophy and practice’ from some of the most accomplished thinkers and practitioners in their fields, and this year’s theme is ‘The Human & The Machine.’
October 21-25 Turin
VIEW Conference is the premiere international event in Italy on Computer Graphics, Interactive Techniques, Digital Cinema, 2D/3D Animation, VR and AR, Gaming and VFX.
Last year none other than Hans Zimmer did the keynote, and other guests included animator Nora Twomey.