On The Conference Circuit

D&AD members can now watch excerpts from past President’s Lectures on the D&AD website, including this from illustrator Paul Davis. Details of this year’s lectures are here
Last year, Creative Review staff were lucky enough to attend conferences in Cannes, Havanah, Monterrey and Goa. Next week, I’m off to the Indaba in Cape Town. Just before xmas I met someone who organises a conference in Mar Del Plata, Argentina that is attended by 2000 designers. Every year, more and more talks and conferences are added to the creative calendar, but what are they for?

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D&AD members can now watch excerpts from past President’s Lectures on the D&AD website, including this from illustrator Paul Davis. Details of this year’s lectures are here

Last year, Creative Review staff were lucky enough to attend conferences in Cannes, Havana, Monterrey and Goa. Next week, I’m off to the Indaba in Cape Town. Just before xmas I met someone who organises a conference in Mar Del Plata, Argentina that is attended by 2000 designers. Every year, more and more talks and conferences are added to the creative calendar, but what are they for?

I’ve really enjoyed some of the D&AD President’s Lectures over the years and count myself very fortunate to be able to attend events in some beautiful parts of the world. But, every so often, as yet another designer launches into his (it usually is HIS not HER) hour of show and tell, I start to wonder whether audiences shouldn’t be demanding a little more from the platform. OK, so it’s always interesting to hear great people talk about great work, but there aren’t many who can do themselves justice in front of a crowd (those that can quickly become regular fixtures on the circuit carving out almost a second career as public speakers). Too often it’s just an hour of good-natured, slightly bumbling description about this project or that one followed by a couple of questions along the lines of “how come you’re so great?” or, inevitably, “where do you get your ideas?”

Often audiences come away from these sessions saying “wow, wasn’t so-and-so amazing!” but what they really mean is that the work is amazing – so-and-so was really a bit dull, trotted out the same old work we’d already seen ad nauseum in magazines and overran his time-slot so there was no time for questions, no matter how dull.

For the April issue of Creative Review, I’ve asked Rick Poynor to give us his thoughts on the value of the ever-expanding world of design conferences but, in advance of that, I wanted to open things up here on the blog and canvas your opinions.

So, what do you think?
Are you happy with what you are getting from conference organisers?
What do you want to see more of? Less of?
How could conferences or lectures change their format to make for something more valuable?
What was the best lecture that you’ve seen and why?

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