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The Design Conference Scales Up with 27 Speakers & 1 Baby

The Design Conference 2024 has officially wrapped in Meanjin as of Friday June 7, having expanded the hearts and minds of Australia’s design community. Read on for our highlights, and keep scrolling for an exclusive Mavens offer for VOD playback. Let's go!

27 speakers from around the world took to the TDC stage, which served as the ultimate equaliser; a place where vulnerability, gratitude, community and creativity could do more than just co-exist – they could fold into each other with open arms. And it just so happened in front of 700 people. 

Everything about TDC was designed to deliver a human-first experience. From the venue’s accessibility to the late start time for interstate guests, to the diverse speakers and Welcome to Country from Joseph Ruska – this was an event curated with love. 

If you didn’t notice these things off the bat, they became apparent when Founder Matthew Haynes took the stage. First acknowledging students dialling in (with free streaming for every major university around the country), then humbly thanking collaborators and partners. Confessing nerves. Sharing with the audience his partner was due to give birth any moment (she did on Day 3). And bursting with pride and passion at the privilege of bringing together so many incredible humans. What better way to set the stage for radical honesty? 

It was clear from that point this would be a transformative experience, and local and international speakers and panelists did not disappoint. Topics included design guardianship, finding your voice, overcoming fear, design business practicalities, designing for inclusivity and much more. Panel conversations were facilitated by Jasmin Bedir, CEO at Innocean Australia and Gemma O’Brien, Artist/Illustrator/Typographer.  

Here's an overview of the schedule and the key moments to play back via video on demand (20% off for Mavens readers).

Day 1

  • Corine Roesner, Roes Coach, Australia

  • Rogan Jansen, DashDigital® Studio, South Africa

  • Arielle & Claudia, For The People, Australia

  • Anzac Tasker, Guardians, New Zealand

  • Guillermo Flores, Orbeh Studio, Mexico

  • Patrick Guerrera, Re Agency, Australia

VOD must-watch, Day 1: Rogan Jansen's generously shared, hard-won knowledge about pipelines, clients and pricing: "the only way to do this properly is to fail a lot". Plus, For The People's Arielle and Claudia and their uniquely positive approach to problems (and how to solve them).

Day 2

  • Mat Voyce, Independent, United Kingdom

  • Mat Bogust, Think Packaging, New Zealand

  • Mat Voyce, Designer, United Kingdom

  • Julie Solvstrom, Artist, Canada

  • Casey Martin, Play, United States

  • Cristina & Anita, R/GA Australia

  • Nu Goteh, Deem Journal, United States

  • Yen Trinh, Pipit, Australia

VOD must-watch, Day 2:  Career highs, lows and radical vulnerability from packaging aficionado Mat Bogust. Plus, Julie Solvstrom blowing shit up in the name of art, and Anita and Cristina on on designing for inclusivity.

Day 3 

  • Emmi Salonen, Studio Emmi, United Kingdom

  • Carmen & Guido, Niceshit, Spain

  • Emmi Salonen, Studio Emmi, Finland

  • Hadzidy & Ana, By Fiction, Mexico City

  • Richie Meldrum, Bare Brand Strat, Australia

  • Rob & Dominic, Mucho, United States

  • Paul & Kiel, Pennybridge, Australia

  • Kelvin Soh, DDMMYY, New Zealand

  • Tarra van Amerongen, Atlassian Design, Australia

VOD must-watch, Day 3:  Hadzidy and Ana might not have founded By Fiction, but the men who did chose to pass them the mic. Because they are amazing and had never spoken on stage before. Safe to say, they slayed. That's allyship, and we love to see it!

Attendees were also granted special offers for five-star hotel Ovolo The Valley, meal deals at some of Brisbane’s best eateries, daily workshops (ticketed separately) and an epic after party at Felons Brewing Co, down at the Howard Smith Wharves overlooking the river. What a way to wrap three incredible days of design excellence! 

If you're feeling the FOMO, TDC have an exclusive 20% off streaming offer for Mavens readers – get it here. Or, check out the first ten minutes of each speaker set on TDC's YouTube here.

Already planning your IRL visit for next year? Join the wait list for Second Release Passes (Save 30%) launching early September.

A massive thank you to TDC’s 2024 partners: Genesis Motors Australia, Numeral, Brisbane City Council, Streamtime. Ovolo The Valley, Felons Brewing Co., Left Bank Art Group. Eva, The Design Careers, Monolith, Innocean, Heydays, Good Design Awards, The Designers Institute, Sobrah, Creativity For Sale Podcast, Design Business Council, Aruga, Australian Design Radio and Brisbane Powerhouse. 

The Design Conference would also like to extend big love to the hosts, TDC team, speakers and audience who made 2024 an epic success. 

Image credits: Kenneth Phang, Kal Cinema.


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