The 2019 International Design Conference was met with plenty of excitement and expectations, now in its second year of new branding and re-imagined conference experience. The Windy City of Chicago hosted students, educators, and design professionals from all over the world for this year's annual conference. Held at Venue Six10, the IDC was strategically placed near landmarks such as Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, and an incredible view of the attractions along the Lakefront.
After-Hours Event at IA Collaborative : The Chicago Experience allowed designers to fully experience the studio culture of the downtown area
As a primer to the conference, the educational symposium featured thought-provoking paper presentations, lectures, and Undergraduate and Graduate student merit award winners. The symposium led up to the highly anticipated event of the evening: the IDEA Gala. The competitive international design ceremony honored category winners from 19 industry disciplines, selected from nearly 1,600 entries coming from 24 countries and regions.
Look at all those cellphone snaps!
Day one of the IDC was kicked off by Brett Lovelady, whose lecture sparked conversation on AI, and how advanced technology should mimic the humanistic tones of charisma, authenticity, and familiarity. Cheryl Durst's lecture on the rebranding of diversity was particularly striking, as she painted a picture of what diversity in the future should be. Durst challenges the design community to be more forthright on the barriers and actions we have in place that prevents the design community from being fully inclusive. Listening to the call to action on the stage of an international conference was groundbreaking, and as a female designer, I found it encouraging; I am anticipating the impact this will have on those who have the power to make this message a reality. The IDC also catered to topics surrounding environmental sustainability and the need for collaboration across nations to find solutions to the very dire problems of our age.
On Day 2, J Mays told his keynote audience, "We have microplastics in our water, in our food. We must stop this propelled usage of plastic". Presenter Krista Donaldson brought to light the impact of climate change, its hindrance on global advancement, and how product design will play a major role in our resilience against it.
Laura Silva initiating conversation between members in the audience.
These thoughtful presentations were framed with a short but engaging Q&A by Fast Company's Mark Wilson, who served as MC for day one. At the end of the day, Wilson reflected on the day's lectures in attentive rapid-fire summaries. Day two of the conference was MC'd by Marcelle van Beusekom of IDEO-San Francisco, who brought her insight and industry experience to her Q&A.
McKayla Barber mid-lecture on How to Lose Your Female Designer in 10 days
The IDC encapsulates what a contemporary design conference should look and feel like. It was an integrated blend of tech, traditional ID-ers, UX/ UI designers, graphic designers, and educators within a safe space to have thoughtful conversation. IDC 2019 was an illumination of what IDSA has planned for the future, and I'm excited to be along for the ride.