Said by the best - Design Thinkers 2014

Recently I had the opportunity to once again attend RGD's Annual Design Thinkers Conference in Toronto, Ontario. With my mind open and my brain in desperate need of some inspiration, I sat down in the main auditorium of the Sony Centre excited to see what this years speakers had to share. From the witty and outspoken Aaron Draplin, to the observant and knowledgeable Mary Lewis and the hilariously genuine Jessica Walsh (just to name a few) my experience was one of the best yet. By the end of the conference I left feeling refreshed, inspired, excited and ready to drop a few hundred dollars on Amazon. My first purchase will be a shiny new sketch book!

Here's some of the advice I took home from these enthusiastic individuals that I plan on incorporating into my work and life as a designer.


First win the eye, then the heart, then the mind.
Every design must earn its space, be rigorously relevant and rooted in truth.

- Mary Lewis, Creative Director and Partner of Lewis Moberly


Well designed ideas respect people’s intelligence – they’re built on more than novelty.

- Andrew Deitchman, Co-founder & CEO of Mother New York



5 Principles of Design

From Todd Waterbury, Executive Creative Director and Senior VP of Marketing at Target

Design should be:

  1. Emotional - Design that listens with an open heart and creates change with an open mind
  2. Useful - Design that challenges lifes complexities to simplify the everyday
  3. Democratic - Design that uncovers a one-of-a-kind idea and is intended for everyone
  4. Insightful - Design that focuses on the details
  5. Purposeful - Design that forms from an individual need and functions for the greater good.

If it isn't written down then it's not a rule.

- Andy Epstein


It's ok to question everything. Ask why.

- Charles Adler, Co-founder of Kickstarter


Design process made simple

From Joesph Duffy, Co-founder and Design Director of Duffy and Partners

  • Get inspired daily
  • Create your process
  • Ask questions and listen to answers
  • Do your homework
  • Justify why
  • Sketch like a lunatic
  • Only do work that you are proud of

The goal of graphic design is to get inside people’s heads & get them to think about things differently

- Richard Turley, Senior VP of Visual Storytelling & Deputy Editorial Director at MTV


How to Play

Jessica Walsh, Partner at Sagmeister & Walsh

Play is a state of mind in which we feel challenged, focused and creative. Play prepares us. Play shapes the brain. Play is not just for children. It is proven that adults who play tend to be more productive at work and at life in general. Play is an essential state of mind that creatives need to seek out and incorporate into every day.

How to play:

  • Have the confidence to fail
  • Persistence is key
  • Have a sense of humour
  • Give yourself plenty of time
  • Have space away from the project
  • Have intrinsic motivation to do the work

We design for communication, not for pretty pages. We will only start when there is content.

- Erik Spiekermann, Creative Director at Edenspiekermann