10 Truths We Learned at DesignThinkers 2018

June 12, 2018

10 Truths We Learned at DesignThinkers 2018

At the first 2018 instalment of DesignThinkers last month, designers were dropping a lot of industry truth bombs. RGD rounds up 10 of the best




“Wow, that looks great!” Lie.


“We made a few tweaks to the project and we think you’ll love it.” Lie.


“I can definitely work on that this weekend.” Lie.


It can be challenging to speak the truth as a designer. We often feel as if our opinion is best, we don’t want to offend someone or we just feel uncomfortable saying what’s really on our minds.


The DesignThinkers Conference in Vancouver this May tackled the issue of honesty in design. Led by the theme of “Speak the Truth,” over 700 creative professionals and students gathered to listen to world-renowned designers share insights on the industry. Conference delegates left after the two-day event with not only thoughtful and relevant creative advice, but also knowing that they aren’t alone in their challenges and frustrations.




Here are 10 design truths that were uncovered at DesignThinkers 2018 VAN:


1. Your career is more than just your job title.


“A career isn't just being a graphic designer, web designer, brand manager, project manager. A career is doing a bunch of little things that make you happy.” — Meg Lewis


2. Test everything. And then test it again.


“Make sure that the project you're working on is usable. It doesn't matter how many hours you spent on something if it won't work.” — Vida Jurcic


3. Fight for an accessible, inclusive and diverse design community.


"If we make it accessible, it will be inclusive. If we make it inclusive, it will be diverse." — Angela Bains


4. Empathy and good design go hand in hand.


“As designers, we need to look at what motivates people's behaviours, and then tie all of our designs back to that.” — Grace Hwang



5. Clients pay your bills, but you’re also accountable to their users.


"Every user is your boss." — Krys Blackwood


6. Slow down and enjoy the process.


“Backroads make us explorers, and I’m positive that as designers, that’s what we’re meant to do. We’re meant to explore.” — Bob Hambly


7. Every member on your team needs to feel important.


“People will support what they’re a part of.” — Stephen Gates


8. Sometimes creativity is the destination, not the starting point.


“We don’t grow into creativity; we grow out of it.” — Michael Lejeune


9. Inclusive design engages as many of the senses as possible.


“The best design appeals to people at multiple sensory levels.” — Ellen Lupton



10. Your ability to think is just as important as your ability to create.


“It’s more important for emerging designers to understand how they think than focus on what’s in their arsenal of design.” — Forest Young


Want in on the truth-telling action? DesignThinkers Toronto is happening on October 24 and 25, 2018. Registration is open now; take advantage of Super Early rates and register before June 22.


The Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) promotes professional standards in the graphic design industry and authors a quarterly column on the Applied Arts website.