Marketing, education, and hard work is a big part of finding success as a young creative. So is exploring the world of design, tech, and art through conferences and events. It may seem like attending such events are unnecessary luxuries, but thinking this way could be causing you to seriously miss out.
We’re always looking for ways to better ourselves as designers, illustrators, filmmakers, animators, developers, and artists. This almost never stops at graduation, and it usually doesn’t stop at our first paid gig in the industry. Attending design and technology events could provide vital insight into the current state of your particular industry and inspire you with new forms of art and tech. Events and conferences are also fantastic networking opportunities. What do you have to lose?
We put together a list of the top international events that all young creatives should attend, from Portugal to the United States to South Korea.
Trojan Horse Was A Unicorn – Tróia, Portugal
Trojan Horse Was A Unicorn has a simple motto: “Finding your magic is an inside job.” This incredibly unique and refreshing week-long digital art conference is one part professional, one part party. Both make for an informative and immensely fun experience. Why spend the money on Coachella when you can have an equally thrilling experience while also gaining the opportunity to find support as a digital artist?
Main events typically include digital art gallery openings, TED-style talks and conferences, live drawing sessions, and other opportunities to learn more about the digital art industry and network with other creatives. Be sure to bring your portfolio and business cards to this event.
This annual event is usually held in September and has sold out for 2017, so keep an eye out when tickets for 2018 go live. They go fast!
GDC – San Francisco, California
Game Developers Conference is the world’s biggest professional game industry conference. Boasting a typical attendance of nearly 27,000 programmers, artists, designers, and other game design professionals from around the world annually, GDC is the hottest event to attend as a young creative. Over 500 lectures, talks, live tutorials, and discussions are featured at GDC as well as a massive expo showcasing the newest and most innovative tech in game development.
GDC also features the Independent Games Festival, the largest videogame festival in the world, where developers and artists can compete for exposure in the videogame publishing world.
There’s also a Game Developers Choice Awards where peer-supported greats in the industry are awarded the recognition they deserve.
GDC 2017 has already passed, but this event typically takes place in March and tickets for 2018 will be up soon.
TED2017 – Worldwide
“TED” stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design”. This world-famous organization that works to inspire young creatives hosts a yearly event in different places worldwide and boasts a five-day program full of short talks and performance from creatives, comedians, tech startups, and musicians from all of the world. You can also expect to experience live art exhibits, physical demos of up-and-coming technology, dinner parties, and even opportunities to network with other young creatives at TED2017.
To quote TED on their yearly festival, it is “…a week to explore the most pressing questions of our time and to imagine what our shared future might look like. From how we’ll work to how we’ll connect and interact to how we’ll collectively thrive in a world full of change, we’ll ask – and try to answer – the big questions of the moment.”
TED2017 is selling out fast around the globe and tickets for the 2018 event will be up soon. If the fees to get into the conference are a bit too intense for you, consider looking for a live viewing of the conference near you.
99U Conference – New York City, USA
The 99U Conference in New York City is sponsored and organized by Adobe (specifically Behance) and features a ton of speeches and mini-events, both short and long, from iconic creatives in the industries of design and technology. Focused on delivering tangible and valuable tips and tricks for finding success in the creative world, you don’t necessary have to just be a young creative to benefit from this event. Designers and architects that may have hit a wall in their careers can benefit from the motivational atmosphere. You can even hire a career coach to hang out with at the event if you want even more hands-on help.
This year’s conference takes place in June and features a ton of speakers, including Instagram’s head designer Ian Spalter and “Design Matters” host Debbie Millman.
AGI Open – Seoul, South Korea
Have you ever heard of the Alliance Graphique Internationale? It’s an ultra-exclusive vote-only club populated by only the top design and tech inspirations in the world. AGI Open is a showcasing event of these top creatives’ work. The AGI has been around for over fifty years.
If you want to experience some serious inspiration and an inside look at the direction of art, design, and tech but are willing to sacrifice the motivational speech aspect of festivals, AGI Open may be the right choice for you. It is significantly less expensive to register for than many other events on this list.
Registration to attend the AGI Open is expected to go live within the next few months.
TYPO Berlin – Berlin, Germany
TYPO Berlin, also known as TYPO Talks, has been going on for over twenty years and for good reason. It is the continent’s biggest creative design event and includes elements of art, advertising, and technology. A ticket to TYPO Berlin will include access to workshops, admission to most of the conference/talk rooms, video recording access, and meals. 2017’s TYPO Berlin includes speakers and workshop leads from Germany and around the world.
The event takes places at House of World Cultures in the heart of Tiergarten and starts at the end of May.
Web Summit – Lisbon, Portugal
If TYPO Berlin could be considered Europe’s biggest design conference, Web Summit could be considered Europe’s biggest technology festival. The biggest and newest names in the tech world join in at this annual conference, from exciting up-and-coming startups to bigger names like Google, Amazon, and Apple. Purchasing a ticket will give you access to over twenty different conferences at the summit and the ability to listen to speakers like Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and Huffington Post editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington. Other speakers this year include Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bono, and more.
This year’s Web Summit will take place in November and tickets are available now.
Many of these conferences have hefty ticket prices. If you’re fresh out of grad school, there may not be enough wiggle room in your wallet to attend many of these events. Luckily, there are always alternatives.
The internet is packed with live streams and recordings of most of these events. You may not get the hands-on experience of being there, but you can at least soak up some vital wisdom from the speakers and performances, like Gnomon Live and Adobe Max. Just as well, schools, museums, libraries, and everywhere in between are constantly hosting professional talks and special festivals that are anywhere from free to inexpensive. A little research goes a long way.