Official 2018 Site to Launch September 2017—Make sure to check back!

Boston / April 30 – May 3 / 2018

Blog Post

Behind the scenes at the HOW Design Live Planning Session for 2018

Amy Conover

Do you wonder how the keynote speakers get chosen for HOW Design Live? And how we decide how many tracks or breakout sessions to include? And how we come up with new activities and creative ways to surprise our attendees to ensure every year of HOW Design Live is even more amazing, engaging and “can’t afford to miss it” than the year before?

We would LOVE to tell you because we just started the planning process for 2018 HOW Design Live in Boston April 30 –May 3

We have ambitious plans over the next year—to launch The REACH Conference November 13-14, 2017, develop the HDL 2018 program, build a NEW co-located marketing program for HDL 2018 and expand our reach into the packaging design market with the Dieline Conference.  

We are beyond excited about where we are AND where HOW Design Live is headed. Just to be a small part of an event that changes lives, makes a difference in people and communities, gives back through an official social cause (go Wheels4Water!), connects complete strangers and re-connects friends, and provides inspiration and creative opportunities is truly a gift….one we don’t take for granted.

Planning HOW Design Live 2018

What surprises most people is that we start planning next year’s event almost immediately after this year’s. That means we don’t get much of a break but the upside is this: everything is still fresh in our minds. Who really wants a break from planning the most amazing event ever, right?

So in June, we all met up in New York at the School of Visual Arts (thanks Debbie Millman and Emily Weiland for being such gracious hosts) to spend two days hunkered down with delicious New York pizza (the menu is my job, too!) and plenty of coffee. The cast of characters includes our Program Partners: Debbie Millman, Andrew Gibbs, Ilise Benun and Zac Petit along with our marketing and HOW management teams.

We try to keep everyone to the agenda, but it’s also about spontaneity. It’s a great mix of getting the job done and allowing our creative ideas to flow. New on the agenda for this past year was discussing and identifying our core values as a team, as a company, as an event, plus conversation and consensus about what makes HOW Design Live unique. (thanks Zac Petit for putting our manifesto together).

Day one started with sharing stories and anecdotes about our own experiences of the conference, impressions of our favorite keynotes, and of course, a few “oops” moments… yep… those happen! You’ll be happy to know we spend quite a bit of time going over the attendee survey and reading all the comments—most of which are super positive. And some are tough to read, but oh so important. We take all your comments to heart and appreciate everyone who completes the survey. It’s great to hear what went well, but we also need to know what wasn’t as amazing as we had hoped so we can improve on it moving forward.

It’s super important for us to remember where we started, who we’ve been, what we’ve done to make us who we are in the industry, and what is important to maintain. So, we spent a little time checking out a presentation that included pics of all our brochure covers from the past 27 years…. Yes. 27. We do have some longevity in the design industry, right? While remembering who we are, it’s equally as important to determine where we’re headed in the future. We determined that a huge focus for us is to look at how we can do what we do really well and focus on what makes us unique and different from other design events… back to those 27 years J

Then we moved to the nitty-gritty details of the program and threw some of these questions on the table: how many days should the conference be, how many tracks, what should they be, how many keynotes, sparks and break-out sessions, what topics should we cover, what type of speakers should we recruit and what should the mix be (Practical and hands on vs. “brand” recognition vs. inside or outside the design industry) what fun activities can we add, and how can we make our Exhibit Hall more engaging for our exhibitors and attendees. The list is long and the conversation is fast and engaging—note-taking is a challenge for sure!

As usual, in the end, we have way too many ideas, so now the process is to narrow it down and get the 2018 HOW Design Live party started!

 If you can’t already tell, we totally love our planning meeting and look forward to it every year. It’s the one time we can all come together without the exciting craziness of the actual event and really focus on what we’re trying to achieve. It is an awesome time of collaborating, brainstorming and sharing! We hope this little insight was helpful. we’ll keep you posted along the way. And please feel free to reach out to me anytime with ideas, suggestions, or questions. This is OUR HOW Design Live… and we’re happy to share the fun!