Design Conferences and Festivals

Architecture and Design Film Festival

The Architecture & Design Film Festival is the nation’s largest film festival celebrating the creative spirit behind some of the world’s most remarkable architecture and design. The five-day event takes place in New York in the fall and Chicago in the spring.  The film program typically screens over 30 films from around the world that run the gamut from feature length to prizewinning shorts. The festival also features talk-backs, conversations with industry leaders, book signings and more.

Architecture Film Festival (Rotterdam)

The Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (AFFR) is a biennial festival of four days with debates and lectures, focusing on the link between film and architecture. []

Art Center Design Conference

The biennial Art Center Design Conference is a three-day international gathering of entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and innovators from various fields and disciplines. The 2008 Conference, Serious Play, explored the essential role of play in business, the arts, science, storytelling and technology.

Auckland Architecture Week

An annual celebration taking place in Auckland, New Zealand, that includes exhibitions, movies and discussions covering a range of topics that fit broadly within the field of architecture and the built environment.

Barcelona Design Week

An annual initiative organized by Barcelona Design Center (BCD) that promotes debate about design on an international scale.

A Better World by Design Conference

A conference founded and organized annually by an interdisciplinary group of students from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design; takes place in Providence, Rhode Island and aims to bring a global community of innovators from a variety of disciplines to discuss design, technology, and sustainability.

Budapest Design Week

Held by Design Terminal Nonprofit and the Hungarian patent office, Budapest Design Week takes place at various venues throughout the city, from big museums to public spaces and small cult venues to highlight a different theme each year.

CitiesAlive World Green Roof Infrastructure Congress

The only event in North America that gathers the international green infrastructure community together to address the issues of green infrastructure as they relate to environmental, social and economic needs on a local, regional and global level; held in partnership with the City of Toronto, Canada and the World Green Roof Infrastructure Network.

Copenhagen Design Week

An initiative from the Danish Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs and directed by the Danish Design Centre, Copenhagen Design Week provides a rich mix of trade shows, exhibitions, experiences, discussions, and networking.


Presented by the San Francisco chapter of AIGA and the AIGA Center for Sustainable Design (CFSD), this interdisciplinary conference explores the range of design thinking necessary to create a socially and ecologically responsible society.

Coroflot Creative Confab

A roving series of networking events and discussion panels on the future of creative employment.

Design History Society Conference

This conference encourages participants to reflect on their sources, methodology, research and dissemination processes to examine the issues mobilized by articulating design and material culture with language, and the ways in which writing about objects has conditioned our understanding of design.

Design Indaba

Design Indaba aims to drive a better world through creativity with conferences, expos, magazines and projects that improve the quality of living in Cape Town and the world.

Design Philadelphia

A Cultural even spotlighting all things design from architecture to interior design, fashion to product design, textile to graphic design through a series of exhibitions, workshops, tours, lectures, opening parties, and more.

Design Miami Basel

An global that brings together influential dealers, collectors, designers, curators, and critics from around the world in celebration of design culture and commerce. Two shows are held each year: Design Miami (every December in Miami) and Design Miami/Basel (every June in Basel, Switzerland).

Design Research Conference

Hosted by the IIT Institute of Design, The Design Research Conference in Chicago brings together a growing community of design professionals advancing the role of design research in innovation. The conference strives to spread knowledge through the discussion of compelling case studies, innovative methods, and the sustainability of design research.

Designblok Prague

An annual week-long exhibition of new pieces from the world of design, taking place in selected showrooms, boutiques, and galleries situated all over Prague.


A biennial international event that brings design and economic experts to survey and analyze the social influence of design on everyday life, the business world, and national economy.

DMI Design/Management

Organized by Boston’s Design Management Institute and Collaborative Initiatives at MIT, this conference geared for design managers presents speakers who are designing for change, providing lessons for how design can help us to reframe, rethink and reinvent the future.

DMY International Design Festival

A five-day design festival that takes place every spring in Berlin, Germany, that serves as a place for networking, trend studies, and design laboratory.

Dutch Design Week

A design festival held every October in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Dwell on Design

Dwell on Design 2010 sill be The West Coast’s Largest Modern Design Event, with 15,200 Attendees, 175+ Exhibitors and 120 Media representatives.


An international Biennale dedicated to design, architecture, and creativity, designed to provide insight and incentive both to a specialized audience and the public at large, disseminating information and fuelling debate. Held in Lisbon and Amsterdam in alternating years.

Explore Design (Toronto)

ED is a consortium of educational institutions, associations and professional groups that offers interactive exhibits, hands-on workshops, seminars, and keynote presentations by internationally recognized design professionals; takes place annually in Toronto, Canada.

Future History 3: 21st Century Curriculum

In 2009, Future History 3 explored current and future curricular challenges and innovations, and their relationship to traditional frameworks of design education. A project of AIGA in partnership with Adobe Systems, hosted by the University of Illinois at Chicago.

GAIN: AIGA Business and Design Conference

At Gain, attendees hear today’s success stories from a select group of business and design leaders from a variety of industries, who team up to share their innovative approaches to generating greater return on investment, fostering emotional connections and providing positive brand experiences for customers.


Gel (Good Experience Live) is a conference and community exploring good experience in all its forms: in business, art, society, technology, and life.

Gravity Free

Gravity Free is a multidisciplinary design conference of remarkable designers, design thinkers and innovators from around the world who are changing the way we see the world. The conference is small and intimate (400 people), with approximately 20 speakers presenting and leading roundtable discussions.

Gwangju Design Biennale

A biennale known for its curatorial experiments in the field of contemporary art, the event takes place in Gwangju, home to some of South Korea’s best-preserved cultural relics.

HOW Design Conference

The 2009 Conference, which took place in Austin Texas, from June 24–27, 2009, featured more than 45 sessions on everything from Photoshop to collaborating with clients; 8 workshops; Austin Studio Tours, and a large design resource center.

IASDR (Seoul, South Korea)

An international design research conference held by the International Association of Societies of Design Research (IASDR) that brings top design researchers and practitioners from around the world to Seoul, South Korea.


The International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) is North America’s leading event for contemporary furniture design. Each year, it draws a diverse crowd of design professionals to an extraordinary display of the world’s cutting-edge modern furniture, a rigorous curriculum of programs, and a full calendar of related exhibits and features.

Icograda World Design Congress

Icograda (the International Council of Graphic Design Associations) is the world body for professional communication design. Its 2009 congress, held October 29–30 in Beijing, China, seeks to explore the contemporary issues and challenges facing communication design.

ICSID World Design Congress

Held biennally in a member country, this event held by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) and brings together an international audience to reflect, share and propose directions to advance the design industry.

Interior Design Show

Canada’s largest contemporary design fair, attended by 50,000 design professionals, consumers, and media.

IDSA International Conference and Education Symposium

The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)’s annual conference that brings together design practitioners, educations, students, business leaders, and vendors from all over the world discuss practical solutions through design.

IFI General Assembly

A two-day, biennial international meeting of members of the International Federation of Interior Architects.

IFLA World Congress

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)’s annual conference to discuss libraries, information services, and their users.

IIID Traffic and Transport

Organized by the International Institute for Information Design (IIID), this event addresses the shared interests of planners, designers, researchers, suppliers, essential users, transport authorities and educators, and provides the annual meeting ground for face-to-face discussions. Conference talks focus on the latest developments and trends deemed to be the currently most relevant.

Image Space Object

The Image Space Object Workshop is a four-day design conference in Denver that draws the country’s top experts in people-centered design research to speak about the tools and methods of their practices. Participants receive mentoring to apply in their own careers.

Interior Design Show

The Interior Design Show (ISD) is Canada’s annual design show and event, attended by the professional design trade, a broad consumer audience, and members of the media. Since its inception in 1998, over 500,000 design professionals, consumers and media have attended to see innovative international and Canadian products, presented by 300 exhibitors annually.

Interior Motives

Europe Design Conference An annual forum for leading designers and experts from automotive design and technology to combine concepts and ideas with the external design world, such as fashion, architecture, and furniture design.

International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam

An international research biennale founded on the conviction that architecture is a matter of public interest, focusing on urban development; takes place in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, Netherlands.

International Design Forum

An annual forum, held in Dubai, that promotes design as a tool for cultural understanding and commerce and seeks to generate open discussion around the critical role design must play in determining the global landscape of tomorrow.

London Architecture Festival

A biennial celebration and exploration of the city’s architecture, with a program that includes street installations, exhibitions, guided walks, cycle rides, boat tours, design workshops, debates, street markets, and more.

London Design Festival

The London Design Festival is an annual event established to celebrate and promote London as a creative capital of the world. The Festival provides a platform for the creative talent at work and creates a unique opportunity to visit over 200 specific events and activities reflecting the diversity of world-class design talent in the city.


An annual festival of light held in Frankfurt, Germany, held in the early summer, that installs hundreds of lighting art around the city and covers every aspect of lighting design, the art of light, and urbanism in the Rhine-Main region. Luminale accompanies Light+Building, a leading international trade fair at the Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre.

MADE Expo, Milan

Following the success of the 2009 edition of the Architecture fair—which registered some 1,700 exhibitors and drew in over 200,000 industry professionals—MADE Expo 2010 aims at reviving the construction sector by showcasing innovative technologies for planning, building and renovating. Various ancillary conferences, meetings and theme exhibits will accompany the exhibitor exposition.

Make/Think AIGA Design Conference

A design conference held every two years by AIGA, Make/Think gathers the design community to celebrate design excellence, explore the dual roles of designers as makers and problem solvers, and stimulate thinking about the critical issues that surround design practice.


The only trade fair in Germany to deal exclusively with material applications, usrfaces, and product engineering.

Milan Furniture Fair

In its 48th year, the expansive Milan furniture fair 2009 showcases new products of all varieties: lamps, objects, textiles, furniture. For one week, 2,723 designers and furniture companies, many from outside Italy, show off their latest designs and prototypes to the some 350,000 attendees.

MX Design Conference

An annual event held by the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, MX Design Conference explores the impact of design on the global economy, social equity, environment, education, and more.

National Design Week

Founded in 2006 by the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City, National Design Week aims to draw attention to the ways that design enrcihes every day life, through outreach to teachers and students and partnerships with design organizations across the country. Museum admission is free during the week, and the National Design Awards are held in conjunction.

Neocon World Trade Fair

The largest exhibition of contract furnishings for the design and management of the built environment in North America. Held annually in Chicago, NeoCon features all facets of design and attracts architects, interior designers, facility managers, space planners, distributors, manufacturers, managers, owners, students, and more.

Opportunity Green

A annual conference held in Los Angeles, California that explores a collaborative culture of new thinking and unconventional ideas on leading the new green economy and creating opportunities through sustainability.

PopTech Conference

PopTech’s conference, held each October in Camden, Maine, brings together an an eclectic network of industry leaders, scientists, technologies, social change agents, artists, educators, the press, bloggers, explorers and one-of-a-kind thought-leaders from a huge variety of fields and number of different places, all bound together by an intense curiosity about the forces, challenges and opportunities shaping our future

RIBA Annual Conference

An yearly event, organized by the Royal Institute of British Architects, designed to encourage discourse on issues surrounding the identity of international, national, and local architecture.

SEED Conference

This one-day conference in Chicago tackles design, entrepreneurship and inspiration with talks by current innovators in design and communication.

Singapore Design Festival

An annual meeting place for designers, design thought leaders, and design clients of the world; fosters discussion on how design can make a difference to improve lives and create possibilities for tomorrow through lectures, exhibitions, and curated showcases.

South By Southwest Interactive (SXSW)

SXSW Interactive features five days of presentations from bright minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and a lineup of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer.

State of Design Festival

An initiative of the Victorian State Government in Australia and the public face of the Design Victory Strategy, the festival is held annually in Australia and increases the awareness of the value of design while showcasing how it can generate innovation, promote sustainability, and add value to business and society. []

Stockholm Design Week

A week-long event in Stockholm, Sweden that centers around the Stockholm furniture fair and the Northern Light Fair. The fair takes place all over the city with an extensive program of events in city showrooms, museums, galleries and furniture stores.

Taiwan Design Expo

A flagship event in the field of Taiwanese design, Taiwan Design Expo’s inaugural run will take place in 2009 in central urban Taiwan. []

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design)

Along with the annual TED Conference in Long Beach, California, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK, the nonprofit TED presents TEDIndia Conference and the annual TED Prize. The annual conferences in Long Beach and Oxford bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). Past speakers include Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Brian Greene and Paola Antonelli, among many other luminaires.

Tenerife Design Festival

An event dedicated to design that fuses the international design scene with the main features of local design from the Canary islands, through the three key concepts of local identity, landscape contrast, and tourism.

Tokyo Designers Week

An annual festival of industrial, interior, product, and technological design in Tokyo, Japan, filled with exhibitions, events, gallery shows, parties, and more. []

Urban Design Conference

An annual conference organized by the Department of City Planning/Urban Design Center at North Carolina State University that explores design strategies, planning, development and policy of urban design.


UX Week is the premier user experience conference for professionals at all levels—directors, managers, and practitioners—with a mix of inspiring talks from recognized thought leaders and hands-on workshops delivering takeaway skills.

Venice Architecture Biennale

The Venice Architecture Biennale is among the most anticipated and ambitious design show in the world, featuring a core exhibition of work by the leading names of the profession, plus a collection of national pavilions filled with designs by lesser-known architects.

Vienna Design Week

An annual festival to show and enable people to experience the many-faceted creative work in the fields of product, furniture and industrial design as well as experimental design.

Web Design World Seattle

A yearly conference held for designers, developers and the public to discuss technical innovation, web design, and user experience.

Western Design Conference

Hosted by Teton Home and Living Magazine; brings together crafts people, scholars, collectors, interior designers, architects, and fashion designers with an interest in the West.

World Architecture Festival

An annual international architectural event of seminars and exhibitions, specially curated from a competition of entries from over 60+ countries worldwide. []

‹ Resources


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