The ones to watch: Design Matters ’19
A nice crowd at our Jayway stand at Design Matters

The ones to watch: Design Matters ’19

It’s the fifth edition of the Copenhagen-based design conference and again it has grown to new proportions. Over 1000 designers from all over the world gathered for a two-day celebration of design with many great talks and nerd tracks (workshop, salons, more talks). This years venue, an old locomotive workshop, was very impressive and added lots of space to lounge, play or meet. Once again, Jayway Copenhagen built the conference app and we represented as usual with a delegation of Jayway designers. All the talks are now available on youtube and in this blog I wanted to share with you my personal recommendations. The ones to watch!

This year the three themes were ‘Minimal Tech‘, ‘Design + Activism’ and ‘Are we on the same page?’ and I have hand-picked the best talks in each category to share with you :)

Minimal Tech

About the theme

“Screens take up too much of our time and attention, and we need less intrusive digital products to avoid a tech burnout. We must get rid of attention-stealing clutter, stress-inducing notifications, and addictive time-consuming functions. Let’s create digital products that are less intrusive, with a less visible presence, slower, and help us thrive as human beings! In this theme, we look into how we can create functional and joyful products that will actually make us feel better!”

Timo Dries, Executive Director at Fox & Sheep
“The creation of SHINE and what to consider when attacking a T-Rex with a torch light”

“In 2018, Fox & Sheep wanted to try something new. So, they left their comfort zone of cute characters and bright colors and set out to a new adventure: A mindful app for the whole family that doesn’t feed on the player’s dopamine levels.

In this talk, Timo provided insights on how Fox & Sheep approached their project with SHINE, analyzing what worked and also what went horribly wrong.”

Beth Chasse, Senior Product Designer, Duolingo
“Design Language: How Duolingo Learned to Teach Everyone”

“Duolingo is the most popular tool for learning a language in the world. With over 300 million users, how do they personalize everyone’s learning experience? Serious learners want to be challenged, but casual users just want to do something more productive than zombie-scrolling through social media posts.

Beth went behind the scenes to see how Duolingo uses Design to solve intractable business problems, whether it’s personalizing flows for their diverse user types or the makeover of Duo – their beloved owl mascot -.”

Jeannie Huang, Senior Product Designer, Behance
“The Deliberate Practice of Boredom”

“We spend so much of our mental energy trying to optimize our time or improve our creative productivity, but boredom is necessary for our creative work. As creatives, the best way to improve our creativity is by deliberately adding boredom and non-work time to our schedules.

Jeannie guided the audience in defining the right kind of boredom that helps people design better, giving practical and concrete suggestions.”

Featured: Malmö Brownbag (8/10)

Design + Activism

About the theme

“Design is a powerful tool that can create awareness on difficult topics, gather minorities, and give subcultures a voice. Even though changing human behavior is difficult, we need to move from a user-centric to a society-centric design approach. This theme is about how we can create products that empower people, break taboos, and make a political impact. And how designers can contribute to a movement for positive change.”

Emil & Jacob, Creative Director & Senior Designer, Virtue
“Meet Q, The First Genderless Voice”

“Boot up the options for your digital voice assistant of choice, and you’re likely to find two options for the gender you prefer interacting with: male or female. The problem is, that binary choice isn’t an accurate representation of the complexities of gender. That’s why Virtue, The creative agency by VICE, created Q – the world’s first genderless voice for voice AI. Created for a future where we are no longer defined by gender”

Can’t wait? Meet Q for yourself here:

Petter Karlsson, Play Designer, Toca Boca
“Creating inclusion in play”

“Do you want to create an inclusive design? Amazing! The ambition to make the world a better place is always great, but finding the right language and process to start and implement the actual work can be much trickier.

In this talk, Petter shared how Toca Boca started to define what they mean by diversity and how they include it in their products. He also shared some other types of support structures they use in their mission to create apps that feel inclusive for kids all over the world.”

Featured: Malmö Brownbag (TBA)

Francesca Desmarais, IxD Lead, CIID
“Climate Adaptation, Design at the Front Lines”

“As designers, we’re familiar with the push of technological change to unlock new potential and innovation. What about the push of environmental change? What does it mean to be a designer when the physical and biologic infrastructure of our world starts rapidly changing?

Francesca is a design lead for the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID) where she spearheads a venture to use digital design to help communities adapt to a changing climate. By sharing case studies and experiences from the field, she discussed how to incorporate Natural Sciences into design work. She explained how to let design amplify other disciplines showing that some of the biggest opportunity for good design might not be where you expect.”

Are we on the same page?

About the theme

“New tools are changing the way designers work, taking teamwork to an entirely new dimension. Suddenly, everybody is working on the same canvas, and it’s no longer “your design”. We need to figure out how to balance fast collaboration with a deep creative focus. This theme is about the role of the designer, collaboration and leading teams, and how designing together can shape the future of our practice.”

Jenny Wen, Product Designer, Figma
“Open Design”

“As designers, we’re pretty familiar with the idea of “designing openly” and of sharing often with our teammates. Designing openly, however, is only a stepping stone for truly open design.

At Figma, they define open design as opening up the definition of who can become a designer, opening up their processes to include their teammates, and finally, opening up the ability to work with the greater community as a whole.
This talk explored how they’ve been embracing open design at Figma, and how it could define the future of the design industry.”

Featured: Malmö Brownbag 23/10

Andrew Schmidt, Senior Product Writer, Slack
“Two Halves of a Wole: how writing makes design better, and vice versa.”

“The way it looks and the way it reads: these are two halves of a whole. As a designer, you’ve likely spent a lot of time thinking about layout, presentation, and interaction. In this talk, Andrew covered the other half. Andrew looked at how storytelling, prose, and a conversational approach to design can elevate your work as a whole.

The audience left with a few content-first tactics for solving design problems, whether they work with a UX writer or pen product copy themselves, but also with a greater appreciation for how language determines the way our work feels and functions”

Mr. Bingo on “Hate Mail”

This is not really a design talk, but part of the late night entertainment. The actual performance doesn’t seem to be recorded, but here is an ealier version of his talk.

“Mr Bingo is an artist and illustrator with a penchant for being, well, a bit abusive – his project & Kickstarter, ‘Hate Mail’ is testament to this, sending good ol’ fashioned insults, handcrafted by post. “

Like I said before, these are just my personal favorites, there are many more talks that you might find worth checking out, you can find the program here and all of videos are available here:

See you next year!