Top Design Conferences you Should Attend

Networking with others in your design niche is the best way to find new clients and expand your creative talents. However, unless you’re lucky enough to have already built a strong network with other designers both online and locally, you may feel as if your connections are lacking.

While many collaboration opportunities are available in most locations such as designer meet-ups, the best networking opportunities often exist at annual conferences. If your budget will allow for it, make this the year to attend a conference in your design niche and experience the benefits this trip can offer. The following are some of the most highly ranked conferences.

HOW Design Live

You may have missed the deadline for the June 2011 HOW Design Live conference in Chicago but you can begin planning for the 2012 event in Boston. This is a five-day event covering a variety of design disciplines. Prepare for an intensive and inspiring schedule designed to advance your creative talents.

An Event Apart

An Event Apart is a two-day conference for web designers held several times each year in various locations. If you have questions regarding code, design standards, and other web-based topics, consider attending one of the upcoming sessions.

AIGA Design Conference

The AIGA organization is renowned for advancing the world of design and fostering the growth of tomorrow’s top design professionals. The AIGA Design Conference is also committed to these goals and includes an inspiring annual line-up of speakers and workshops.

Photoshop World Conference & Expo

This three-day annual event will push your photography and Photoshop skills into overdrive. If you’re a professional photographer or think photography skills could be utilized in your design niche, the Photoshop World Conference & Expo could be the event for you.


Want to know the future of the web and become part of it? Consider attending the next WebVisions event to expand your creative mind. Be ready to leave your futuristic web-related assumptions at the door.

When trying to determine which conference you would like to attend, request and view the program schedule. Each convention will offer different workshops and networking opportunities, some of which will be more relevant for you than others. By viewing the schedule before buying your tickets, you’ll avoid the frustration of spending money on a trip that won’t offer maximum benefits.

A few preplanning activities should include stocking up on business cards and other marketing materials. You should also create a mental list of questions to ask the top design professionals that’ll be attending. While at the conference, converse with other designers in the workshops you attend. Don’t leave the conference without at least a handful of designers you could potentially network with in the future.

While some design conferences can be a little pricy for small freelancing budgets, if you attend them with the intention of gathering contacts and new design techniques, your money will have been well spent. Have you attended any of these conferences or have you attended others you feel are worth adding to this list?

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