When you first hear about design week, it may feel exclusive or not for you. While this event focuses mainly on design, the elements and greater themes from designing for good to the way we live our lives in the modern digital landscape are applicable to everyone. Portland’s agency culture combined with a focus on sustainability and a forward-thinking community means it’s a prime candidate for one of the best design weeks possible.

The emphasis of design week focuses on graphic design, but elements of traditional crafting and telling stories still stays relevant. This year, designing for good and sharing skills are also integral to the process. From open houses to presentations to demonstrations, whatever you’re interested in you can probably find an event that suit you. In this blog, we want to chat about what you should know before you attend design week, and some tips to help you integrate with the community.

  1. Don’t be afraid to heart all the events you’re interested in. You can narrow down your choices later.
  2. Get your tickets early. Every year, design week grows in popularity and many events sell out.
  3. Break out of your comfort zone. Learning about something new, trying a talk that isn’t as popular, or venturing into a new part of the city for open houses can be illuminating. Don’t be afraid to get as creative with your design week schedule as design week is.

The programs this year continue to highlight the individuality of Portland’s place in design. As a small city, innovation and pushing forward isn’t always easy but with a cluster of talented creatives we continue to see some of the best creative design in the world.

Attending the main stage events? Here are just a few of the talks that we suggest checking out:

  • How Can Designers Make Positive Global Change: Instead of just focusing on just the best designs, how can we incorporate the changing digital and global landscape? This talk will discuss the ways designers can have global impact by building community and diplomacy.
  • Is sustainable food scaleable? This talk will explore the ways that sustainable food is farmed and managed. Can meat be sustainable? What are the ways we as consumers can help shape the food landscape to help improve sustainability and food quality?
  • What do we do after the protest? How do we create actionable change within our communities? While social media and protest as a form of raising awareness is valuable, understanding how to change systems and the must-haves for movements that succeed will help us make measureable change in our communities.
  • Can we afford a functional life? With this piece, Adele Santos will discuss the context of squatter settlements and affordable housing for artists and creators with the context of both Portland’s housing crisis and the Oakland Ghost-Ship fire as catalysts for an in-depth analysis.

Don’t forget, Mad Fish is holding an open house as well. On Tuesday, April 25th, you can join us in our Northwest office from 4PM-7PM to talk data-driven design over drinks and snacks. You’ll be able to connect with our design team, strategists, and content creators to gain a full understanding of our process and how we measure results. Get the full details here. We can’t wait to see you!