A Short Recap of HOW Design Live 2015

HOW design live logo

Back in the beginning of May, I was fortunate enough to attend the HOW Design Live conference in Chicago. As far as conferences go, it was impressive, with multiple design-related tracks and speakers ranging from Pentagram partners to massively inspiring design individuals like Aaron Draplin (@draplin) and Tina Roth (@swissmiss). I’m not sure how to recap a week’s worth of information into a single post, so I’ll (mostly) link to things I did attend and simply point you to the enormous agenda for the entire conference if you want to see more.

There were people recording these sessions, but the recordings aren’t yet available from what I can tell. I’ll share links once I find them (or they are released).


  • Steve Frykholm: There Can Always Be a First Time
    Steve shared a lot of personal experience, which just so happened to be with a good number of industrial design greats like Irving Harper and the Eames, along with stories from early Herman Miller advertising. There were a number of quotes I jotted down from his talk that I though may come in handy later, “I don’t have any goals, I don’t plan” and “Stop whining. Have a solution” stand out at the top.
  • Margot Bloomstein: Designing Websites that Entice and Engage Users
  • David Womack: Design in the Age of the Invisible Interface @davidjwomack
  • Welcome and Keynote stuff


  • Tina Roth Eisenberg,  The Best Way to Complain is to Make Things
    Tina Roth gave one of the more inspiring and energetic keynotes, and shared a great deal about the work she has been doing. The list of projects she has her hands in is long and include things like @tattly, @creativemorning, @teuxdeux,   @friendsworkhere   – and this list is certainly not exhaustive.  The best quote from her talk, “Yes means yes – figure shit out”.
    More about her story  on the 99u.com site.

    Tina Roth Eisenberg: 5 Rules for Making an Impact from 99U on Vimeo.
  • Rachel Sussman: (Deep) Time is On Your Side
    Rachel’s talk was on the oldest living things in the world and her project to photograph them all. An earlier version of her talk was given at TED,
  • Petrula Vrontikis: Leading, Teaching and Inspiring the New Generation of Digital Nomad
  • Dr. Brenè Brown, PhD: Make. Believe. Courage and Connection
  • Glenn John Arnowitz: Making the Transition from Designer to Design Leader
  • Mark McGuinness: How to Handle Rejection and Criticism as a Creative
  • Tom Peters: Keynote


  • Paula Scher, Keynote
  • Cheryl Heller
  • Christopher Cashdollar: How to Critique Digital Work
  • Michael Bierut: The Observatory, Keynote
    More about The Observatory
  • Faris Yakob: Idea Networks and Media Bosons, Finding and Harnessing Creativity
    More about who he is here, because there is no way I can synopsize him.
    Where awesome is
  • Patrick McNeil: Faster, Better Methods for User Experience Design
  • Karim Rashid:  The Future of Design, Keynote
  • David Eagleman and Lana Rigsby: Haptic Brain, Haptic Brand, Communication and the Neuroscience of Touch
    This presentation was sort of a bit of advertising for one of the paper companies, but did include research about how readers using screens, non-coated papers, and coated papers all had varying results for recall of content read. More about the details of the research on the Sappi website.



  • Michael Hendrix: IDEO, Keynote
  • Aaron Draplin: Tall Tales from a Large Man
    Aaron talked about his work, his approach to design and his life. He is a fabulous speaker and his was easily the most dynamic of the entire week. This isn’t the presentation from HOW, but you can see some of the content at an earlier conference.
  • Philippe Apeloig: Keynote
  • Adrian Shaughnessy and Tony Brook, Keynote
  • Maria Popova and Amanda Palmer, Closing Keynote

Photos from the week at https://goo.gl/photos/Tku1ZmjMCeLU1s5Q8