Behind the Scenes: Speaker Selection Process for HOW Design Conference

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Charismatic, engaging speakers make a successful conference. At least that’s how the editorial team at HOW approaches planning for the HOW Design Conference each and every year.

While we understand the value of networking opportunities, roundtables and social events, having the right program of presenters in place is the most critical aspect of conference planning. Each year we make it our number one priority to curate a HOW Design Conference program that will truly speak to audience needs, inspire designers and reflect the emergent trends and patterns of the industry.

Our speaker selection process is unique because it’s two-fold. For several months the editorial staff spends time researching and seeking out proposals from big industry names and seasoned pros, while also accepting and carefully reviewing proposals as they’re submitted. We collaborate and summon all of our editorial power and industry expertise to eventually finalize speakers—and deliver on our promise of an epic event!

Austin Kleon, HOW Design Conference

Sneak Peek: A Look at HOW Design Conference Speaker Selection

HOWies often ask us: How do you do what you do? With so many qualified and talented speakers to choose from, it’s always work to assemble a diverse and intentional group of presenters year after year. But it’s a job we love to do.

With these burning questions in mind, I caught up with some of my talented HOW teammates to get to know their processes before they come to the larger group with ideas. How does one speaker stand out when sifting through stacks of proposals? How do they assess a speaker’s fit for a particular year?…

And they weighed in…

Every year we’re impressed by the number of engaging proposals submitted to speak at HOW Design Live, so it’s always a challenging process to determine who will be on the program. Designers’ needs are always changing, and one thing we’ve discovered during the program planning process is that the industry experts consistently point to what the current needs are. Then, the program develops naturally around those themes and needs.-Bridgid (McCarren) Agricola, HOW Content Director

When it comes to identifying speakers for our HOW Design Live conference, I tend to look for people who can share very candidly about their practice and examples of what they’ve achieved (as well as mistakes they’ve made and lessons learned). I’m drawn to candidates who have a strong, clear and simple message that the audience can easily apply to their own unique design projects.-Adam Ladd, Art Director, HOW Magazine

HOW Design Conference

The number of talented people who submit proposals and ideas is exciting. And I feel that from this year’s fantastic ideas, we’ve culled together a variety of strong speakers who share information in an accessbile and fun way.-Melissa Mazzeloni, Associate Editor, HOW Magazine

We need the right mix of inspiration and hard-hitting takeaways to get the attendees’ creative juices flowing for months following the HOW conference. Luckily, we get great input from our readers and the design community at large. We’re constantly trying new things to ensure everyone has a positive experience. After all, we want attendees to look forward to new presentations year after year. -Karli Petrovic, Associate Editor, HOW Magazine As a designer, I’m drawn to topics that are relatable and speakers who can instruct, but also entertain. Talking points are important, but the speaker shouldn’t always stick strictly to the bullet points. I appreciate someone who can take a seemingly off-the-cuff aside and turn it into an important takeaway. -Ronson Slagle, Art Director, Print Magazine

Learn more about the program of outstanding speakers the HOW team has carefully chosen here. Register for HOW Design Live before February 11 and save $300 off the price of a Big Ticket!

HOW Design LIVE 2014

Can’t wait ’til May for your conference fix? Check out the HOW Interactive Design Conference Online, December 3-5! Experience the best of HOW’s 2013 Interactive Design event from anywhere. Register today!