• Zachary Petit

COVID-19: Is Your Favorite Design Event Canceled?

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As COVID-19 continues its spread around the world—and with the full impact of the virus still a question mark—it’s getting harder and harder to keep a handle on what’s canceled, what’s paused, and what’s still on. We found that to especially be the case with design and creativity events, so we pulled together a list of major shows planned for the next six months, and their current statuses.

We’ll circle back to each event’s website every week, and will update accordingly going forward. (Organizers: Making a change to your event? Please let us know, and we’ll update it here. Also: If we’re missing your event and you’d like to be listed, just contact us.)


Stay healthy out there, designers.

SuperConf Slated for: March 13–14, Miami Current Status: Canceled From the Event: Update (March 12): “City of Miami has declared a state of emergency & cancelled all special events. We are unfortunately not going to be able to host SuperConf tomorrow & Saturday.”


Previous listing: “After speaking with some of the team at CDC center in Miami, as well as the Florida Department of Health, we have decided that for the time being, we will not be canceling SuperConf. We are following guidance from CDC, FLDOH and WHO by ensuring proper access to hand sanitizer, antibacterial soap, tissue and sneeze training at the conference. We have been and continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis.”

SXSW Slated for: March 13–22, Austin, TX Current Status: Canceled From the Event: “The City of Austin has canceled the March dates for SXSW and SXSW EDU. SXSW will faithfully follow the City’s directions. We are devastated to share this news with you. ‘The show must go on’ is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place. We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation. As recently as Wednesday, Austin Public Health stated that ‘there’s no evidence that closing SXSW or any other gatherings will make the community safer.’ However, this situation evolved rapidly, and we honor and respect the City of Austin’s decision. We are committed to do our part to help protect our staff, attendees and fellow Austinites. We are exploring options to reschedule the event and are working to provide a virtual SXSW online experience as soon as possible for 2020 participants, starting with SXSW EDU.”

Adobe Summit Slated for: March 29–April 2, Las Vegas Current Status: Live event canceled; virtual event planned From the Event: “Each year, we look forward to hosting our customers, partners and employees from around the world at Adobe Summit and Magento Imagine to talk about the future of customer experience, unveil the latest product and platform innovations, and get inspired together as a community. Over the past few weeks, we have been closely monitoring and evaluating the situation around COVID-19 to ensure we are taking the necessary measures to protect the health and well-being of Adobe Summit attendees. As a result, we have made the difficult but important decision to make Summit/Imagine 2020 an online event this year and cancel the live event in Las Vegas.”


AIGA Design Conference Slated for: March 30–April 1, Pittsburgh Current Status: Postponed until Nov. 12–14 From the Event: “COVID-19 and the worldwide implications have impacted our decision to postpone the 2020 AIGA Design Conference. This has been an extremely difficult decision, and we hope you can understand our concerns and actions. We look forward to seeing all of our attendees, speakers and partners Nov. 12–14, 2020. The health of our community is of the utmost importance.”

UXinsight 2020 Slated for: April 6–8, Breda, The Netherlands Current Status: Postponed until Sept. 14–16 From the Event: Update (as of March 16): “The number of cases of Coronavirus in the Netherlands has increased significantly within the past days, particularly in and around the Brabant area where Breda is located. Government advice has warned against large gatherings of people to prevent further spread of the virus, and it is with these changes in circumstance we have come to the decision to postpone the conference.”

Previous listing: “We are monitoring the World Health Organization and the Dutch government to stay up to date on new developments concerning the Coronavirus. We will follow the advice of the Dutch government. At the moment, this means we intend to proceed with the conference as planned, with some extra precautions [we’d] like to share with you. We will also take measures on-site, like extra places to wash hands. For UXinsight visitors who cannot travel due to health issues or because their organization prohibits travel, we offer a live stream of the event on April 7 and 8.”

An Event Apart Slated for: April 13–15 (Washington DC), May 11–13 (Seattle), June 29–July 1 (Boston), Aug. 17–19 (Minneapolis) Current Status: Washington DC and Seattle events canceled From the Event: Update (March 15): “With heavy hearts, we’ve come to the decision that we must cancel An Event Apart in both Washington DC and Seattle this year. We really wanted these conferences to happen, but the present circumstances have made it impossible to put on events in either city, for the time being.”

Previous listing: “Given all the recent news about the Coronavirus, it’s natural to ask whether these conferences will be canceled, or if they’re going ahead as planned. At this time, all six conferences for 2020 are proceeding as planned. We will continue to watch developments, particularly guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and adjust course as needed—but for now, we’re planning to keep on keepin’ on. Why would we choose this path, when so many events are canceling? One reason is that the events that are canceling are giant shows drawing thousands of attendees from all over the globe to mix in huge crowds. The scale of An Event Apart is quite different: that of a few hundred attendees in a ‘classroom’ setting, with very few international attendees, and no trade floor where people jostle each other to get into vendor booths. The CDC has not recommended that gatherings of our size be canceled, and similarly has not recommended suspension of domestic travel.”

Smashing Conference Slated for: April 21–22 (San Francisco), June 9–10 (Austin, TX), Sept. 7–8 (Freiburg, Germany) Current Status: San Francisco event postponed until Nov. 10–11 From the Event: Update (March 12): “Unfortunately, due to recommendations from the SF mayor’s office restricting group size, and with countless travel bans in place affecting speakers, attendees and team members, we cannot give you the conference experience you expect and deserve. For these, and many more reasons, SmashingConf SF is rescheduled.”

Previous listing: “Currently, we are following the CDC and WHO policies and recommendations, and as it all stands, we see no reason to cancel the event. However, we are coming up with contingency plans in the event the government puts any restricting regulations in place. All of our vendors, including our caterers, are working hard with us to put safer health practices in place. In addition, we are putting measures in place to give people more space, especially in workshop rooms, and during the conference, by adding more breakout spaces. All foods will be wrapped and not served buffet style. Hand-washing stations will be set up with information in the restrooms, and friendly waves will be suggested instead of handshakes. As of right now, there are no travel restrictions in place, but should one come about that limits a speaker’s travel, we are in discussions about having them deliver it remotely, or pre-recorded.”

OFFF Barcelona Slated for: April 23–25 Current Status: Postponed until Sept. 24–26 From the Event: “OFFF has been holding discussions regarding COVID-19 over the past few weeks as news unfolds of cases developing across the world. Our primary concern is the health of our attendees, speakers, sponsors and the OFFF community internationally and in Barcelona. Due to the potential risks associated with holding OFFF Barcelona conference in April, we have decided to postpone OFFF Barcelona 2020 to September 24th, 25th and 26th. Thank you for your endless support. This has been an extremely difficult decision but we are sure you can understand our concerns and actions.”

Beyond Tellerand Slated for: April 27–29, Düsseldorf, Germany Current Status: Canceled, event to be rescheduled From the Event: Update (March 16): “I personally think that there is too much uncertainty to really plan and run an event for 500 people. Even if Germany opens up again, I have no idea if other countries (speakers and attendees!) would be able to travel again. Next to this I can’t take the responsibility for an event with 500 people in a situation like this. As sad as I feel, I have a responsibility for the people at my event and can’t make sure this would be a safe place where we don’t spread the virus or start spreading it again.” (More)

Previous listing: “With three events this year in Düsseldorf, Berlin and Munich, you might have asked yourself if they will take place or not. At this moment, while writing these lines, all three events for 2020 will be held as planned. I am following all updates carefully and things might change, but right now only two attendees asked if the event in Düsseldorf [will take] place and they where happy when I said yes. It is a difficult decision, but being only seven weeks away from a nearly sold out event in Düsseldorf, canceling or moving the date would not only mean a lot of problems for me, being a single person dealing with all this, it would also mean that many people would have to deal with changing or canceling travel arrangements, hotel plans and so on. Nevertheless safety and health first and if I need to move the event, I will, of course.” (More)

Think 2020 – IBM Slated for: May 4–7, San Francisco Current Status: Live event canceled; virtual event planned From the Event: “The health of IBM’s clients, employees and partners is our primary concern. In light of global precautions for the COVID-19 Coronavirus, and building upon recommendations from the World Health Organization, IBM is taking a new approach to its signature events. IBM Think 2020, the company’s premier client and developer conference, and PartnerWorld for our Business Partners, will be recreated as a global, digital-first event, to still be held on May 5–7. Think 2020 will be an exciting combination of live streamed content, interactive sessions and certifications and locally hosted events, which will highlight IBM’s technology and industry expertise for developers and clients without the risk of travel.”

HOW Design Live and The Dieline Conference Slated for: May 4–7, Boston Current Status: Canceled, event to be rescheduled From the Event: Update (March 16): “The health and safety of each and every member of our community and our staff is of the utmost importance to us. After closely monitoring the risk and impact of COVID-19 on a daily basis, and speaking at length with members of our community, HOW Design Live … has been postponed to a later date in 2020. The HOW Design team is diligently working on securing new 2020 dates and location. Updated information is expected soon.

Previous listing: We are actively monitoring the situation and are committed to the safety and security of all of the event participants; currently, the number of confirmed cases in the United States is extremely low. Regardless, as a general matter of precaution, we recommend that all show participants follow the CDC guidelines regarding prevention. Any participants who are experiencing symptoms of fever, cough and/or shortness of breath are advised to contact a healthcare provider, urgent care or hospital for instructions before going to a clinic or emergency room. A list of medical facilities located near the event venue can be found on the show website. An emergency medical technician will be available on the show site during regular show hours. In addition, we are providing hand sanitizer stations at the venue, and in all show areas. We are also providing medical masks upon request.”

User Experience Lisbon Slated for: May 19–22, Lisbon, Portugal Current Status: On From the Event: “UXLx is taking place in a little over two months and we understand our attendees are concerned if it’s still taking place. We’re following WHO and our government’s recommendations for travel and events, and we’re hoping the situation is cleared by the time of the event dates, so we’re still going ahead. The safety of our speakers and attendees is of paramount importance and we won’t proceed with a physical event if there are still risks at the time. In the meantime we are also looking at alternate ways to create an engaging event online, if needed, as a last resort.”

The Design Conference  Slated for: May 20–21, Brisbane, Australia Current Status: On

Front Case Study Conference  Slated for: May 28–29, Salt Lake City Current Status: On

Adobe 99U Slated for: June 3–5, New York City Current Status: On From the Event: “We will continue to track the developing situation regarding COVID-19 and share any relevant updates with our attendees. As always, the well-being of our employees and customers is top priority. Our standard registration cancellation fee will be waived in the case of an event cancellation, and no further registration price increases will take effect, out of respect to attendees who prefer to wait to purchase their badges.”

Icon11 Slated for: June 28–July 1, Kansas City, MO Current Status: On

Design + Diversity Slated for: July 30–Aug. 1, St. Louis Current Status: On

All statements and logos come from each event’s respective website.

#Coronavirus #COVID19 #Designevents

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