Conference Overview

Learn from our nationally-recognized keynote speakers, get inspired by lightning talks from local & diverse emerging designers, learn from a panel of industry professionals, and immerse yourself in hands-on workshops.

Whether you’re a student about to graduate or a professional with a few years of experience, our programming is hand-selected to help you shape your passions & skills into a successful career.

Saturday, March 7th
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Ian Lynam

Principal, Ian Lynam Design
Faculty, Temple University Japan, Vermont College of Fine Arts, and CalArts

Ian Lynam works at the intersection of graphic design, design education and design research. He is faculty at Temple University Japan, as well as at Vermont College of Fine Arts in the MFA in Graphic Design Program, Meme Design School in Tokyo and is 2019 Visiting Critic at CalArts. He operates the design studio Ian Lynam Design, working across identity, typography, and interior design. Ian writes for IDEA (JP) and has published a number of books about design.

Emerging Designer Keynote

Deborah Lee

Owner, Deborah Lee Studio LLC

Deborah Lee is an Oakland-based Korean illustrator and author. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon in 2018, she has pivoted from UX design into freelance illustration working with clients such as NPR, The Verge, Scientific American, Procreate App, and is currently illustrating three graphic novels with HarperCollins and Macmillan Publishers. Her debut graphic memoir, In Limbo, is scheduled to publish with Macmillan in Fall 2021. When her wrists aren’t deteriorating from constant drawing, she enjoys weightlifting, long-distance running, and recovering from her dog allergy.


GROW with us

GROW encourages emerging designers to think holistically about their career and provides a forum for individuals to learn the tools and mindsets that build a fulfilling professional path.  

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8:30 am
Collect your swag bag, mingle for a bit, grab caffeine at Jo’s Coffee.
9:20 am
1:30 pm
Opening remarks from Jimmy Luu and Brianna Penney.
Industry Panel
The Business of a Successful Career
We look beyond talent and tradecraft to discuss the skills and mindsets critical to career growth for professional creatives. Our accomplished panel represents diverse personal backgrounds and professional experience to explore a 360 degree view of the lessons learned and choices made that put them at the top of their game.
Panelists include:
• Natalie Armendariz
• Andy Bossley
• Ben Brown
• Kenzie Haynes (moderator)
• Brittney Williams
9:45 am
Lightning Talks
Choose a group of curated presentations from inspiring emerging designers:
Group 1
Rahul Ramath
Evolving through Enterprise Design
In recent years, enterprise businesses are fundamentally adopting design at a large scale. Join Rahul as he draws from his experiences and debunks common stereotypes of Enterprise Design, sharing his perspective on how it trains one to be an effective multidisciplinary designer.
Gerardo Silguero
America's Ghostwriters and the Perpetual State of Nepantla
An artist's exploration of the varying roles and expectations of assimilating to a society that actively marginalizes and mutes the Latinx-American experience. Discover how art and design have helped Gerardo cope with the repercussions of enforcing or blurring labels in both the creative field and in his community.
Leslie Harris
Speculative Design as a Tool
Design can play a critical role in the way we experience the future and act as a catalyst to redefine our present. Leslie will discuss how using Speculative Design as a tool to suggest potential futures opens up the opportunity for new perspectives and creates space for discourse and discussion.
Group 2
Angie Heverly
How to Advocate for Space at Your Dream Job
How do you deal with imposter syndrome or the feeling of exclusion that can dominate the design industry, especially for new, young designers? In this talk, Angie will discuss her experience in game development and how designers can find their voice both creatively and professionally to define their role and develop their style.
Caroline Gray
Mental Health and the Creative Process: Redefining Unhealthy Standards
As creatives, we’ve all felt pressure to work in spite of poor mental health. We constantly face the need to perform without letting anxiety or depression change the quality of our work - however, this is a meaningless goal. Join Caroline as she examines what happens if you consciously let your work evolve as your mental state does.
Jennifer Houlihan
Beyond "OK Boomer:" How to Get Along with Every Age in the Office
Every age has something to teach us, and something to learn from us. In this fast-paced talk, Houli will speak about learning how to communicate value to Boomers, the secret language of Gen Xers, motivating Millennials, and more.
Group 3
Clare Drummond
Zines as Tools for Communication
Zines and artist books have long been revered as a way for artists & designers to share thought and work in an informal, inexpensive, mass-produced, yet very personal way. The process of making zines allows artists to follow a thread and find connection, both among their ideas and with eventual readers. Join Clare for a talk exploring zine history, physical possibilities of the form, and how zines can help growing designers to both look inward and reach out.
Jordan Steyer
Design is Political
Jordan was a miserable journalist, but she didn't know what to do. After accidentally finding graphic design, she knew that she could make a political impact. Following three social movements, see how graphic design intersects with politics.
Shruthi Manjula Balakrishna
Under the Influence—Enter the Void
Persuasion is omnipresent in our daily lives. We are exposed to hundreds or even thousands of persuasive visual messages each day. In this talk Shruthi examines the psychological techniques and concepts hidden behind the visual and aesthetic dimension of design in everyday communication.
10:40 am
Keynote Speaker
Ian Lynam
Critique is essential to the design process. But as designers, we often have mixed experiences with it, ranging from extremely useful to painfully mortifying. In his keynote, Tokyo-based designer and educator Ian Lynam dissects and unpacks the idea of critique—both in the classroom, where we might first encounter it, and out in the world, where he argues it has the potential to become a powerful tool for corralling our worldviews, sharpening our personal perspectives, and developing a greater sense of agency.
11:45 am
Keynote Activations
Following Ian's Keynote, attendees will break out into activation groups to explore techniques for exploring the structural approaches to writing brought up in his keynote. Participants will examine their own curiosities, motivations, and interests as designers, and learn how to become designers who might also craft appealing writing—from business emails to criticism to memoir-oriented prose.
12:30 pm
Enjoy a box lunch on us!
2:35 pm
Emerging Designer Keynote Speaker
Deborah Lee
In 2017, Deborah Lee was a senior studying design at Carnegie Mellon. In 2020, she’s just left a string of design jobs and is working full-time on multi-book deals with major publishers, including a graphic novel about her Korean-American heritage. How did she get there? In the Emerging Designer Keynote, you’ll hear about Deborah’s path from UX design to freelance illustration—and all of the hustle (and luck) that happened in between.
3:30 pm
Choose from one of our five workshops:
Risograph Poster Printing
Led by Tuan Phan
Risograph printing is a fast and low-cost printing technique that is perfect for signal boosting your ideas. In this workshop, you will learn how Risograph printing works, before writing and workshopping personal or political slogans. You will then translate those ideas into two-color political posters that you can share with friends or like-minded comrades.
Embroidered Patches
Led by Steven Smith
As an antidote to a fast-paced, digital design process, this workshop will slow your mind and engage a more contemplative method of making. You will sketch designs for an embroidered patch based on your identity or values. Then you will learn a handful of basic embroidery stitches that will help you bring that patch to life.
Cyanotype Flag Making
Led by Alexandra Robinson
Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that yields monochromatic, cyan-blue prints. You will use cyanotype to create a fabric flag that explores symbolism and represents a belief or value that is important to you. Each participant will leave the workshop with their own fabric flag.
AR Filters for Instagram/Snapchat
Led by Alex Lang and Jay Esteves
Augmented Reality filters are easy to design without knowing how to code. In this workshop, you will learn the basic workflow of Spark AR to create filters that are personal, political and weird. You will learn how to incorporate readymade assets to customize your filter and how to share your finished work on Instagram and Snapchat.
Collage Zine
Led by Sarah Acevedo and Madisson Staires
Zines are a cheap and versatile format to share your ideas, art and creativity. In this workshop, you will combine collage, illustration and personal written reflection to create a zine that represents your personal beliefs and is Xerox-ready for mass distribution.
5:15 pm
Raffle prizes and thank you's!
5:30 pm
After Party
Join us for a celebratory happy hour at Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden, sponsored by frog.


Sarah Acevedo

Freelance Illustrator

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Natalie Armendariz

Partner and Design Director,

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Shruthi Manjula Balakrishna

Senior Designer, FÖDA

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Andy Bossley

Head of Marketing,
HCL Software

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Ben Brown

Principal Software Development Engineer

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Clare Drummond

Landscape Designer, dwg.
Proprietor, Spend Time Zine Mart

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Jay Esteves

Experience Strategist,

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Caroline Gray

St. Edward’s University

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Leslie Harris

Student, Texas State University
Product Designer, Nano

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Kenzie Haynes

Founder and Creative Strategist,
Legendary Future

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Angie Heverly

UI Artist,

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Jennifer Houlihan

General Assembly

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Alex Lang

Senior Art Director,

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Deborah Lee

Deborah Lee Studio LLC

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Ian Lynam

Principal, Ian Lynam Design
Faculty, Temple University Japan, Vermont College of Fine Arts, CalArts

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Tuan Phan

Assistant Professor,
St. Edward's University

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Rahul Ramath

Product Designer,

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Alexandra Robinson

Associate Professor,
St. Edward's University

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Gerardo Silguero

Multidisciplinary Artist

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Steven Smith

Product Designer and Education Facilitator, USAA

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Madisson Staires


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Jordan Steyer

Student, UT Austin
Fellow, Texas Freedom Network

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Brittney Williams


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Join us for an interactive day of learning! All attendees will receive lunch and a swag bag.
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Professionals and Non-AIGA Members
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Currently, AIGA’s National Diversity & Inclusion Task Force has sparked a program called EMERGE, which is dedicated to empower, engage, and inspire emerging designers of different backgrounds and experiences.

This initiative is aimed at addressing each participating chapter and community’s needs in key areas of employment, growth, leadership, entrepreneurship, and life skills—as well as additional content designed to reach underrepresented designers and further empower emerging designers. The Austin chapter has created GROW to support this initiative and provide a space for empowering designers who are 0-5 years in their career.

AIGA Austin

If you find the conference valuable, consider continuing to grow as a member of AIGA. As the profession’s oldest and largest professional membership organization for design, AIGA advances design as a professional craft, strategic advantage, and vital cultural force.

Locally, AIGA Austin contributes to shaping our community through providing programming that is relevant to the many facets of being a designer. We are responsible for some of the most popular events in the Austin design community, including Afterhours, Under the Radar, and Design Ranch. A membership offers many perks, including attending these events for free or at reduced member rates.

A one-year membership starts at $50.


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