HOW Design Live: Speakers Roster Is A Labor of Love

Guest Blogpost by Gary Lynch, VP/Group Show Director, HOW Design Live

One of the more common questions we’re asked about our planning process for HOW Design Live is how we select our speakers. Why we choose the people we do, why do some come back every year and, above all, the thinking behind the people we select for our keynotes.

Let me start with the keynotes first. We have fifteen keynotes over the five days which creates multiple shared experiences for every attendee, but also gives us the flexibility to be more expansive in the type of person we invite to speak.

One of the goals of our keynotes is to introduce speakers from different creative fields who have something meaningful to share. People like Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, Simon Sinek, Brené Brown and Amanda Palmer, as well as design icons Michael Bierut, Paula Scher and Jessica Helfand have each graced past HOW stages.


This year you’ll hear from design luminaries Stefan Sagmeister, Debbie Millman, James Victore, Chip Kidd, Aaron Draplin and Sagi Haviv, but also artists Elle Luna and Jihan Zencirli, author Jonathan Fields, futurist Amy Webb, illustrator Oliver Jeffers, filmmaker Tiffany Shlain and fashion designer Marc Eckō, among others. It is an eclectic, powerfully inspirational lineup.

For the breakout sessions we look for subject matter expertise and speakers who have an engaging speaking style and are willing to extend themselves beyond their session. It is important that our speakers are accessible to our attendees before and after their session.

Most of them stay for the whole conference and mingle at the social events and many agree to do smaller, more intimate speaker chats with small groups of attendees. The willingness of our speakers to talk with any attendee throughout the conference and, in fact, become an attendee themselves is one of the things that that makes a HOW Conference so special.

Lastly we’re bringing back some recurring speakers — favorites who return every year simply because they are outstanding at teaching their areas of expertise and rank at the top of our attendee surveys year after year. You will always see people like Stefan Mumaw, Justin Ahrens, Sam Harrison, Jim Krause, Andy Epstein, Patrick McNeil and David Sherwin speaking at HOW Design Live and I would urge anyone coming this year to make sure their sessions are on your calendar.

Assembling our speaker roster is a labor of love. It is a year round process and one that we take very seriously. Every speaker on the program has a purpose and has been carefully selected. It is our commitment to the industry to ensure every attendee is exposed to the best minds in our field.

I invite you to join us, May 19-23 in Atlanta, to meet your design heroes and collaborate with thousands of your creative peers. Learn more about HOW Design Live now.