Three things we loved from DesignThinkers 2024

OXD creatives Sarah Tan, Lisa Farmer, and Wil Arndt attended this year’s DesignThinkers conference. With so many outstanding speakers, we want to share a few inspiring insights we brought back.

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Sarah Tan
Designer, Brand and Marketing

The importance of narrative and storytelling within branding

Speaker Zipeng Zhu demonstrated the power of weaving a captivating narrative into presentation storytelling. His thought-provoking talk, matched by his equally enthusiastic delivery, took us on an emotional journey—balancing humor, frustration, and hope perfectly. His personal brand remained consistent across every medium, from his shoes and clothing choice, physical interactions with the audience, and especially his slide deck.

I learned that a brand’s touchpoints extend far beyond visuals to what is heard and felt as well.

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Lisa Farmer
Marketing Manager
(and designer)

“Nuggets”—A bite-sized analogy

I think everyone who attended DesignThinkers can agree that Ellen Lupton’s presentation was, well… just our type.

All the kerning talk gave me warm fuzzies. Ellen beautifully illustrated the art of typography by likening it to crafting perfect “nuggets”. Each element, from kerning to typeface selection, is a little chunk that contributes to a cohesive, visually pleasing whole.

(A hankering for McDonald’s chicken nuggies now, anyone? Where’s my honey mustard dipping sauce!)

As a designer for over 20 years, it reignited my own passion for typography. The instant desire to get into InDesign and just start laying out text was eminent. I’m a sucker for a great editorial spread. Something that conveys a message but also evokes a delightful visual experience.

Thank you, Ellen.

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Wil Arndt
Creative Director

AI: Friend or foe? The designer's dilemma

The impact of AI dominated discussions and presentations this year, revealing a wide range of opinions—from enthusiastic adoption to outright fear.

Designers are questioning their role as AI replicates tasks once thought uniquely human. Concerns extend beyond the technology itself to how businesses might exploit AI to extract more from already strained creatives.

Two key takeaways emerged:

  1. Don’t believe the hype. Approach AI with a critical eye, understanding its limitations and potential misuses.
  2. Master the tools before they master you. Learn to leverage AI effectively to enhance your work and stay ahead of the curve.

The conversation about AI’s role in design is just starting, but one thing seems clear: designers aren’t waiting to find direction in this evolving landscape. They are forging their own path and creating their own futures.

Creating connections

We’re honored to have attended and spoken at such an inspiring event. Here’s to the new friendships, the creative sparks, and the sharing of decades of wisdom.

Our designers do incredible work! Check out some of it on our website or Dribbble pages.