Could you run a successful design event?

In 18 cities worldwide and counting, informal events series Glug is on the hunt for creative champions to help the network grow further

When Studio Output started Glug in 2007 as a get-together for London's creative community, the team had no idea what it would become. But the winning recipe of inspirational speakers and informal networking (they prefer "notworking") has captured the world's imagination.

Glug franchises have so far sprung up in Amsterdam, Stockholm, Beijing, Auckland and NYC, while its UK network includes Brighton, Manchester, Leeds, Reading, Oxford and Birmingham as well as London.

Ever fancied running a design event? Co-founders Ian Hambleton and Nick Clement and events coordinator Malin Persson reveal how you can host your own Glug event and expand their fast-growing global community...

Glug events coordinator Malin Persson

Why do you want to expand?

Ian Hambleton: Glug began as a sideline, but we came to realise that people love the format. We started getting requests from people to set up their own events, so we created some basic guidelines. It's free to do, and we don't charge people to use the name or run the format.

We've decided to really push it this year, and made the events much easier for hosts to run. I came up with this silly ambition to have 100 new cities by January next year. Currently we have 18, so quite a way to go.

Do you have anywhere specific in mind?

IH: We'd love to have Glugs in big creative and tech hubs all over the world; places where there's a burgeoning creative scene. But some of our most successful Glugs are not places you'd imagine. We just want to find great hosts to run the events and have lots more people enjoy the format.

What do you look for in a host?

Nick Clement: Often we find design studios make good hosts, or a few friends that decide to do it together works well. We'll give you advice, plus a 'How to Glug?' pack and brand book. Plus Malin is here to support all the Glug hosts centrally.

Malin Persson: The key is to surround yourself with the best hosting team. Glug is not a one (wo)man job, but a teamwork situation. The most successful Glug teams have an eclectic mix of people.

But ultimately we're looking for natural networkers who consider themselves creative aficionados, ideally with some kind of previous event experience.

What's the next step to start a Glug?

MP: Go to the Become a Host section on the site, read about what it entails and decide if you're up for the challenge. If so, tell us about yourself and the vision you've got. Outline why the Glug Community is needed in your local area plus, of course, why you're the best person for the job.

IH: We want to understand about you and your work; how you'll try to make sure the first events are well attended – after a while they'll fill themselves – and lastly, what sort of things you're interested in.

Any advice for finding a great venue?

NC: We tend to use bars or live music clubs. Glug is meant to be a bit 'rough and ready', so the ticket price is as low as possible to ensure everyone can attend.

You need a good sound system, and most venues have a pretty good projector these days, so often the only thing you need to hire in is a few chairs. A brilliant speaker compensates for a less polished venue. People remember the talk, not the state of the toilets.

Host your own Glug!

Interested in starting a Glug in your home city, wherever you are in the world? Find out more at


Nick Carson is editor of Computer Arts magazine.