18 unmissable design events in 2015

Dates for your diary: this year's best creative events happening around the world.

As the global festival season starts to swing into gear, we bring you 17 of the best creative conferences, festivals and celebrations happening around the world. From South Africa to Spain, Brazil to Berlin, through the UK, USA and Australia, we've collated the design events you need to know about into one, handy list…

01. D&AD Professional Awards

  • Closing date: 18 February 2015

It's not an event, per se - but it is a date for your diary. D&AD is now accepting entries for its Professional Awards, the undisputed Oscars of the global design world.

You have until 18 February to submit work across a broad range of categories spanning graphic design, digital design, advertising and more – for the chance to scoop a prized Yellow, White or Black Pencil. 25 specialist juries assess work according to D&AD's strict criteria, with results announced in April.

02. Design Indaba

  • 25-27 February 2015
  • Cape Town, South Africa

The Design Indaba conference is just one part of a larger creative festival. Each February, with sunny Cape Town (last year's World Design Capital) as host, one of the world's best-established design events attracts a diverse and lively line-up encompassing art, architecture, product design and many other disciplines.

There are 3,500 people at the three-day conference alone, and the whole city positively buzzes with creatives, so it's always a fantastic opportunity to put faces to email addresses and meet new people.


  • 6-8 March 2015
  • Dublin, Ireland

Since its first get-together in 2009, OFFSET has established itself as one the best design events in Europe. Its home is the imposing Bord Gáis energy theatre on the banks of Dublin's River Liffey.

The three-day creative conference welcomes speakers from the worlds of graphic design, animation, illustration, advertising, film, fashion and beyond for a weekend of presentations, lectures, interviews and discussions – and some lively, unofficial 'networking' sessions at night.

You can see speakers not only on the main stage, but there are also smaller, more intimate rooms where it's easier to ask questions. There are no VIP areas or green rooms at OFFSET, either, so you're just as likely to bump into speakers in the foyer.

Want more info? Here are 9 reasons to attend OFFSET 2015

04. Generate New York

  • 17 April 2015
  • New York, USA

net magazine and Creative Bloq's leading conference for web designers and developers is coming back to the Big Apple!

Featuring some of the biggest names in web design, including Mike Monteiro, Val Head and JoonYong Park as well as some fantastic new speakers, the two-track one-dayer promises inspiration, education and unparalleled networking opportunities. Here are 11 reasons why you need to attend...

A flash sale is planned for Friday 13th February so keep an eye on Twitter for all ticket and speaker-related news…

05. F5

  • 17-18 April 2015
  • New York, USA

F5 seeks to bring together the thinkers and doers that are breaking ground and shaping new standards in media and design. The two-day festival is an exciting meeting ground for future-minded creatives "with the power to create lasting change".

Speakers include GMUNK, Julia Potts, Antibody's Patrick Clair and motion design studio Block & Tackle and the after party promises to be "mind-altering".

06. 99U Conference

  • 30 April-1 May 2015
  • New York City, USA

"The goal of the 99U Conference," say its organisers, "is to shift the focus from idea generation to idea execution." It's getting stuff down, basically – taking a good concept and putting it into practice.

It does this through around 20 "action-oriented" talks by leading creatives from numerous disciplines, 75-minute masterclasses with speakers who are leaders in the fields, and by offering opportunities to visit the workspaces of some of New York City's leading studios (past visits include Google and Spotify).

There's also plenty of time to network, with the whole thing bookended by a cocktail reception and a big afterparty. And since it's organised by Bēhance, you know you’re in safe hands.

07. What Design Can Do

  • 21-22 May 2015
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands

Stefan Sagmeister heads up a broad roster of speakers who are set to tackle "the impact of design" at this year's What Design Can Do, an internationally focussed two-day event investigating the power of design as an agent for social renewal.

Pitched as a platform for designers of all disciplines to manifest the social potential of their profession, expect discussion around alternative future strategies and plenty of workshops, networking and celebration alongside the speaker sessions.

08. TYPO Berlin

  • 21–23 May 2015
  • Berlin, Germany

This summer one of Europe's most established design events, Typo Berlin, explores character: "The muscular system of the psyche." Organised by, among others, charismatic designer Erik Spiekermann, the get-together hosts more than 50 experts from the fields of design, communications, typography and psychology.

Guests present strategies against "a culture of superficiality." Those guests include Jon Burgerman, Martin Tiefenthaler and Professor Manfred Hild. Almost 2,000 people attend Typo Berlin each year, and once talks are over there's lots more to see and do.

09. Semi-Permanent

  • 22-23 May 2015
  • Sydney, Australia

One of the largest events of its type, Semi-Permanent is a creative platform spreading art and design inspiration. The week-long celebration of all things design - including graphic design, film, art, illustration, web design, photography, visual effects, animation, graffiti, motion graphics, stop motion and more - consists of a conference and side events that span exhibitions, competitions, workshops and parties.

Live in India? Great - there's a Mumbai version of Semi-Permanent from 7-8 April 2015.

Next page: nine more unmissable design events in 2015