Design & Drinks

We hosted two design events at our cozy ReferralCandy office in Block 71 while I worked there.

Looking back, I realized I’ve participated in several design meetups, conferences and events but never hosted my own. With the teams support it suddenly became an option to host our own design event. I was curious about what it was like to host a design event.

My respect for other organizers like me levelled up very quickly.

Like a lot of others, we wanted to do something different. Personally, I was tired of attending design talks where people shared UX case studies, work examples and learnings. So the aim was to create a humble event that was refreshing, inspiring, and most of all, entertaining to creative folks. We wanted to make a space that welcomed non-design folks too.

After getting some budget for beer, drinks and pizza, we setup a Facebook event in June.

I started looking for folks who could share a creative story, not only UX designers, but anyone creative.
Our dream was to get an astronaut to speak at the event! :D

After a short and practical Linkedin announcement, I made old school event posters for the Block 71 building and pasted them on the walls near our office:


We leaned heavily on our personal network to find speakers who would come voluntarily for free.

So Desmond, Ha and I came up with this list of speakers for the event:

- Si Quan, Founder at Breakdance Decoded: He spoke about his dance practise with a dance demo
- Gia Phua, UX Consultant: She told a story about her design practise in everyday life
- Priscilla Nu, Head of Design at SP Group: She shared a work story from her old startup
- Jacky Ng, Stand-up Comedian: He spoke about his creative process while doing standup

More than a 100 people turned up! We were really overwhelmed at the showing and all the support. It was a loud after-work event rather than a more formal space. It was really heartening and rewarding.

Our next Design & Drinks event was in December. This time, I got a friend to sponsor the beer since co-incidentally her beer brand (Bira) was launching in Singapore at that time. We followed a similar process with an old school event poster, LinkedIn announcement and Facebook event.


This was our final speaker list for round 2:

Darren Foong, Improv comedian spoke about "How people play games" or "Notes on iterative design improvements to a stupid game about throwing balls around in a circle"

Alistair Norris, Senior Interaction Designer at the Agency, spoke about "Why I throw stuff" - his journey into pottery and how that translates into his digital design practise. He brought some samples of pottery for the audience.

"Minimum Viable Loaf AKA KanBun" by Clark Pan on baking bread in agile sprints. He brought loaves of bread for tasting.

We had about 70 people attend this event. All the food and beer got over quickly. From my perspective the event had a strong community feeling and since each talk was only 10 mins it left a lot of time later for people to get to know each other and have deeper conversations.

Thanks for reading! Have you ever hosted or organized a design event? Would love to know your thoughts :D

Aditi KulkarniComment