Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the best part of 20 years, you’re probably fully aware of the importance that Silicon Valley and San Francisco have played in the world of design, technology, and innovation. The area is home to some of the greatest minds in business, and each year there are a plethora of events that take place across a range of industries and sectors.
While we previously covered the top design events to attend all over the world in 2018, that list couldn’t nearly encompass the amazing events this year has in store. So, we’re diving deeper into San Francisco and Silicon Valley specifically.
Here are the top events that might interest you over the coming months. They range from design-orientated events to general startup and business conferences. There’s something for everyone, regardless of whether you’re a freelancer, work in an agency or run your own design company.
The Top 10 Design Events to Attend in San Francisco and Silicon Valley in 2018
1. The Technical Design Event: DesignCon 2018
When: January 30-February 1 in Santa Clara, California
DesignCon is back in Silicon Valley for its 23rd year -- an impressive feat alone! Originally created by engineers for engineers, the event brings together over 5,000 professionals for three jam-packed days of learning and fun.
The in-depth conference program -- curated by a 90-person committee -- and expo offer state-of-the-art design methodologies, applications, and tons of networking opportunities.
2. The International Design Event: Startup Grind Global Conference
When: February 12-February 14 in San Francisco, California
The self-proclaimed “most inspirational conference around the globe for entrepreneurs,” comes to San Francisco in February. With over 5,000 founders and investors, over 40 keynote and fireside sessions, and 50 exhibiting startups, this is Startup Grind's largest event ever.
The event brings together amazing content, like-minded people, and an incredible setting. Add a touch of some custom-built networking technology, and top it all off with an intimate feeling and you’ll soon realize why this is one of the most sought after events of the year.
3. The Leadership Design Event: LX Conference
When: March 19-March 20 in San Francisco, California
LX 2018 prepares leaders in the design world for the next hurdles they’re likely to face in the coming year, including:
- Designing organizations.
- Driving change in scale.
- Continuously delivering better outcomes for businesses and people.
If you’re leading the design and delivery of great experiences, this is even for you, with conversations on topics across design, wider organizational matters, and leadership in a world of increasing complexity.
4. The Progressive Design Event: Women of Silicon Valley
When: March 21-March 22 in San Francisco, California
The world's largest Women in Tech Event Series is coming to San Francisco in March and is likely to be a particularly hot ticket as women in STEM continue to grow. You’ll have the chance to join tech leaders and professionals from the biggest names and hottest startups to connect, learn and take action on gender diversity and inclusion.
Through inspirational keynotes and deep insights, this conference provides all the content and networking opportunities you’ll need to set yourself up for success in 2018 and years to come.
5. The Strategic Design Event: Smashing Conference
When: April 17-18 in San Francisco, California
Smashing Conference returns to San Francisco for the third year and it’s all about exploring strategies for breaking out and leaving behind the generic designs and ideas that might be plaguing your growth as a designer or design agency.
6. The Top Captivating Design Event: XD Immersive
When: May 3-May 4 in San Francisco, California
XD Immersive focuses on new kinds of consumer and employee experiences that are enabled by virtual reality, augmented reality, and voice technologies. The event focuses on compelling new experiences which helps you gain a wealth of ideas and resources to guide your own career, products, and company.
UX STRAT will leverage its existing partnerships with leaders such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft to produce a world-class conference and expo.
Look out for the hands-on demo area where attendees can try out a wide range of new immersive products and services to get an idea of the possibilities and real opportunities.
7. The Best Inventive Design Event: Awwwards Conference SF 2018
When: May 10-May 11 in San Francisco, California
Awwwards is the most visited online awards platform in the world, and each year they hold their annual Awwwards Conference.
This year the event takes place in San Francisco where you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself with the leaders in the tech and design world, and finally, meet those faces of the people you follow online. It’s a great chance to learn at a live event rather than get the news afterward online.
8. The Most Innovative Design Event: Google Cloud Next 2018
When: July 24-July 27 in San Francisco, California
Google Cloud Next ’18 is an opportunity to unlock new possibilities for your business, enhance your skills, and uncover what’s next for Cloud.
You’ll have a chance to share ideas and solve problems with other IT professionals, developers, engineers, entrepreneurs, executives, students, and Google experts. Plus, there are set to be literally hundreds of breakout sessions, all offering deep dives into everything from accessible machine learning to the latest security tech.
9. The Digital Design Event: An Event Apart
When: December 10-December 12 in San Francisco, California
An Event Apart San Francisco is two days of sessions from 12 speakers with an intense focus on digital design, UX, content, code, and more. Following the two-day conference comes a full day, A Day Apart, with a single speaker diving deeply into one important topic.
10. The Collaborative Design Event: Design Gurus Summit 2018
When: September in San Francisco, California
The Design Guru Summit, whose exact date is to be determined, is your opportunity to learn from the best designers in the Valley. Designers, thinkers and thought leaders will be sharing their insights on topics including:
- Product design.
- User experience design.
- Design for emerging platforms.
- Creative inspiration, and more.
Each event listed above will give you a unique insight into design and technology trends to come, and how they'll affect your company or job description in the years to come. Attending just one (or, if you really like the Napa area, many!) may help you sharpen skills and gather information that will ultimately grow your career.
Share the design events you're attending this year in the comments below.
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