Conf-watching, a selection of our favorite design talks of 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, we take a moment to look back at the inspiring talks we have seen in 2017. Here a just a few, 12 in total, that we enjoyed the most this year.

At Neon Moiré, we spend quite some time watching and listening to creatives tell their stories. At design conferences, while cycling our during a long coffee break. The talks go from in-depth research lectures to portfolio presentations, to talks about possible futures. Over the year we have shared many great examples via Twitter, in our reviews or via Instagram stories. Over the year we kept a spreadsheet with all the talks we have seen — in real life, via a live stream or recorded — with a little personal note, to remember the thing that tricked us.

“Focus on talking about the things you know intimately, that will make great story, and a great talk,” said Matias Corea during our interview in Milan. With this notion in mind, we went through our list of presentations, again and again. From the ten presentations, there are two that we did not see live on stage but through live-streaming. Thank you for that!

You can watch the twelve talks in one take, on our special Dropmark page, so you can watch them all in Netflix style. Here list is ordered on date that we have seen the presentation. Enjoy watching.

Liam Young at FITC

Liam Young, an architect turned filmmaker, on using storytelling, documentary film, and multimedia performance as an architectural medium. Young works between documentaries, fictions, and futures. He tells stories about the global and urban implication of emerging technologies and he uses techniques from film, fiction, and performance to explore what the future might look like and what the emerging trends are that beginning to shape those futures around the world. We saw Young's Hello City presentation on a 9 screen set-up during FITC Amsterdam, and it blow our mind. (The show presentation is recorded during Impakt festival 2017).
↳ Related interview: Neon Moiré Show with Liam Young
FITC Amsterdam, 19-20 February 2018

Claire L. Evans at STRP

Claire L. Evans is a musician and writer. She is half of the conceptual pop group YACHT. In her presentation 'The Sound of Post- Human Music' she show in a humouristic way that in science fiction, music is already framed as a the universal language, a way of quantifying the emotional and cultural impact of life.
Watch all talks of STRP
↳ STRP 2019, opens 31 March 2019
↳ Claire L. Evans speaks at beyond tellerrand Dusseldorf, 7-9 May 2018

Kevin Kelly and Koert van Mensvoort at STRP

Kevin Kelly, co-founder of tech-magazine 'Wired' and author of bestsellers such as 'What Technology Wants' and more recently 'The Inevitable'. In his latest book, Kelly explores the twelve driving technological forces defining our lives for the next thirty years. With 'The Inevitable' he offers an optimistic, yet also realistic roadmap for the future, based on three decades of personal experience and involvement in digital technology and the internet.
Dr. Koert van Mensvoort is an artist and philosopher best known for his work on the philosophical concept of Next Nature, which revolves around the idea that our technological environment has become so complex, omnipresent and autonomous that it is best perceived as a force of nature in its own right.
We think the introduction by Koert van Mensvoort is most interesting, we have seen it live and rewatched it several times now.
Watch all talks of STRP
↳ STRP 2019, opens 31 March 2019

Félix Magal at IAM Weekend 17

Paris based curator of viral internet culture and web strategist Félix Magal is founder of Museum of Internet. Museum of Internet shares fantastically context-free GIFs, memes and (of course) cat pics, and is currently liked by over 500,000 people on Facebook. Félix Magal says: “Memes, like small talk, are just another way to hold the community together. Your unconscious use the memes as a way to individually tag the people you know so that the more a person shares memes you can relate to, the more your brain thinks of that person as people like you and the closer you feel to them. Crucially we are not only laughing, but laughing together.” One of our favorite talks of the year.
Watch all talks of IAM Weekend 2017
IAM Weekend 18 is 27-29 April 2018, in Barcelona, Spain.

Aude Degrassat
Aude Degrassat at One Day Out 2017

Aude Degrassat at One Day Out

"Beauty" is everywhere in our designers life, but it is hard to define, especially for digital... many think it is based on short-lived trends, but something else is happening. French art director Aude Degrassat explores the specificities of digital trends and how our perception of beauty evolved through time. Understanding what is "beauty" in digital will give us deeper insights about how to ensure the beauty of a digital project in the continuously evolving digital landscape. We were super impressed by this presentation by Degrassat, great story and most beautiful designed slides.
Watch all talks of One Day Out
↳ One Day Out 2018, TBA

Tim Van Damme at Nordic.Design

Tim van Damme is head of design at Abstract, a tool focussed on improving design collaboration and transparency inside teams of all sizes. He has previously worked on a variety of products like Dropbox, Mailbox, Instagram and Gowalla. At One Day Out we saw Josh Brewer giving a demo of the Abstract application. Looked amazing so curious to hear in-depth about the design process behind the service.
↳ All talks at
↳ Related talk by Josh Brewer, co-founder and CEO of Go Abstract at One Day Out.
Nordic.Design is 5 september 2018, Stockholm, Sweden

John Cohn at MeConvention

John Cohn is an IBM Fellow and Chief Scientist for the IBM Watson Internet of Things Division which is headquartered in Munich. John is active in education issues at a local, state and international level. Everyone knows that it takes hard work to be successful. John Cohn believes that it also requires a good dose of play to keep us satisfied, engaged, and creative. Follow John Cohn from the workbench to corporate boardrooms and ultimately to eating rats on a reality TV show. What a life!
Watch all talks of MeConvention 2017

Alissia Iljaitsch at MeConvention

Co-founder of IQ Gemini and an expert in the fields of virtual reality and digital innovation, Alissia Iljaitsch draws on scientific findings from the fields of anthropology, behavioral psychology and cognitive research. Watch Alessia Iljaitsch sharing recent case studies from her work in the VR, AR, AI, and Connected Car space. Interesting to see how Iljaitsch includes observations made during the conference and wove it into her presentation.
Watch all talks of MeConvention

Christian Mio Loclair at MeConvention

Christian “Mio” Loclair, art director at Waltz Binaire, is an internationally renowned artist who has made it his mission to break down established ways of thinking. He is a breakdancer who can program code; a programmer who choreographs plays. Loclair virtuously combines information technology and dance to create a surreal duet between man and machine. His choreographies center around the collision of digital aesthetics with the natural, harmonious beauty of human movement, allowing his audiences to witness the creation of a new human identity.
Watch all talks of MeConvention

Liz McQuiston at Graphic Matters
Liz McQuiston at Graphic Matters

Liz McQuiston at Graphic Matters

Over the past 30 years Liz McQuiston has written a substantial number of books on graphic design and politics. Her books include Visual Impact: Creative Dissent, Graphic Agitation, Graphic Agitation 2: Social and Political Graphics in the Digital Age, Suffragettes to She-Devil and Women in Design. In this lecture you learn to look at posters by listening to Liz.
↳ Related interview: Liz McQuiston on Creative Dissent

↳ Lecture: 10 reflections on political graphics by Liz McQuiston

Mona Chalabi at AIGA Eye on Design

Mona Chalabi is the data editor of The Guardian US, and the co-producer of its Emmy-nominated web series, Vagina Dispatches. Here, Mona Chalabi reveals how she finds and uses data about issues she cares about in a way that gets other people to care about them, too. The fun en joy you can have with data visualization.
Watch all talks of AIGA Eye on Design

Bonus! Mr. Bingo

“I really love doing talks, and I love the theatre of putting a talk together, and telling a funny story about something I did.” — Mr. Bingo. Every time we see Mr. Bingo perform he makes us laugh, never the same.
↳ Related interview: Neon Moire Show with Mr. Bringo, illustrator and rapper

Extra! Extra!

Thank you – dear readers, and our global community of event organizers, artists and designers – for a great year of discovery with and for you. Happy New Year!

Share on

Twitter iconFacebook iconLinkedin icon

Get the latest design conference news
in your inbox!

Join over 2,000 readers and receive a curated mix of upcoming events, inspirational talks, and links at the intersection of tech, design, and culture every Monday.