Inside the Brisbane Design Conference: Kelly’s Noteworthy Takeaways and Highlights

The Design Conference” is an annual design conference held in Brisbane, Australia, bringing together a diverse range of speakers from a wide range of design disciplines (e.g.: Graphic design, UI/UX design, motion design, packaging and print design, branding, illustration and art). The presentations range from the implementation of design to the struggles design studios and designers face, such as being empathetic and handling sensitive issues, through to what the future of design holds.

We were fortunate to be there for three days representing Team GBST. Now, back at our desks, we have the opportunity to share key takeaways from this year’s conference.


Kelly Chiu – Designer

It was my first time at the design conference and it didn’t disappoint! I was so wowed by the speakers, the crowd, and the presentation decks (not all the time we get to see good slides)! Here are my key takeaways from the event:

Be patience in finding a fit for identity

One of my highlights for this year’s conference was seeing the diverse speakers, especially seeing three Asian speakers (Evi-O, Yah-Leng Yu and Dot Lung) up on stage! Seeing them share their stories and how they’ve found a fit for identity is inspiring. There was also an emphasis around the need for diversity to help drive creativity. Instead of shying away from speaking and sharing about their authentic selves, creativity becomes a platform for people to show off their culture and be  proud of it. Culture connection is also an important aspect in this year’s talks. Monolith, Beetroot, Alt Group and Extended Whānau all created works with a strong connection to culture and history.

Quote by Jim Antonopolous

By Jim Antonopolous from TANK.


Outcome vs Output and Expert vs Supplier

We all like to achieve the end result, but that’s not always the best way to land yourself the job of your dreams. In the Day 1 Q&A session, creators talked about the importance of communicating the outcomes rather than the output to convince. That was re-iterated in Day 2 talks where designers were reminded of their own value. We are creative experts and if we don’t stand up for our own value, we’re just a supplier. So, having confidence and being clear about our value is an important strength we need to build upon.


Illustration meets motion and real life imagery

Almost every speaker used slides with motion -a video, motion graphics or strokes from brushes that imply motion. Motion brings static visuals to life, and helps depict the full story. In Day 3 of the conference, Bernardo Henning, an illustrator based in Buenos Aries showed some of his playful illustrations that combines real life imagery with illustrations. My favourite was the fist pump. It was a still image but the brush strokes and lines behind it gives it a sense of power and depicted that silent motion we can feel and see.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of the image but below is screenshot from Bernardo’s Behance page:

Bernado henning behance page

Image source:


My favourite speaker? Definitely Dean from the Alt Group! I related so well with what he had said: “We think we can design life but then realise, life designs us”. Life gives us a lot along the way, so we learn in the process, sometimes needing to stop and rewind to think about what is most valuable and important to us. If our design requires some breathing space, then the designer needs it too (that’s a quote from me :)). I loved the funny one liners he had written and the smiley and sad face dice! Also loved the poot poot sketches he did for his ‘Good Sh*t Soda’ drink.



A massive thanks to GBST for giving us the opportunity to attend the conference! And big thanks to Matt Haynes, the founder and organiser of The Design Conference. These inspirations and learnings gathered from the conference and outside of our day-to-day work, gives us the motivation to continue designing and creating!

I look forward to next year’s conference.

By Kelly Chiu
Published: 11/07/2023

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