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Copenhagen Sep 23-24, 2020

Design Matters 20

Design Matters is a community of creative and curious minds who share the same drive and passion for digital design, technology, art, and society. It is also a platform to gather together, share ideas, and discuss experiences.

We are designers ourselves. Design Matters is made by designers, for designers, with designers on stage. Our mission is to spark up the conversation about the work and the role of digital designers – now and in the future.

Each year, design practitioners jump on stage to talk with honesty and passion about their experiences, challenges, successes, and failures.

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Themes for 2020

Scrappy Creative

The role of the designer is ever-changing. The lone artist and the rock-star designer are dead — and creating new products has evolved into a team sport, with the designer as both enabler and facilitator of change and innovation.

For us as designers, this demands a messy set of skills, borrowed from psychology, philosophy, business, coding, project management, data analysis, storytelling, and more. Creativity is no longer just an aesthetic discipline, where pixel-pushing defines your job, but an entirely new, exciting playing field.

So, let’s dust off the old toolbox, get our hands dirty, and challenge our current design methods! We can no longer rely on existing practices, but need new inspiration to shape a future of digital products where inclusiveness, ethics, and sustainability equals good design.

At Design Matters 20, we’ll dive into the new craftsmanship of the digital designer, seeking out new methods that let us bring people together, across organizations and borders, toward a single, shared goal.

Scrappy Creative

Real Fake

Over just the past couple of years, we’ve watched as a wave of digital products blend together the fake and the real. These products change our perception of identity, fact, and fiction, and have seeped into every corner of society — from the highest levels of politics, to the intimate relationships we hold over social media apps.

When we enhance our presence with face filters and avatars, find ourselves feeling more at ease in virtual worlds than in our daily lives, or use implants and wearables to directly connect technology to ourselves, we all take part in this soft transition into the semi-digital human. And when AI, robots, and cyborgs so evidently are entering our world, we increasingly learn to accept the artificial as a natural part of our civilization.

As designers, we’ll be charged with confronting the fakeness head-on. How can we help the people who use our products navigate this new, hyper-reality? How can we take advantage of our augmented world, without risking our grasp on what’s real? We need to ask ourselves: What is the right ethical code for a world where the boundary between digital and physical has broken down entirely, and how can we hold ourselves to it?

Real Fake

Next Gen Design

Anyone born after 1996 has never lived in a world that wasn’t interconnected — and this has shaped their sense of identity, belonging, and even their relationships. The way they communicate and use digital products today gives us a glimpse of the digital world as it will be in the near future. Beyond basic concerns about screen time or attention span, what can we learn from this post-internet generation?

Looking even further ahead, we will examine how speculative design lets us steal ideas from the far future and bring them into the present. If we embrace design fiction, can we find new, more sustainable ways to live, work, and connect with each other?. Can we lean on many imagined, possible futures to help us affect the direction of technology and society today?

At Design Matters 20 we’ll zoom into the post-internet generation, to learn how they think, communicate, and view the world as digital natives. We’ll look at design through the lens of the future both near and far, including 16-year-old designers, science fiction prototyping, and life on Mars.

Next Gen Design

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Design Matters 2024

Design Matters is a Copenhagen-based conference on digital design – made for designers, by designers. It is a place to gather together, share ideas, and discuss experiences. Design Matters involves a knowledgeable community of creative and curious minds who share the same drive and passion for digital design, technology, art, society, and sustainability. For its 10th anniversa...

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