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Copenhagen Sep 29-30, 2021

Design Matters 21

Every year, Design Matters digs deep into three topics that are relevant to the design industry and community. The themes, around which the talks and workshop revolve around, are decided together with a committee of international designers.

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Themes for 2021

The Design Code

Beyond the passé question “should designers code” lies something more interesting: how does our practice change when the code is the design? And what does our work even look like when any visual artifact comes long after the designing is done?

One of the answers is Generative design, which creates original, intriguing, unpredictable graphics using algorithms, constraints, and code. With generative design we move from pushing pixels and vectors, and into building a program that outputs design.

Another answer involves artificial intelligence — where the design of the underlying algorithm is far more important and impactful than the UI that delivers its results. How do we as designers make our mark on a product when the key decisions all happen in the code? And how can we ourselves use AI as a design tool?

In this theme we’ll look at how AI, generative design, systems, and tools are changing the practice of design — and explore how we as designers can adapt our craft to match.

The Design Code

Post-Pandemic Design

Covid-19 has changed our lives in ways we could never have imagined. Working remote has gone from being a privilege of the few to a necessity for many, e-learning and virtual conferencing has boomed, online shopping has skyrocketed, and we have become more digitalized than we could predict just a few years back.

On a positive note, the pandemic has given life to new movements of sustainable, climate-friendly living, localism, remote collaborations around the globe, and a celebration of the ‘quiet life’ without the massive stress of the late-capitalist society. And we have seen the launch of digital experiences and products that are embracing the ‘new normal’ and the post-pandemic lifestyle.

At Design Matters 21 we will show how designers can embrace this new reality with digital products and experiences that allow for new ways to work, socialize, entertain, educate, engage, and much more. We will discuss the opportunities, dangers, and pitfalls of being remote and digital, and what ethics we should apply to our design practice.

Post-Pandemic Design


Colors play an important role in all of our lives, but especially for designers. Colors can stir up emotions, convey a message, symbolize an ideal, affect our mood and actions, and even heal, some say.

But color also matters in a number of cultural and political ways, not the least skin color. Minorities, subcultures, and communities use colors to represent their identity. A specific color can grow to have a very precise and powerful meaning, such as the color black for the BLM movement, pink for Feminists, and the rainbow for the LGBTQ+ community.

The questions are many: How can designers use color to convey a message or mobilize an audience? How can designers support and include those groups who can’t see colors? How should the political weight of color affect the choices we make in UI and product design? And how can colors be used in a multi-cultural context?

At Design Matters 21 we will look into the meaning of colors, from color theory and psychology, to accessibility, to racial problems within digital design. Be prepared to see color in a way you have never seen it before!