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Meet some of the speakers for BDF 2019
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Meet some of the speakers for BDF 2019

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Founder & Creative Director at Hey Studio

Verònica Fuerte is a designer and illustrator from Barcelona.

After earning a degree in Graphic Design from ELISAVA and a MA in Typeface Design from EINA she worked for several design studios in Barcelona.

In 2007 she founded her own studio, Hey, which has grown steadily since. She received the ADC Young Guns 7 award and her work has appeared in prestigious media such as It’s nice that, DesignBoom, Communication Arts and AIGA. Verònica also teaches in several different universities in Barcelona and frequently speaks at international conferences.

Years: 2019



Director & Photographer

Liam Wong is an award-winning Director, Graphic Designer, Game Developer and Photographer. He is best known for defining and directing visual identities and listed as one of Forbes Magazine’s influential 30 under 30.

Born and raised in Scotland – within two years of graduating, Wong moved to Canada – becoming the youngest director at Ubisoft, the video game company behind Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed. In parallel with his blossoming career in video games, Wong was teaching himself photography.

In December 2015 he purchased his first DSLR (a Canon 5D III) and his debut photo series: ‘Tokyo Nights (TO:KY:OO)’ – capturing the beauty of night through moments after midnight – inspired by sci-fi, neon-noir, cyberpunk and Japanese animation – gained over a million views worldwide, accumulating a large following online and kickstarting his journey into photography. Wong has since collaborated with many high profile companies, artists, musicians and directors. His work has been recognized by media outlets such as BBC, Forbes, Business Insider, Saatchi and Adobe. Full press list available here.

Years: 2019



Founder Johnson Banks

Michael Johnson has pretty much seen it all. He’s had nine jobs and was fired from three of them, before deciding he’d become unemployable. He started Johnson Banks in London 26 years ago.

He now has clients across the globe. He has rebranded Mozilla entirely in the open, launched a world-beating campaign raising billions for the University of Cambridge, and transformed the thought leaders of impact investment, Acumen – whilst knocking out dozens of stamps and hundreds of posters at the same time.

Johnson wrote a book on problem solving then lifted the lid on the branding process with his international bestseller, Branding: In Five and a Half Steps (Thames and Hudson). His third book, Now Try Something Weirder – How to keep having great ideas and survive in the creative business (Laurence King) comes out in May 2019. It shares 233 thoughts, hints and tips on design, communication and branding in one small, affordable handbook.

Over his career Johnson has won most of the design world’s most desirable bits of wood and metal, including seven ‘yellow’ and one ‘black’ pencil from D&AD. In 2017 he was awarded the Gold D&AD’s Presidents Award, joining a list of previous recipients that includes Sir Terence Conran, Ridley Scott, Alan Parker and Wally Olins. Within education he has been D&AD President, and an external examiner at Glasgow School of Art, Kingston University and LCC. He has helped revalidate the RCA’s communications course and is now an Honorary Professor at Glasgow School of Art.

In his spare moments he wields old-fashioned yet wonderful cameras, and wonders why, after 48 years of trying, he isn’t a better guitar player.

Years: 2019



Head of 4creative, Channel 4

Alice is the first female head of 4creative, Channel 4’s in-house agency. Her mission at 4creative is to create big, beautiful, culturally potent work for Channel 4. Most recent examples of this is the Rio Paralympics campaign ‘We’re The Superhumans’, which was a big all singing celebration of super-ability, involving 140 incredible disabled stars. The campaign won 2 x D&AD black pencils and has been adopted by the U.N. as a worldwide disability aid as well as becoming part of the national curriculum in UK schools.

Years: 2019



Senior Manager for Adobe Type Development

Dan Rhatigan works with Adobe Type in New York as the Senior Manager for Adobe Type Development. He has almost 30 years of eclectic experience in various parts of the design world as a typesetter, graphic designer, typeface designer, and zine publisher. He has a BFA in graphic design from Boston University, and MA in typeface design from the University of Reading, and has released typefaces with Google and Monotype.

Years: 2019



Head of Design, TBWA\Media Arts Lab, Apple

Laura Pol is a creative based out of L.A. She specializes on branding, and problem solving through design strategy. Currently, she works for Apple leading of the Design Department at TBWA\Media Arts Lab. She also recently funded and leads OLIO, a small creative house offering effective and thorough design solutions.

Years: 2019



Product designer for Dropbox, Founder of Blacks Who Design

Wes O’Haire is a product designer for Dropbox, where he’s helping design a more enlightened way of working. Before joining Dropbox, his work spanned designing products for Nike, Hudl, and several startups. He also founded Blacks Who Design, a directory that highlights Black designers. He cares about the future of technology, mentorship, and diversity in tech.

Years: 2019



UX Designer at Kano

Kano is a computer anyone can make™. Their mission is to give young people – and the young at heart – a simple, fun way to make and play with technology, and take control of the world around them.

Years: 2019



Lead Product Designer at Kano

Kano is a computer anyone can make™. Their mission is to give young people – and the young at heart – a simple, fun way to make and play with technology, and take control of the world around them.

Years: 2019



Designer & Entrepreneur

Karishma is a designer, collaborator, entrepreneur, lover of all things creative, avid podcast-listener and postcard enthusiast.  Karishma is passionate about putting Belfast on the international map for Design and making it a must-visit destination for design lovers. Karishma founded her multidisciplinary design studio Karishma’s World in 2014 and has collaborated on several ventures including The Design Salon, Small Town Big Dreams & Belfast Design Week since then.

Years: 2019

We’re delighted to announce our first set of speakers for Birmingham Design Festival 2019 (6th–8th June) and what a list it is! With a selection of four from each district, these first 12 designers showcase some of the very best aspects of our industry.

From leading the way in creative brand application to teaching the future generation how to code, we hope this initial list give you an indicator of what’s to come from BDF 2019.

The list above forms part of our much wider programme that currently boasts over 60 designers from around the world all touching upon the topic of Truth. This will be happening in multiple venues across the south-east side of the city centre in Digbeth, one of the city’s most creative quarters.

Much like BDF 2018, this year’s edition of the festival will see our campus split into three distinct Design Districts based on a common theme of disciplines. These are Graphic, Digital and Product.

In the Graphic Hub, you can expect to find a wonderful mix of traditional design vocation. Brand, typography, print and ink all live here inside the Parkside building of our wonderful hosts Birmingham City University.

For those of you with an inclination towards design for screen, the Digital Hub will allow you to explore UX design, animation, digital product, visual effects and much more at The Old Library.

If you want to get a little more hands-on over at BCU STEAMhouse you can enjoy a programme focussed on makers. Architecture, interior design, product design and fashion all hang out here in our Product Hub.

In addition to the hubs, which will each host 5 free talks per day, a number of satellite venues make up the Design Districts. Featuring workshops, screenings, exhibitions and tours they are the perfect opportunity to engage with Digbeth’s many varied industrial spaces and level-up your design prowess.

Once the daytime activities are over and after a short bite to eat we then transition over to our larger evening venues where you can expect talks built around a theme, with big-name speakers travelling from far and wide to share their knowledge and experience.

On Thursday night we rekindle the Glug Birmingham atmosphere at Mama Roux’s, Friday we’ll be scaling things up at The Giant Screen in Millenium Point and Saturday sees a return to the beautiful Royal Conservatoire.


We’re really excited to share more information on the programme soon, and you can be the first to know by picking up a ticket to Glug Birmingham on Thu 4th April. As well as getting a breakdown of our main events there will be four outstanding talks from speakers Claire Farrell, James Greenfield, Annatomix and Joseph Liu.

Tickets for BDF 2019 will go on sale early May, with a full programme announcement shortly before. If you’re planning to attend the full festival our partners Bloc Hotels will have a special discount code for 2019 attendees launching soon.

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