WNW, General Assembly, & Unruly Co-Host "Design for Good" Event
It's been a big year for WNW in the UK, as our membership and community have grown exponentially across all the industries and titles we serve. We’re also in the midst of a big push to establish an even more permanent presence in the UK, with an assortment of collaborations, partnerships, and events. Perhaps the highlight so far this year was our co-sponsored event with General Assembly London and Unruly last week. We co-hosted General Assembly's latest "Inside the Minds of Brilliant Designers" series event with a specific focus on "Design for Good and Breaking the Mould." The sold-out event, held in Unruly's clubhouse, consisted of a panel discussion with London-based WNW Members Jennifer Hayashi and Rejane Dal Bello, as well as Ana Neves, Dave McDougall, and Dan Bernardo (SVP Creative at UnRuly.)
As General Assembly Marketing Coordinator Rose Scanlon-Jones put it, the event was "A coming together of a people with a passion for design and helping others. We wanted to create a night that brought designers and techies who share an altruistic view of the world." For London-based WNW Member Rejane Dal Bello, that means "doing projects that awaken a true sentiment within you." WNW Member Jennifer Hayashi adds, "The event featured a number of varied talks, which were full of insights into the designers' work, often from a personal and emotional perspective... I came away from the event wanting to create more!"
The laidback vibe yet energetic conversations created a night of productive dialogue that didn't let up from the introductions to even after the event's conclusion. As Rose recalls, "When I got everyone in the audience to turn to their neighbour and say 'hello', they wouldn't stop talking! It was so encouraging and made my heart melt to see people genuinely having a connection and building their network." Jennifer adds, "My highlight of the event was the conversations I had afterward with those that had watched. I love talking to new people, but it’s always pretty daunting to talk to someone for the first time. It made my night."
The theme of "design for good" seemed to especially strike a chord with all who attended. Rejane sees the design industry as well-positioned to effect significant change. "Creativity and design are embedded within every industry. I wish we could help with every conversation and situation since that is the nature of our work. We are not doctors but we create the tools for them to perform the best surgery, for example." For Jennifer, design for good can be as much about the creator's personal journey as the outcome. "The illustrations I shared developed from a need to express myself and create, not with the need to please a client or to gain prestige on blogs or social media, but just for me. I wanted to be part of this conversation, as I see so many people doing things to get noticed, or to get that next client. I think we often ignore what we would like to do creatively. I wanted to show that it’s important to do work to please yourself. I’ve felt some lows and burn-out in my career; it’s nice to just have something that lifts the spirit and brings that energy back. In my case, it led to some client work with Impulse & Anne-Marie, which I never dreamed I’d work on."
It's great to see General Assembly dedicating themselves to enable such important and challenging conversations. It's fitting, given General Assembly unique mission to enable people from all walks of life to reinvent themselves and their careers. And as Rose tells us, bringing in outside voices allows the "Inside the Minds of Brilliant Designers" series to continue pushing the conversation while remaining both relevant and challenging. "Personally, I love giving our platform over to creative thinkers and doers. I would love to see next year for Inside The Minds be an exploration into creative and design innovation, to discuss the hard-hitting topics that modern creators face. Stay tuned!"