The Non-Designer’s Guide to Design Week Portland 2014

I am not a designer. Plain and simple. I’m still going to Design Week Portland, and I’ve made a guide for all you other non-designers.

Note: Several events I was excited about are already sold out, so I’ve readjusted and omitted those shows.

I’d like to present to you…

guide to design week portland 2014


First off, don’t forget to check out some of the week-long events, including HQ Illustrators in Residence and CFA Design|Build: Street Seats. If you have a lull in your schedule make your way over to one of those. They’re all day, every day. Now let’s move into the day-by-day picks. Navigate gracefully using the links above.



Make Your Voice Heard: The Intersection of Craft, Creativity, and Activism

Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside

7:30-9 pm, free

Why: Why not? Start off Design Week with some textile specialists weaving (hah…) together the worlds of design and activism.



Using Process to Hack Design with Eric Karjaluoto

52 Limited, 330 SE MLK #1B

12pm, $30 & includes lunch (need tickets) SOLD OUT

Why: “Eric will debunk creative myths, present a better way to produce design, and provide tips on how to make the design process clearer, faster, more valuable and more profitable.” Plus lunch is included.


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:volution

eROI, 505 NW Couch St #300

4-6 pm, free (need tickets)

Why: “…what is in the future for email?” Email marketing will be sticking around for a long time and is much more stable than social media marketing. It’s imperative that you’re building a list if you hope to succeed online. Any intel we can gather from experts is an asset.


A Conversation with Aaron Rayburn

Tillamook Station, 665 N Tillamook

6-9 pm, $20 (need tickets) SOLD OUT

Why: “…a night of great conversation and inspiration…with one of 12 Most Innovative Designers in America (Esquire Magazine).” Can’t go wrong there. Besides, he’s associated with Jelly Helm, who founded the W&K 12 and delivered an incredible lecture on the work of Joseph Campbell at Hand-Eye Supply not too long ago.


Beyond Grades, Walls and Online Learning: The Future of Education in a Freelance World

Multnomah County Central Library, 801 SW 10th

6-7 pm, free (need tickets) SOLD OUT

Why: “Let’s make sure that the incentive systems used in schools reflect incentive systems in the business world.” – Fascinating idea. This event should be interesting for anyone in the field of education. I just released my first online class on Udemy and am interested for that reason. Plus, this is being followed by an open discussion that should prove exciting.


Getting to Know You(Tube)

Hollywood Theater, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd

9:30-11:30 pm, $5

Why: Get to know strangers by taking a seat and letting them each take you on a 15-minute tour of what they like on YouTube? Awesome. Hey, you can even get up there yourself and showcase your own favorites.



Tools for Using Bio-Aligned Design (Workshop)

Hatch, 2420 NE Sandy

10-12 pm OR 6-8 pm, $30 (need tickets)

Why: Can’t make the associated lecture because it’s sold out, but this workshop by the same people could be even cooler. If you’re not familiar with the concept of bio-mimicry, then check it out. “…learn a new set of bio-inspired tools to creatively solve challenges, foster conditions where creative juices can flow, and abstract lessons learned from Nature.”


Design for Non-Profits

Leopold Ketel, 118 SW 1st

12-1 pm, free

Why: What’s good for non-profits is good for everyone. They operate on a budget and with typically limited staff. If you’re in business for yourself, you’re likely facing similar challenges. I’m arguably most excited for this event over any others.


The Beauty of Utility with Gordon Gill

Ecotrust Building, 721 NW 9th Ave

5-7:30 pm, free

Why: Architecture-focused, but has the potential to be one of those industry-specific lectures that make the lead to mind-expanding discussions.



Advisors & Your Creative Practice: Untapped Support

1001 SE Division St.

12pm, free

Why: If this were a ticketed event, it’d be sold out already, so get there early. It will be packed, I promise. This is setup to be one of the most useful events of Design Week Portland for absolutely anyone looking to become a better human being. “She will share why mentors are essential, what kind of mentor to consider, where you will find a mentor, and HOW to get one on board.”


CORIZONTAL with Mark Lewman of Nemo

Downstream, 1624 NW Johnson St.

5-7pm, $10 (need tickets)

Why: “Topics breezily covered in this talk include how to pitch, what to do when you’re out of ideas, when to quit your job, how to pronounce the word corizontal, and other essentials to prepare the modern wanderers out there looking for their line in the creative profession.” This guy sounds hilarious and the topic is gold, gold, gold.


Selling Ice Cubes to Eskimos, How Design Motivates Reluctant Buyers Online

eROI, 505 NW Couch St #300

5:30-7:30 pm, free (need tickets)

Why: The title makes it sounds really applicable to anyone doing business online, and the eROI team has proven that they know their stuff.


Art of Articulation

Puppet Labs, 926 NW 13th Ave #210

7-8:30 pm, $10 (at door)

Why: “Developing the solution is not enough. How you communicate the idea is just as important as the solution itself.” – Great for anyone looking to improve their sales pitch or become more persuasive.



HQ Podcast: Postano

Event Dome at HQ, Pioneer Courthouse Square

10-11:30 am, free

Why: Postano is an agency that specializes in social media branding, and this interview with is their creative director, David Stewart. He’ll be talking about his participation in the social media strategy behind this year’s Design Week, as well as other central components.


Allan Chochinov, “The Order of Things: Unpacking the Perils and Promises of Design and the Media”

1330 NW Kearney

UPDATE: 5-7 pm 3-5 pm, free

Why: “From Kickstarter videos to mainstream media, there is a relentless effort to influence and determine our ideas around value, consumption and sustainability—all through the lens of good design and aspiring innovation.” – If you can get in, this will be a riveting talk that promises to be both “heartbreaking” and “heartwarming.”


How to Sell Design to Developers

Quick Left Offices, 529 SW 3rd, 2nd floor

6-9 pm, free

Why: It’s a short, and I’m betting worthwhile, presentation followed by drinks. Good meet and greet partway though Design Week if you’re looking to get out of your seat and be social.



Anna Talcs: Creative Mornings / Portland

The Gerding Theater at the Armory, 128 NW 11th Ave

8:30-10 am, free (need tickets)

Why: This ongoing series isn’t just here for Design Week, but if you haven’t been to a Create Mornings event, you should. This installment is about the way we dress and how it’s one of “our most fundamental modes of expression.” Anna goes further to explain “how it is possible to weave a creative career from the threads of all creative interests.”


HQ Experiment: The New Shit Show

Event Dome at HQ, Pioneer Courthouse Square

2-3:30 pm, $15 (need tickets)

Why: Awesome cast of Portlanders behind this show, including Moth StorySLAM host Andrew Dickson and standup comedian Amy Miller. I’m guessing you’ll leave wearing no pants. Fill in that context, huh?


Put a Bird In It: Birdhouse Auction

Leftbank Annex, 101 N Weidler St

7-11 pm, free

Why: Words just don’t to it justice.

put a bird in it - design week portland


Battle Under Burnside

Under the Burnside Bridge, 17 SE 3rd Ave

8-11 pm, donation (need tickets)

Why: I don’t even know what this is, but the promo photo and non-descriptive event write-up sold me. Who the hell cares what it actually is?



Advisors & Your Creative Practice: Untapped Support (repeat from Wednesday)

1001 SE Division St.

12pm, free

Why: If this were a ticketed event, it’d be sold out already, so get there early. It will be packed, I promise. This is setup to be one of the most useful events of Design Week Portland for absolutely anyone looking to become a better human being. “She will share why mentors are essential, what kind of mentor to consider, where you will find a mentor, and HOW to get one on board.”


Creative Clubhouse

Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St

2-7 pm, $15 (need tickets)

Why: This is a mini-event from Maker’s Nation serving as part of Design Week. There are several panels with topics including “How do I reach new audiences?” and “How do I price my work?” Looks like a great networking opportunity if you’re feeling social, and given the all-encompassing nature of it you could easily spend your whole day here– and feel like a champion.


Have fun at Design Week Portland, all you non-designers, and I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide.


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  • Frank Pils

    This is a terrific guide. Thanks for creating it.
    I’m curious how the Battle Under The Bridge goes.
    Also, Ecotrust is spelled as one word with one capital letter.

    • alexander ernst

      Thanks, Frank. I made the change to Ecotrust, and I’m equally curious about Battle Under the Bridge. It’s the strangest event the whole week.