Special Events

We know you come to HOW Design Live to fill up those inspiration reserves, network, and grow your skillset—but who says you can’t have fun at the same time? Not us, my friend. That’s why, over the next few months, we’ll be rolling out all kinds of big news about the exhibits, activities and special extras that make HOW so much fun to attend.

That means new activities that are going to happen outside the walls of the venue so you get the chance to really connect with the incredible city of Chicago. We won’t just be visiting a city this year; our goal is to engage with it.

The best way to stay up-to-date is to make sure you’re signed up for the conference newsletter and to keep opening those emails. We’ll be spilling more details soon! For now, here is a preview of some of the annual events that are back by popular demand!


Where: Exhibit Hall

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Julia Reich will be capturing attendee's thoughts by offering 3 prompts about HOW Design will create tomorrow, HOW Design can make a difference and HOW Design can be sustainable. She will then create - in real time - a visual of their thoughts by using words, drawings, shapes and symbols. This will provide an incredible visual summary of the HOW attendees to reflect on in the moment, and remember in the future.

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Bio: Along with graphic design and brand strategy consulting, Julia Reich of Stone Soup Creative is a graphic recorder. When a company, school or organization has a strategy meeting or conference, she is at the front of the room making a giant, live drawing of the group's conversation or presentation. Her goal is to capture the content of what is being said with words, drawings, arrows, shapes and symbols. She finds patterns and themes and makes connections. This helps the people in the room feel listened to. There is also a visual summary of the content for attendees to reflect on in the moment, and remember in the future.


Tuesday, May 7 from 12:45pm-1:15pm

The goal of HOW Connection is simple: to give you a reason to meet someone new so when you walk into that session a little later, there’s someone there motioning you over with that subtle head nod we all need in life. This isn't a networking event, those are lame. This is a ‘meet your new best friend’ event that gives you at least one story of questionable decision-making to post about on your social feeds.

Come out and meet those people that will become your tribe; new friends that will become your go-to for work challenges, new ideas, and all-around support while you navigate this ever-changing creative world we're in. Because that’s what creative conferences are all about.

This has been a HUGE HIT the past several years and we can’t wait for you to start your HOW Design Live experience off right… by meeting up with old friends, finding some new ones, and having some geeky designer fun.



Every year the Stock Photo Expo gives attendees an opportunity to discover inspiring new sources of stock images from specialty suppliers to general stock photo houses.

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Tuesday, May 7 from 6:00-8:00pm in the Exhibit Hall

Get the first look at premium products and services designed to elevate your work. This a great opportunity to grab a drink, connect with your fellow creatives (bring lots of business cards!), and discuss the latest industry trends. The swag is always great, too! 

This year, our Exhibit Hall will be better than ever. Expect more interactive fun, HOW collectibles, and premium giveaways—plus a whole lot more we can’t reveal just yet!



Where: Exhibit Hall

Check out this live reflection of HOW Design Live illustrated with words and drawing. 



Where: Exhibit Hall

Looking for a career change, a client or talent to join your firm? Then the Job Board is the place for you. Everyone needs a professional headshot to put on their blog or resume. Here is an opportunity for you to polish your image.



Wednesday, May 8 from 6:00-7:00pm in the Exhibit Hall.

One of the best things about HOW Design Live is all of the connections you make. The people you meet here can often become your go-to resources for all things design. They share your desire to make amazing stuff, get better, and change the world. These are your industry peeps, your trusted network, and they are invaluable.

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Join our expert speakers for one-on-one, 10-minute personal coaching sessions, and to discuss various design topics. This is your chance to get career advice, talk through a sticky project, or ask for feedback on your portfolio. Sign-up information to come!



Join a mix of speakers and fellow attendees to discuss what's happening in your industry. You'll leave with insight, tips, new ideas, and some great new contacts. Attendance is first-come, first-served - look for more details as we get closer to the conference.



When: Thursday, May 9 

This is where everyone gathers to unwind, decompress and celebrate the days of inspiration and engagement we've all experienced.  After days of cramming your heads with information, it’s time to let go. That's right... it's time to party!

Register now for the opportunity to connect with thousands of attendees and vendors

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