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Design South Africa

Early bird bookings for Business of Design conference open

The two-day conference, Business of Design, returns to Johannesburg and Cape Town in August with more lessons and inspiration from the country's top business experts and industry professionals. It will be held in Johannesburg on 17-18 August at The Forum, Bryanston and in Cape Town on 23-24 August at the Inner City Ideas Cartel, 71 Waterkant Street.
Early bird bookings for Business of Design conference open

Now in its third year, the conference welcomes a new lineup of speakers who aim to guide delegates in ways to work smarter, offering tools for growth and insights into the latest industry trends and brand movements. Topics cover a diverse range of interests that are relevant to various sectors of the industry – from social media case studies and top tips when preparing for international trade shows, to ways to use design thinking to affect change, and insider strategies for brand activations.

“What started off as a conference for design businesses, has grown to welcome delegates from marketing, architecture, retail, advertising and even financial backgrounds,” says Business of Design co-founder, Laurence Brick, MD of Platform Creative Agency and creative director for 100% Design South Africa.

“It has become a must-attend event for anyone wanting to progress in their business, think differently about the way they work, and network with industry peers on a level they would not normally be afforded the opportunity to do.”

Business of Design has, over the course of three conferences – one in 2014 and two in 2015 – hosted more than 750 delegates, with 90 of South Africa’s top designers, business experts and industry consultants now forming part of its growing network of alumni speakers.

Says Business of Design co-founder, Trevyn McGowan of Source and Southern Guild, “It has been extremely rewarding to witness the results that have come out of these conferences, including creative collaborations sparked during our networking drinks sessions, and business growth that we have seen when delegates apply lessons learned. Even our own company, which has been going for more than 12 years, has gained valuable new strategies from these talks.”

The two full days include over 16 talks, with each day ending in a two-hour networking drinks session from 5-7pm, where delegates and speakers are afforded the opportunity to exchange ideas and business cards over a few drinks. “That is one of the great appeals of Business of Design,” says McGowan. “It is not a stuffy, formal conference, but rather a friendly, welcoming environment where long-term relationship-building is as important as business growth.”


See the website for each city’s speakers

  • Robbie Brozin and Tracy Lynch / Nando’s - The Designer Link
  • Stefan Antoni / SAOTA, ARRCC, OKHA Interiors - Local Goes Global
  • Luke Dale-Roberts / The Test Kitchen, Pot Luck Club - Staying at the Forefront
  • Ian Fuhr / Sorbet Group - Building Brand Loyalty
  • Emilie Gambade / ELLE - The Rise of African Fashion
  • Mike Abel and Robert Grace / M&C Saatchi Abel - The Power of the Idea
  • Trevyn McGowan / Source, Southern Guild, GUILD Working the Business of Design
  • Heather Moore / Skinny laMinx - Social Media Case Study
  • Sean Mahoney / StudioMAS - Designing for the Environment
  • Andile Dyalvane / Imiso Ceramics - Becoming an Icon
  • Andrea Kleinloog / Anatomy Design - Partnerships: Finding the Right Fit
  • Conn Bertish / Cancer Dojo - Using Design Thinking to Affect Change
  • Cathy O’Clery / Platform Creative Agency, 100% Design South Africa - State of the Nations: Africa’s Design Pull
  • Eitan Stern / Legalese - The Changing Nature of Business Relationships
  • Kate Schrire / The Creamery - The Neighbourhood Success Story
  • Paul Ballen / Paul’s Homemade Ice-Cream - Keys to Success: A Story of Authenticity
  • Paul Dalton / Leapfrog Projects - Business Strategy: A Process of Design
  • Anthea Poulos, Andrew Berry, Nicholas Christowitz and Katlego Maponyane / The Bread Case Study: Activating Your Brand
  • Rex Bowden / Catalyze - International Trade Shows: The Prep Work
  • Trevor Wolfe / - Feedback 2.0 – Redefining the Creative Review Process and its Impact on Creative Output

The cost is R3,300, as an early bird discount until 30 June, moving to R3,950 after 1 July; R3,000 for Business of Design alumni and R2,500 for students. SACAP and IID member discounts and CPD credits apply. Group discounts for five or more. For more information, go to

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