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UI Design
Sep 29, 2020
17 minute read

Prominent Design Conferences 2020

Miklos is a lead UX designer, product design strategist, author, and speaker with more than 18 years of experience in the design field.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go.” – Dr. Seuss

Even the sharpest designers need to explore new ideas, learn about new tools and techniques, and draw inspiration from other creative perspectives to stay on top of their discipline. Attending the best design conferences is a great way to hear about different approaches to existing frames of reference, explore how other designers approach the design process, how they tackle UX research and testing, craft design systems, lead design teams, and deploy new workflows and technologies (for example, AI and machine learning).

Many design conference attendees say it’s not only the presentations on stage or the workshops that bring them to design conferences. It’s also the opportunity to meet fellow designers and industry leaders, mingle and network, and to engage in stimulating conversations about design.

The best design conferences 2020
The App Design and Development Conference (ADDC) in Barcelona.

We have combed through hundreds of design conferences, considered size, location, speakers, workshops, and the conference’s track record to present a list of the 65 most prominent design conferences for 2020.

If we have missed a prominent, reputable design conference, please add a comment at the bottom of this article in the comments section.

(Please note: Since we’re publishing this list of design conferences at the end of January, we’re omitting the month of January from this year’s lineup.)

February


Interaction 20/IXDA: February 2-7 - Milan, Italy
Cost: $495 to $1,500 (workshop & education summit sold separately)

One of the largest events dedicated to design and organized by The Interaction Design Association (IxDA), this conference will bring together the brightest minds in design, as well as science, philosophy, psychology, and business.

UX Istanbul: February 18 - Istanbul, Turkey
Cost: £190+VAT

The first international UX and usability conference of Turkey and the surrounding regions with 15 speakers and four workshops. The event invites UX and usability professionals from leading companies around the world to share their experiences in Istanbul.

Digital Thinkers Conference: February 19-21 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Cost: €499 to €850 (conference and bundle tickets with workshops)

One of the Awwwards conferences, this event is for digital creatives, developers, and design leaders. A three-day conference of presentations and workshops with 27 influential speakers who inspire, teach, and guide.

FITC Amsterdam: February 24-25 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Cost: €399 to €599

Now in its 13th year, FITC returns to Amsterdam to host their groundbreaking design and tech event on the future of innovation, design, and everything in between. FITC Amsterdam features the world’s most innovative, technical, and creative talks that will inspire creatives to pursue their dreams and create their best work.

Experience Design Week: February 24-26 - Denver, Colorado, USA
Cost: 3-day pass $3,699 to $3,999 / 2-day pass $2,999

Experience Design 2020 will not just focus on experience design tied solely to UX design, but will also push to explore the boundaries of what an experience really means and how to use design to impact the end result. At Experience Design 2020, attendees can learn about experience design best practices from industry leaders with sessions targeted to both specific function and organizational experience design implementation.

The UX design conference 2020 in London
The UX Conference in London.

March


The UX Conference: March 2-3 - London, UK
Cost: £38 to £765 bundle tickets for talks and workshops, see site

The theme for the conference this year is collaboration between UX, UI, and content designers. Touted as “a design conference that’s not about buzzwords, but collaboration between designers,” this two-day conference in the heart of London has talks and workshops with 16 speakers from such companies as Toptal, Airbnb, Shopify, InVision, and more.

Convey UX: March 3-5 - Seattle, Washington, USA
Cost: 3-day pass $995 early bird. Regular cost to be announced.

ConveyUX is the premier user experience conference on the West Coast. The 2020 conference in Seattle features 65 sessions from 50 UX leaders across three full days. This UX conference has several highly interactive half-day workshops and 12 concurrent sessions with a variety of formats and topics. This three-day event brings more than 500 people together for education, networking, and socializing.

Leading Design: March 4-6 - San Francisco, California, USA
Cost: $1,495

In its fifth year, this design conference is for people leading design teams, overseeing design direction, or instilling a culture of design within their organizations. Past speakers have worked at Facebook, Netflix, IBM, Spotify, and Google. Attendees will hear practical tips, get hands-on in workshops, and get a chance to meet peers from all over the world.

SXSW: March 13-22 - Austin, Texas, USA
Cost: $540 to $1,270

Featuring a variety of tracks including design, this giant conference allows attendees to explore what’s next in the worlds of film, culture, design, music, and technology. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together. With one unified conference spanning 22 tracks of programming, there will be more opportunities for networking, learning, and discovery than ever before.

UX Copenhagen: March 30-31 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Cost: $890 to $950

Two days with 20+ speakers, hands-on workshops, inspiration, networking, new knowledge, and new insights. What is influence in UX? This is the subject we have given our speakers for 2020: “Influence & Designing for Good.” Some of the subjects are DesignOps, privilege, tech for social good, futures thinking, ethical OS, designing against domestic violence, and more.

AIGA Design Conference: March 30-April 1 - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Cost: $395 t0 $1,495

The AIGA Design Conference brings the design community together in a cross-disciplinary exchange of ideas about the changing world of design. Designers can recharge their career with thought-provoking presentations from more than 16 leading industry speakers, receive professional training, and attend meetups with design luminaries.

AIGA Design Conference
The AIGA Design Conference in March.

April


Design Thinking Australia: April 1-2 - Sydney, Australia
Cost: $2,615 (bundle tickets are available when adding workshops)

Design Thinking Australia 2020 event returns with a three-day jam-packed program filled with workshops, case studies, and interactive discussion groups. Hear from the heads of design product owners, CX experts, and innovation leaders on how they are creating deeper interactions with their users every day through the core principles of human-centered design thinking.

OFFSET Dublin: April 3-5 - Dublin, Ireland
Cost: €125 to €239

With more than 2,500 attendees each year, OFFSET has fast become one of the world’s most inspirational, educational, and vocational conferences for the design and creative industries. It has attracted such creative icons as Massimo Vignelli, Sir Peter Blake, David Carson, Milton Glaser, Kyle Cooper, Stefan Sagmeister, and many more. Representing the design industry at all levels, the speakers are key influencers in their field driving everything from huge global campaigns to awe-inspiring personal projects.

UXinsight: April 6-8 - Breda, The Netherlands
Cost: 3-day pass €885 / 2-day pass €600 / 1-day pass €335

In its fourth year, UXinsight is an international event for UX research professionals and anyone interested in UX research. It has become a popular and respected international UX research conference. The aim of the event is to give the UX research field and community a boost by sharing knowledge, experiences, and ideas.

An Event Apart: April 13-15 - Washington, DC, USA
Cost: 3-day pass $1,500 / 2-day pass $1,100 / 1-day pass $600

A three-day design conference with 17 sessions and an intense focus on digital design, UX, content, code, and more, giving attendees deep insights into where we are now and where things are going next.

Design Thinking USA: April 14-17 - Austin, Texas, USA
Cost: 4-day pass $4,399 / 3-day pass $3,699 / 2-day pass $2,999

An event for design, CX, and UX professionals, this design conference is four days filled with hands-on learning workshops, site tours, and keynote presentations led by innovative design thinkers from all industries. This year’s keynote speaker is John Maeda.

HXD-Health Experience Design: April 14-15 - Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Cost: $1,485 including a workshop

This design conference provides a unique crossroads for a diverse community of executives and practitioners in design, innovation, research, strategy, and technology to help accelerate the transformation of healthcare. Attracting more than 400 visionaries across the health ecosystem, this two-day mix of inspiring presentations, workshops, and discussion will help drive real-world change.

Smashing Conference: April 21-22 - San Francisco, California, USA
Cost: varies (bundle tickets are also available when adding workshops)

This design conference tends to be broad and includes front end, design, and UX, with CSS/JS techniques, accessibility, performance, privacy, internationalization, designing for mobile, HTML email, and real-life case studies.

Design Thinking Europe: April 22-23 - London, UK
Cost: £1,259 to £3,000

This design conference gathers European design leaders working on how to effectively implement customer-centric frameworks. The conference will explore how to champion human-centered mindset shifts and effectively shape design teams. Three days of interactive roundtable discussions, workshops, networking, and case studies.

OFFF: April 23-25 - Barcelona, Spain
Cost: €165 (sales tax not included, workshops not included)

OFFF seems to be a sort of festival/conference hybrid. It is a community of offline/online designers, motion designers, animators, illustrators, photographers, experience designers, sound designers, graphic designers, theorists, developers, students, and more. OFFF is a three-day journey of conferences, workshops, activities, and performances.

Beyond Tellerrand Düsseldorf: April 27-28 - Düsseldorf, Germany
Cost: €299

Now in its 10th year, this conference—replete with side events and workshops—is about creativity, inspiration, learning, and meeting like-minded people. The name “beyond tellerrand” expresses the goal that everybody wants to look a bit further, look beyond the edge, and it also reflects the global perspective of the event.

The UXinsight design conference 2020
The UXinsight conference with Toptal designer Brian Pagán on stage.

May


Pixel Up!: May 4-6 - Cape Town, South Africa
Cost: 3-day pass $650 / 2-day pass $545 / workshop only: $285

Africa’s premier user experience and design conference, Pixel Up! is by designers for designers. Three days of learning, connecting, and discovery with local and international speakers in beautiful Cape Town.

HOW Design Live: May 4-7 - Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Cost: 4-day pass $1,495 / 2-day pass $1,095 / 1-day pass $795

HOW Design Live is where creatives connect with an inclusive community of like-minded design thinkers, entrepreneurs, designers, marketers, and creative leaders to develop relationships that last long after their event experience. “We bring together some of the most remarkable design thinkers of our time, and innovative design leaders to inspire and educate our community of makers, thinkers and creators.”

An Event Apart: May 11-13 - Seattle, Washington, USA
Cost: 3-day pass $1,500 / 2-day pass $1,100 / 1-day pass $600

A three-day design conference with 17 sessions and an intense focus on digital design, UX, content, code, and more, giving attendees deep insights into where we are now and where things are going next.

UX Salon: May 1o-11 - Tel Aviv, Israel
Cost: $210 t0 $480+fee (bundle ticket with/without workshop, see site)

UX Salon is an event for anyone who wants to learn more about user experience design. This includes user experience practitioners, product managers, interactive and visual designers, students, startups, entrepreneurs, marketing specialists, and other professionals dedicated to creating usable products and services.

Confab: May 17-20 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Cost: $1,095 to $2,695

Confab is an event for people who care about making content better for their users and organizations. It’s not only for content strategists. It’s for people who plan, design, build, or manage content, including UX designers, content marketers, writers and editors, technical communicators, and content managers.

eCommerce Design Summit: May 20-21 - London, UK
Cost: To be announced (registration for early access available)

This conference is tailored toward those working as product/experience/design leaders at eCommerce companies. With 10 design leaders and two panel discussions each day, this design conference is an opportunity to hear about and discuss the most pressing issues in digital commerce.

UXLx: User Experience Lisbon: May 19-22 - Lisbon, Portugal
Cost: 4-day pass €1,395 / 2-day pass €795 / 1-day pass €345 (see site for details)

A four-day conference and now in its 10th year, UXLx is Europe’s largest training event with 22 hands-on workshops and 10 inspirational talks from world-class industry speakers. Get together with 500 people from around the world in sunny Lisbon to be inspired, boost your skills, and share new ideas.

The Design Conference: May 21-23 - Brisbane, Australia
Cost: $182 to $485 (single day, multi-day, and premium packages)

This design conference is less about “digital design” and more tilted toward traditional art and design, including visual design, graphic design, illustration, art direction, and creative direction. There are presentations about design, art, and the creative business, hands-on workshops with globally acclaimed design and art leaders, and highly engaging networking opportunities with world-class design and art practitioners.

Design Thinkers: May 26-27 - Vancouver, Canada
Cost: Ticket prices not currently available

DesignThinkers is Canada’s largest annual graphic design conference, connecting designers from around the world. These speaker-led events in Toronto and Vancouver feature design leaders discussing the trends and work that are shaping the industry.

UX London: May 27-29 - London, UK
Cost: £1,225+VAT

Three days of talks and workshops focused on UX, opportunities to connect with the international UX community, entertainment, inspiration, craft beer, and more. Attendees will spend the mornings gaining unique insights from the lineup of excellent speakers, before rolling up their sleeves and heading off to the afternoon workshop of their choice.

DesignOps Global Conference: May 28-30 - Manchester, UK
Cost: £780 (£600 with a group discount)

The DesignOps Global Conference is for design leaders, researchers, developers, practitioners, product managers, service innovators, and business leaders that are defining the way we design and develop new products and services.

The best design conferences include deep-dive case study sessions with design industry leaders
The eCommerce Design Summit in May in London (Tech Circus).

June


#UXRConf: June 3-5 - Toronto, Canada
Cost: $635 to $807 a day depending on workshop and day

#UXRConf is an annual UX research conference for people who champion user needs in their organization, want to level up their research practice, and help build a better user research community. It includes workshops, focused track talks, and a mainstage event.

Adobe 99U Conference: June 3-5 - New York City, USA
Cost: $1,028 (badge prices increase on March 5)

What does it mean to be a creative? Hear from a diverse group of thinkers and doers in a series of mainstage talks over two days. 99U speakers offer pragmatic, real-world insights that transcend creative sectors. A huge bonus is their “open studios” program: Step inside the workspaces of famous design studios and creative organizations across New York City as they open their doors exclusively to the 99U audience.

BAD (Behavior and Design) Conference: June 4 - London, UK
Cost: £325+VAT

The BAD Conference pulls together some of the world’s leading UX psychologists and researchers to talk about the implementation of behavioral design into user research and design. Industry heavyweight and behavioral scientist Susan Weinschenk was recently added to their speaker lineup.

Smashing Conference: June 9-10 - Austin, Texas, USA
Cost: $599 (bundle tickets are available when adding workshops)

12 speakers, including two industry heavyweights this year: Luke Wroblewski and Brad Frost. This design conference tends to be broad and includes front end, design, and UX, with CSS/JS techniques, accessibility, performance, privacy, internationalization, designing for mobile, HTML email, and real-life case studies.

UX Scotland: June 10-12 - Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Cost: 3-day pass £500 / 1-day pass £200 +VAT

UX Scotland, in its eighth year, is for the UX, service design, and digital communities. A hands-on, practical design conference for the software, web, and mobile community, the event aspires to create a space where participants are able to inspire, connect, and learn from their peers and leaders in the industry in a welcoming environment.

The Next Web: June 18-19 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Cost: €149-€949

This conference is a technology festival that brings together international technology executives, top-tier investors, and promising startups for two days of business and knowledge sharing. Now in its 15th edition, the conference has grown from a 200-person event to bringing together 20,000 attendees and 3,500 companies from all over the world.

UXPA International 2020: June 23-25 - Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Cost: Program and tickets to be announced

The international event from the User Experience Professionals Association for UX designers, researchers, and academics of all backgrounds and experiences.

ADDC: June 23-26 - Barcelona, Spain
Cost: €399 (early bird price, regular cost TBA; workshop separate)

A single-track international conference for iOS & Android developers and UX/UI designers.

FinTech Design Summit: June 25 - New York City, USA
Cost: To be announced (registration for early access available)

This design conference is dedicated to product design, UX, and strategy in the financial services industry. This year will feature great innovators, exploring how they are utilizing new technology and experience-led design principles to transform the industry, simplifying financial services for consumers around the world.

ICON11: June 28-July 1 - Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Cost: $485 to $685

ICON is an inclusive gathering of illustrators, designers, educators, representatives, and art buyers exploring illustration today. ICON is committed to providing a diverse forum for an ongoing dialogue that serves the illustration, design, publishing, advertising, and academic communities.

99U is one of the best design conferences

July


UX STRAT Europe: June 29-July 1 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Cost: €600 to €1,560 (conference and bundle tickets with workshops)

A conference bringing together design leaders, strategists, user researchers, design-focused data scientists, product managers, and experienced design professionals for presentations and workshops about the latest trends at the intersection of business strategy, user experience, product design, and service design.

Design/Content: July 15-17 - Vancouver, Canada
Cost: $638 to $1,282 (discounts available)

Touted as “the world’s premier design and content strategy conference.” Hear from industry leaders about crafting experiences and telling stories that shape the future of the web. A day of workshops, two days of talks, and thoughtful extras.

IXDC: July 16-19 - Shenzhen, China
Cost: $728 to $2,258

Hosted by the International eXperience Design Committee (IXDC), a non-profit organization founded in 2010 with the support of more than 20 famous companies and universities in China, the International Experience Design Conference is the world’s most influential experience design event, dedicated to connecting the world and building an international platform for exchanging experience design ideas, inspiration, and methods.

SIGGRAPH: July 19-23 - Washington, DC, USA
Registration will open in the spring of 2020

A giant event, this conference/exhibition is about digital art, animation, visual effects, interaction design, film, 3D, VR, mixed reality, games, emerging technologies, and more. At SIGGRAPH, join other researchers, artists, and technologists for the largest conference and exhibition in computer graphics and interactive techniques.

UX Research & Insights Summit: July 21-23 - Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Cost: $1,695 to $1,995 (group rates available as well as workshop add-ons)

The UX Research & Insights Summit is a three-day conference that provides UX researchers, UX designers, and UX strategists with a roadmap to delivering more impactful insights. Attendees will be able to network with more than 400 cross-industry insights leaders, learn best practices from those in the UX field, and network with people across the insights function to ensure UX is delivering value across the insights ecosystem.

Designers at a design conference
The BAD conference happening in June in London (courtesy: Tech Circus).

August


An Event Apart: August 17-19 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Cost: 3-day pass $1,500 / 2-day pass $1,100 / 1-day pass $600

A three-day design conference with 17 sessions and an intense focus on digital design, UX, content, code, and more, giving attendees deep insights into where we are now and where things are going next.

Beyond Tellerrand Berlin: August 24-27 - Berlin, Germany
Cost: €299

Now in its seventh year, this conference—replete with side events and workshops—is about creativity, inspiration, learning, and meeting like-minded people. The name “beyond tellerrand” expresses the goal that everybody wants to look a bit further, look beyond the edge, and it also reflects the global perspective of the event.

UX Australia: August 25-28 - Melbourne, Australia
Cost: $515 t0 $655

Now in its 12th year, Australia’s premier UX design conference offers workshops and talks to suit everyone from graduates to experienced practitioners. Two days of hands-on workshops focus on practical skills and techniques that can help designers get started, learn new methods and tools, or explore new ideas in detail. Two full days of local and international conference presentations cover a vast range of topics and insights relevant to experienced practitioners, newbies, and everyone in between.

UX Australia is one of the best UX conferences

September


Smashing Conference Freiburg: September 7-8 - Freiburg, Germany
Cost: varies (bundle tickets are also available when adding workshops)

This design conference tends to be broad and includes front end, UX, UI design, CSS/JS techniques, accessibility, performance, privacy, internationalization, designing for mobile, and real-life case studies with 13 speakers.

UX Healthcare Frankfurt: September 17-18 - Frankfurt, Germany
Cost: Ticket prices not currently available

Technology is evolving more rapidly than anyone would have ever thought. In healthcare, this change is not embraced as much as in other industries. With UX Healthcare, the conference aims to make a difference because better design is needed in healthcare. The goal is to help healthcare across the world to implement the best user experiences possible.

Design Matters: September 23-24 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Cost: $975 t0 $1,582

Design Matters is a community of creative and curious minds who share the same drive and passion for digital design, technology, art, and society. Design Matters is made by designers, for designers, with designers on stage. Our mission is to spark a conversation about the work and the role of digital designers—now and in the future. Each year, design practitioners take the stage to talk with honesty and passion about their experiences, challenges, successes, and failures.

UXDX design conference panel
The UXDX design conference in Dublin.

October


Nordic.design: October 9 - Stockholm, Sweden
Cost: $263 (super early bird)

Nordic.design is a single-track conference all about UX, UI, design tools, workflows, and more with talks by internationally renowned speakers and rising stars in the design community. It touches on visual design, UX, AR, VR, bots, creative work, and more.

UXDX: October 8-9 - Dublin, Ireland
Cost: €990

This conference’s goal is to bridge the gap between UX, dev, and product. Talks from big-brand company leaders from around the world explore the benefits of tight-knit product teams working together to solve problems for customers. They provide hands-on training focusing on new tools and techniques that cross-functional product teams need.

Amuse UX: October 16 - Budapest, Hungary
Cost: Registration and ticket prices not currently available

Amuse UX is an international user experience conference in Budapest for anyone interested in how to design and develop successful products that users love. Come and see how UX is done by the greatest players, get inspiration from their successes and failures, and network with other professionals.

Adobe MAX: October 19-21 - Los Angeles, California, USA
Cost: $1,895

Adobe MAX is a mega-event and an experience unlike any other—a once-a-year opportunity for designers, developers, and decision-makers. Designers can attend 300+ sessions, labs, and creativity workshops, connect with industry leaders, learn directly from the experts, preview new software, and hear success stories and best practices for creating rich experiences across multiple screens.

Seattle Interactive Conference: October 20-22 - Seattle, Washington, USA
Cost: $449 to $749

Bold ideas at the intersection of creativity and industry in one of the world’s most dynamic cities. With 80 sessions and workshops, this conference is a celebration of the work happening at the intersection of technology, creativity, and industry, focusing on innovation in experience, design, and strategy.

Smashing Conference New York: October 20-21 - New York City, USA
Cost: varies (bundle tickets are also available when adding workshops)

This design conference tends to be broad and includes front end, design, and UX, with CSS/JS techniques, accessibility, performance, privacy, internationalization, designing for mobile, HTML email, and real-life case studies.

World Usability Congress: October 21-22 - Graz, Austria
Cost: 2-day €996 / 1-day €540/ €468 workshops (see site for more options)

The World Usability Congress is a two-day international UX conference. In 2020, it will take place for the eighth time in Graz, Austria. There will be more than 40 speakers from different industries sharing their real-world UX challenges and collaborating with attendees in multi-disciplinary workshops.

UX Live design conference 2020
The UX Live design conference in London in November.

November


Beyond Tellerrand Munich: November 2-4 - Munich, Germany
Cost: €299

Now in its second year, this conference—replete with side events and workshops—is about creativity, inspiration, learning, and meeting like-minded people. The name “beyond tellerrand” expresses the goal that everybody wants to look a bit further, look beyond the edge, and it also reflects the global perspective of the event.

Design Thinkers: November 5-6 - Toronto, Canada
Cost: Ticket prices not currently available

Design Thinkers is Canada’s largest annual graphic design conference, connecting designers from around the world. These speaker-led events in Toronto and Vancouver feature design leaders discussing the trends and work that are shaping the industry.

CanUX: November 12-15 - Ottawa, Canada
Cost: Ticket prices not currently available

Canada’s premier annual UX event, this is a four-day showcase of current experience design trends, featuring hands-on workshops and a world-class mix of presentations, with plenty of opportunities to find inspiration, learn, exchange ideas, and make new friends.

UX Live: November - TBD - London, UK
Cost: Ticket prices not currently available

Spanning user research, product & service design, emerging technologies, and design leadership, UX Live presents three days of practical, actionable insights into the UX methodologies and best practices employed by some of the world’s leading researchers and designers.

CanUX design conference 2020
The CanUX design conference in Ottawa, Canada (photo by Elida Arrizza).

December


An Event Apart: December 14-16 - San Francisco, California, USA
Cost: 3-day pass $1,500 / 2-day pass $1,100 / 1-day pass $600

A three-day design conference with 17 sessions and an intense focus on digital design, UX, content, code, and more, giving attendees deep insights into where we are now and where things are going next.

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Further reading on the Toptal Design Blog: