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Inspiring Huddersfield’s next generation of designers

Almost two hundred design practitioners, students and enthusiasts descended on Bates Mill last week for Huddersfield’s first ever Design Conference, and we’re thrilled to have played a major role in making it happen.

Organised by Wilson’s Republic – a homegrown creative network co-founded by our very own design director Darren – the day-long event saw industry-renowned names taking to the stage to deliver insightful talks about their roots and routes into the sector. These included esteemed prop and model maker John Lee, typeface agency Dalton Maag’s creative director Tom Foley and Coca Cola’s vice president of global design James Sommerville, to name just a few.

But the conference wasn’t just an inspiring celebration of our town’s immense talent – the programme also featured a number of seminars and workshops, providing attendees with practical advice on things like logo design and intellectual property rights.

One of these talks was delivered by our managing director Lesley. Entitled ‘The Business of Design’, Lesley’s presentation provided advice on measuring the impact of design input, pitching credibly, charging appropriately and adding value to clients’ businesses.

Focusing largely on how effective design can make a real strategic difference to a company – and how this impact can be gauged – Lesley explored the importance of working in collaboration with clients to achieve shared objectives. She also advised attendees to look after themselves, stay grounded and hold onto their passion as they pursue a career in the industry. It can be a high-pressure path with many deadlines to meet but, as Lesley emphasised, remembering the reasons for choosing design in the first place is vital.

With an audience largely made up of university and college students, it was great to be able to share some of The Engine Room’s expertise with the next generation of designers. And if there’s one thing we learnt ourselves from the conference, it’s that there’s certainly no shortage of talent in our town.

There have been whisperings already that a second event is in the pipeline, expected to be held in 2019. This year’s conference is going to be hard to top, but something tells us that Huddersfield’s design scene will be more than ready to rise to the challenge…