Register by April 1st to save $200!
Debbie Millman

When HOW asked me to help organize the HOW Leadership Conference—part of HOW Design Live, May 12 – 16 in Boston—I had one caveat: that it be less about “winning the rat race” and more about leading a meaningful life. I was inspired by a remarkable quote from David Foster Wallace that reads, in part, Deep down, you almost always like how a real leader makes you feel, the way you find yourself working harder and pushing yourself and thinking in ways you couldn’t ever get to on your own.”

With that in mind, I put together my “fantasy” conference, featuring the best speakers and thought leaders I’ve ever encountered: Malcolm Gladwell, Moira Cullen, Dan Pink, Maria Popova, Karl Heiselman, Jake Barton, Paola Antonelli, Seth Godinand many more.

So when May 12 rolls around, I’ll be learning from these brilliant thinkers alongside (I hope) the rest of you. And since HOW has opened up the entire 5-conference program to let attendees customize their own HOW Design Live, I’ve pulled together the highlights that I think will help you do better work—and think in ways you couldn’t ever get to on your own.

The deadline to save $200 is next Tuesday, April 1. And there are still a few of my signed posters left for the next registrants—it features a handcrafted, felt-on-felt excerpt of David Foster Wallace’s quote on leadership from his book Consider the Lobster and Other Essays. Register now for your chance to get one!

Here is My HOW Design Live:

Monday, May 12

Stefan Mumaw 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Comedy Improv Training for Creatives
With Stefan Mumaw, Callahan Creek
HOW Design Conference
I adore Stefan, and I think this workshop will be great exercise for attendees to shake off their inhibitions, open their minds to new ideas and prepare for five days of wonderfulness.
Malcolm Gladwell 4:15 – 5:15 PM
Malcolm Gladwell in Conversation with DeeDee Gordon

HOW Design Live General Session
I couldn’t think of a better way to start the HOW Leadership Conference than with someone who challenges conventional thinking. His counterintuitive theories expose surprising truths and designers will recognize themselves in his curiosity and unique perspectives that challenge the status quo.
Paola Antonelli 5:30 – 6:45 PM
Broken Nature

With Paola Antonelli, The Museum of Modern Art
HOW Design Live General Session
Who doesn’t love MOMA? Every exhibition, carefully curated by Paola Antonelli, takes you on a wonderful journey. I can’t wait to hear her fascinating perspective on designers’ unique relationship with nature. It will be amazing.

tuesday, may 13

Elizabeth Olson 3:15 – 4:15 PM
Conversation with P&G’s Elizabeth Olson
HOW Leadership Conference
As VP of Design-Brand Expression and Inspiration for P&G, Elizabeth Olson has had a profound influence on the landscape of design in this country—and she hardly ever speaks publicly. I’ve asked her to speak at every conference I’ve ever chaired, and this is the one she’s said yes to. Don’t miss her.
Moira Cullen 4:30 – 5:30 PM
Design Inside…
With Moira Cullen, PepsiCo
HOW Leadership Conference
Moira Cullen has transformed some of the world’s biggest brands. This session will be a true insider’s look at some of the biggest brand revitalizations in recent years. If you want to learn and be inspired by one of the industry’s branding gurus, this session is for you.
Maria Popova, 7:00 – 8:00 PM
7 Things I Learned in 7 Years of Reading, Writing and Living

With Maria Popova,
HOW Design Live General Session
Maria Popova is one of my favorite people and will bring her “interestingness hunter gatherer and curious mind” to the conference on Tuesday. After a long day of learning it will be a nice respite to relax and be amazed as Maria offers her reflections on how to keep your center solid as you continue to evolve as a person. I wouldn’t miss it.

wednesday, may 14

Roman Mars

9:00 – 10:00 AM
99% Invisible

With Roman Mars, 99% Invisible
HOW Leadership Conference
You’ll want to hear Roman Mars’ ideas about harnessing the power of story to create powerful design. He should know—his public radio show, 99% Invisible, explores the stories behind the designs of everything from shelves to flags to parentheses.



Alina Wheeler

10:15 – 11:15 AM
Ready. Set. Reinvent!
With Alina Wheeler, Author

Creative Freelance Business Conference
We all struggle with knowing when it’s time to make a major life change; Alina Wheeler’s session provides a framework for decision making so that you can live up to your full potential.
8:00 PM
Hungry Mother
233 Cardinal Medeiros Ave, Kendall Square, Cambridge
Hungry Mother serves Southern specialties using local and sustainable ingredients from farms in and around New England. Simply delish and a place I always visit when I am in Boston.

Thursday, May 15

The Institute of Contemporary Art
2:00 – 3:00 PM
Multiple Occupancy: Eleanor Antin’s “Selves”
at The Institute of Contemporary Art
100 Northern Avenue on Boston’s Waterfront
Eleanor Antin (B. 1935) is a pioneer of Conceptual art whose work—questioning the nature of self-representation, performance, looking, transformation and the mutability of identity—will bring a new perspective to the branding and storytelling work you’ll be doing in other sessions.
Sagi Haviv 5:45 – 6:45 PM
Basic Principles of Identity Design
With Sagi Haviv, Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv
HOW Design Live General Session
This promises to be an example-rich session from a true master of design, who has been doing amazing work for start-up companies and universities as well as well-known brands like Harvard University Press, Chase Bank, Armani Exchange and others.
6:45 – 8:15 PM
The Dieline Awards
I wouldn’t miss this. My dear friend Andrew Gibbs and his company The Dieline will be revealing the work of 42 winning package design from around the world. I think it will be very inspiring and a great way to start your evening.

Friday, May 16

Aaron Draplin 9:45 – 10:45 AM
The Art of Artifacts: How to Use Graphic Treasures from the American Underbelly in Your Work
With Aaron Draplin, Draplin Design Co.
HOW Design Conference
Like many of my favorite sessions at HOW Design Live, this hour with Aaron Draplin promises a new way of seeing—in his case, design inspiration comes from scouring the dirtiest of estate sales, garage sales, junk stores, antique malls and the occasional eBay lot.
Stefan Sagmeister 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Design and Happiness
With Stefan Sagmeister, Sagmeister & Walsh
HOW Design Live General Session
How can I not see this presentation? This man has made a documentary about how to be happy, and how to design happiness-inducing work for others. You bet I’ll be there to hear what he’s learned.
The Super Duck Tour 2:00 PM
The Super Duck Tour
I highly recommend this 90-minute tour through Boston’s historic streets and straight into the Boston Harbor!

Remember to register by April 1 for that $200 savings!
And if you miss out on my poster, don’t worry—Neenah will be handing out unsigned copies at their booth!

Register Now!

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