News and Trends

A Creative Conference

Business of Design is a biannual conference with the primary objective of forging a better understanding and working relationship between design thinking and business skills. The event will play host to an array of speakers with credentials in some of the most profoundly respected brands, agencies and enterprises in the country. Whether you’re a creative looking to go commercial, a young designer seeking inspiration or just an entrepreneur with a vested interest, this is one event not to be missed! Here are seven reasons why we think you should attend...  

1.  Its founders are four key leaders in the S.A. design world

Trevyn and Julian McGowan are the design power couple behind Southern Guild, GUILD, Design Network Africa and the agency SOURCE. Cathy O'Clery and Laurence Brick are the prolific pair behind 100% Design South Africa and Platform Creative Agency. Between them they have 80 years of extensive experience in the design industry.

   julian editterwyn edit

Julian and Trevyn McGowan


2.  It draws a crowd of attendees from different industries

Says Brick: ‘We’ve not only had designers and architects attend, but people from retail, accounting and marketing. Because the programme is geared towards both business skills and design thinking, it bridges the divide between the two, encouraging new ways of going about one’s work.’  

3.  Local entrepreneurs will share the secrets to their success

These include the likes of Kirsten Goss, whose stunning, handcrafted jewellery is now exhibited and coveted in the style capitals of the world. Her talk on Keys to Success promises to shed light on the personal philosophies and professional principles that have driven her local business to grow internationally. kirsten edit

Kirsten Goss


4.  You will gain practical skills and pragmatic insight

As the National Academic Head of the Vega School of Brand Leadership, Dr. Carla Enslin is sure to deliver a dynamic lesson in The Secrets to Developing a Brand, and a talk on The Move Towards Online Retail by Lee Geldenhuys from Hello Pretty will undoubtedly provide some forward-thinking food for thought. Digital marketing consultant Heleen Mills will also be exploring the vital strategic topic of Making Social Media Work For You.


Dr. Carla Enslin & Lee Geldenhuys


5.  It's an invaluable opportunity to network

On top of everything else, this is what makes this conference truly worthwhile. With both days culminating in a networking drinks evening, there will be plenty of chances for connection, discussion and and even potential collaboration amongst the design community. It also gives creative thinkers a platform for sharing their challenges and triumphs with one another. Says past attendee Cleo Droomer: ‘Networking sessions were great for meeting like-minded individuals, hearing that their struggle isn’t that different from your own, and that we are all actually in the same boat – we just need to stick together and support one another.’  

6.  There's an esteemed international speaker

At the Cape Town conference, Jim Brett, President of American retail chain West Elm, will be giving a talk on The Strategy of Creativity – Identifying Your Product and Developing Your Sales Path. West Elm sells contemporary furniture and homeware products, with nearly 80 stores across the USA, Australia, Canada and England and a hugely successful online shop. jim

Jim Brett


7.  The conference's alumni give it some very high praise

If the words of these past attendees don't convince you then nothing will...

I leant more about business in the two days of Business of Design than I did in three years at Design College.    

 -   Amy Sinovich (Resonate By Amy)

The collective group of speakers gave the best all-round picture of the connection between being a designer and being in business I’ve ever heard.

-   Warren Knight (3D Echo Tech)

I left with a feeling of pure, unadulterated enthusiasm for design, with at least four great new ideas for projects. I experienced a life-changing revelation as I had lost my desire to/for design. This conference has inspired me to push my career in a different path of collaboration between film and my design work.     

-   Ryan Isted (Indigenous Studio)

  The two-day Spring conference is taking place in Cape Town on the 7th and 8th of October at the Inner City Ideas Cartel, and in Joburg at The Park at Hyde Park Corner on the 21st and 22nd. To take a look at the full list of speakers and read the testimonials of past attendees, visit the Business of Design website. You can book your place at the event here.