The Best Art and Design Conferences of 2019/2020

Image: The London Illustration Fair

We've brought together the best conferences and events for designers across digital, UX, branding, graphics, advertising and more from around the UK – and a few major festivals from overseas you might want to consider booking a trip to.

Events featured here will inspire you, conferences which help build your skills and facilitate meeting like-minded people to build a support network around yourself.

These are events that are mighty in size and local to the UK or worth travelling far and beyond to, plus we've also included some regular events you can attend without having to break the bank.

Look out soon for more tips on next year's must-do design and creativity conferences and festivals; we start below with the last essential of 2019, the London Illustration Fair, starting this weekend.

London Illustration Fair

November 29 - December 1 2019
London, UK

The final entry of this year's creative calendar is in Britain, the ever reliable London Illustration Fair.

This year's events include artists like Alec Doherty, Hello Grimes and Bo Yoon, alongside workshops, talks and the fair itself, which winds around five floors of the iconic OXO Tower.

There's even a chance to get an AOI portfolio consultation, heads up.

Find out more.

Awwwards Digital Thinkers Conference

January 23 -24 2020
Tokyo, Japan

Flights to Tokyo are getting cheaper all the time, and with the 2020 Olympiad on the horizon, next year would be a timely one to visit not just the city but the entire creative stronghold of Japan itself.

Awwwards hosts regular events at events around the globe, with this Japanese staging of its Digital Thinkers Conference being the first of 2020.

Design titans Leta Sobierajski & Wade Jeffree head the lineup, along with playful illustrator Yeka Haski and Dribbble CEO Zack Onisko.

Find out more.

Design Indaba

February 26-28
Cape Town, South Africa

Often lauded as the Best Conference in the world, Design Indaba has become a respected institution on the global creative landscape.

The 2020 iteration of the conference will bring to the stage the creative optimism and activism people have come to expect from the flagship platform, such as its ensemble cast of acclaimed speakers, spanning the disciplines of design and innovation.

Find out more.

VFX Festival 2020

March 16-18 
London, UK

The VFX Festival, hosted by Escape Studios, is an annual celebration of visual effects, animation, games and motion graphics.

Two parts of The VFX Festival 2020 - EDU and Emerging Talent will take place on 16 - 18 March 2020 at the Southbank Centre. The VFX Festival After Hours event meanwhile will take place at Escape Studios in central London.

Find out more.

OFFSET Dublin

April 3-5
Dublin, Republic of Ireland

With over 2,500 attendees each year, Offset has attracted such creative icons as Massimo Vignelli, Sir Peter Blake, Paula Scher, David Carson, Milton Glaser, Kyle Cooper, Stefan Sagmeister, Micheal Bierut, Shepard Fairey, Tomi Ungerer, JR, Lance Wyman, George Lois and Louise Fili.

OFFFSET 2020 takes place in the Bord Gáis Energy Theater, with no names yet announced.

Find out more.

OFFF Barcelona

April 23-25
Barcelona, Spain

OFFF takes place in the heart of Barcelona annually while it tours the world as OFFF on Tour for the rest of the year.

The 2020 edition will feature a talk from none other than Canadian eye-popper Beeple (pictured).

Find out more.

Pictoplasma Berlin Festival

May 13-17
Berlin, Germany

Last year at Pictoplasma we ended up in a taxi cab with Julian Glander and Jeron Braxton talking about prosthetics, probed puppets with Felicie Haymoz, and hung out in a morgue with digital ghosts.

We can't tell you what will happen this time around, but announced speakers already include queen of our hearts Genie Espinosa (pictured) and Joseph Melhuish, who recently made a cracking Adult Swim short featuring the voice of PC Music lassie GTOFY.

Find out more.

Regular events

If you don't fancy breaking the bank but still want to network with fellow creatives on a regular basis, then keep an eye on the Glug site to see what they're holding e.g. Doodle Socials in London and VR 'wonders' in Dublin. Find out more here on events held in the UK and worldwide.

Also worth attending is Yo Illo, a monthly pub meetup that's been running since 2011.

There's no charge, no pressure and no agenda – just the opportunity to talk to like-minded creatives about illustration, sharing opportunities and advice (and sometimes to blow off a little steam). Find out more.

Animator meanwhile should attend bi-monthly event See No Evil or the more informal Later Animator as held by Cat Finnie.

Read next: Here are over 80 female creators in art and design who could speak at your next event

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