It’s strange to imagine, but even this time last year the idea of heading out to a creative conference, especially one abroad, seemed like an impossible dream to many of us. But now that lockdown is over and things have largely returned to normal, this is truly the first year since 2019 that we can look forward to a year full of creative events with confidence.
Additionally, this year’s calendar will be more exciting than ever as the organizers have had plenty of time to recover and catch up. But where do you start? To help you, we’ve listed the very best events happening physically in 2023.
There really is something for everyone from Australia to America and across Europe. And while you’re at it, why not combine a creative event with a break? For example, you might want to loosen up the creative networking at OFFF by seeing the sights of Barcelona. Or follow design inspiration at the AIGA Design Conference by exploring the cultural and historical landmarks of the Big Apple.
Also note that we will update this list as new events are announced. For example, we don’t yet know when Adobe Max, Belfast Design Week or Manchester Animation Festival will take place (although we’re sure they will). So keep this page bookmarked and keep checking back!
Back in the Big Easy – New Orleans, USA (February 2-4)
The 2020 Creative Leaders Retreat was one of the last advertising industry events before the world shut down. Now, the return of this event to the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans means a return to the cuisine, creative culture and funky personality of the Crescent City, all in the run-up to Mardi Gras season.
Pune Design Festival – Pune, India (February 3-4)
After a two-year absence, the Pune Design Festival is back on the scene to celebrate all things design. The theme is NXT25: Exploring what’s next for design in the next 25 years for India and the world.
Interaction Week – Zurich, Switzerland (February 25 – March 3)
IxDA is committed to improving the human condition by advancing the discipline of interaction design. This year’s event will be held in a hybrid format, with the virtual segment offering live streaming of the conference from the venue. A variety of other activities including summits, workshops and retreats are also planned throughout the week.
SXSW – Austin, TX, USA (March 10-19)
South by Southwest is the world’s largest creative conference, celebrating major breakthroughs in technology, film, culture and music across a variety of interconnected festivals. Speakers include Nick Jonas, Martin Luther King III, Damon Lindelof, Eva Longoria, Alexis Ohanian, Maya Penn, Austin Russell, RZA, Dan Schulman, Cheryl Strayed and Jen Wong.
OFFF – Barcelona, Spain (March 23-25)
Long-serving creativity conference OFFF returns with inspirational talks from industry insiders, artist workshops, networking sessions and more. Speakers announced so far include Gemma O’Brien, COLLINS, Eva Cremers, B-Reel and FutureDeluxe.
Photo North Festival – Leeds, UK (24-26 March)
The Photo North Festival brings together exhibitions from world-renowned and emerging photo artists, along with talks, walks, workshops, artist meetings, film screenings, book and print signings, and portfolio reviews.
Creative South – Columbus, GA, USA (March 30 – April 1)
Creative South is a weekend of creative thinking, collaboration and exploration. Participants enjoy workshops, conversations focused on process and experience, and meet old friends and make new ones. Their motto is “Come as friends and leave as family”.
Harvest – Austin, Texas, USA (April 20-21)
Crop is a two-day creative experience celebrating art, design, music and all things creative. Crop features keynotes, workshops, vendors, parties and lots of good vibes.
Leeds Digital Festival – Leeds, UK (25-27 April)
The Leeds Digital Festival is the UK’s largest and most open tech event: an open, collaborative celebration of digital culture in all its forms. Whether you are interested in coding, fintech, social media, AI, health tech, data, startups, digital music, cybersecurity or AR/VR, they have something for you.
Front – Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (April 26-28)
Front is a digital design conference about sharing ideas and helping each other learn from each other’s experiences. You will meet and learn from people who have been building digital experiences for years. You will learn how others solve problems, celebrate successes and build cultures of creativity and innovation.
Pictoplasma – Berlin, Germany (May 3-7)
The annual contemporary character design and arts conference and festival returns. This year will feature over 18 key talks from some of the world’s most influential artists and emerging talent, cutting-edge illustrators, game designers and leading animation filmmakers.
First Round – Denver, Colorado, USA (May 5)
A one-day showcase of original presentations created for clients showing initial designer explorations for logo, identity and branding projects. Presenters – from the city where each event is held – share their first round presentation process by showing the original PDF/Keynote/PPT file they presented to a client.
All Flows – Milton Keynes, UK (11-12 May)
All Flows is a new creative, digital and tech conference bringing together speakers from the fields of graphic design, animation and motion graphics, game design, sound art and digital innovation. The cast includes Gavin Strange, Kate Dawkins, Elliot Jay Stocks and Ian Anderson from Designers Republic.
Dulwich Festival – London, UK (May 12-21)
To celebrate 30 years of art, music, theatre, literature and walks for all, the Dulwich Festival is planning a very special Artists’ Open House this May.
DesignThinkers – Vancouver, Canada (May 30-31)
DesignThinkers is Canada’s largest graphic design conference. It brings together visionaries from different disciplines to explore creativity, the design process, the future of design and design thinking.
BAD – Brisbane, Australia (May; dates to be announced)
BAD (Brisbane Art Design) is an initiative of the Museum of Brisbane and champions the movers and shakers in the city’s art and design sector. It illuminates its thriving cultural identity through the places, stories, and climates that bring our collective creativity to the fore.
How Design Live – Nashville, USA (June 5-7)
HOW Design Live is where inspiration, community and creativity come together in a three day event not to be missed. Become part of a creative community that embraces each participant, validates your work, and empowers you to do great things.
Birmingham Design Festival – Birmingham, UK (June 8-9)
The BDF conference is a celebration of design taking place over two days in June in Birmingham. You can expect a day of talks from some of our favorite designers in the world, delivered in one place, in addition to a day of fun workshops if you fancy getting more hands-on.
Pixel Pioneers – Bristol, UK (June 16)
Pixel Pioneers is an affordable community conference for front-end developers and UX/UI designers focused on actionable insights. This year’s speakers, organized by content consultant Oliver Lindberg, include Ire Aderinokun, Jeremy Keith and Cassie Evans.
Freiburg, Germany (September 4-6)
Circles – Texas, USA (September 6-8)
Show your inner creativity at Circles Conference 2023. This conference features inspirational stories and workshops from the industry’s leading creative minds. You’ll go home with new ideas, practical advice, and a tight-knit community to support you along the way.
London Design Festival – London, UK (September 16-24)
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2022, the London Design Festival is an annual event promoting the city’s creativity, attracting the country’s greatest thinkers, practitioners, retailers and educators to provide an unmissable celebration of design.
Brand New – Austin, Texas, USA (Oct 3-4)
From online magazine Brand New comes a two-day event dedicated to developing corporate and brand identity projects, featuring some of today’s most active and influential practitioners from around the world.
AIGA Design Conference – New York, USA (12-14 Oct)
The American Institute of Graphic Arts hosts its annual event in the Big Apple. Prepare to be inspired and re-energized as you learn from the community of designers who are on the cutting edge of hot topics.