The Best Art and Design Conferences of 2019

Image: Branding for D&AD Festival 2019

We've brought together the best conferences and events for designers across digital, UX, branding, graphics, advertising and more from around the UK this 2019 – and a few major ones 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. We’ll be updating throughout the year as more events are announced, so keep checking back.

These are events that are mighty in size and local to the UK or worth travelling far and beyond to, beginning with LightBox Expo and ending with US highlight Adobe MAX. We've also included some regular events you can attend without having to break the bank.

LightBox Expo

September 6-8
Pasadena, USA

LightBox Expo (LBX) was conceived as a way to bring together the best artists in animation, illustration, live action and gaming industries under one roof.

Over the course of the weekend guests are offered portfolio reviews, instructed life drawing, panels, and live demos. There are also talks of course, with this year's guests including Jorge R. Gutiérrez, comic book artist Humberto Ramos and co-executive producer for Cartoon Network Studios Alonso Ramírez Ramos. While it's definitely one more for the animators, with exhibitors like Procreate on show it's still an event suited to digital artists everywhere.

Find out more.

London Design Festival

September 14-22
Across London

The highly-regarded annual festival brings together a host of international designers and innovators to showcase newly commissioned works in contemporary design, art and research. It covers all forms of design from architecture and textiles to graphic and digital design.

Find out more.

Design Matters

September 18-19

This two-day conference is perfect for UI and UX designers, and the conference itself admits it has competent, visionary and nerdy talks, workshops and discussions with an all-new 'nerd tracks', which explores a range of design topics more in depth.

2019 will see talks from one of our fave illustrators Alva Skog plus Roberta Sandri & Sven Robin Kahl, respective visual design lead & design manager at none other than Lego.

Find out more.

Trojan Horse Was A Unicorn

September 23-28

Focussing on digital artists from concept art to animation and VFX, THU was our favourite conference of 2018. Describing itself as a 'digital rave', it feels more like a gathering of family and friends than your average industry forum.

That's not to say there's no creative and professional development going on, with this year hosting talks from the mighty Yuko Shimizu, Disney artist Mingjue Helen Chen, illustrator Gregory Manchess and Peter Ramsey, the co-director of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Tickets are on sale now, and enjoy our interview with Mingjue on her making of this year's THU poster.

Us By Night

September 26-28
Antwerp, Belgium

Not one for the morning larks is Belgium's biggest and best design and art conferences, Us By Night.

Taking place over three nights in the old timey city of Antwerp, this year you can catch the likes of artist Shawna X, production company Buck, Childish Gambino typographer of choice Tyrsa, C4D maker Chris Schmidt and fabulous illustrator Karan Singh.

Find out more.

Brighton Illustration Fair

October 5-6

Brighton Illustration Fair (BIF) enters its fifth year with a cracking lineup featuring Alex Norris of Webcomic Name fame, provocateur Mr Bingo and clay lover Charlotte Mei as some of its headline names, with over 100 exhibitors taking part..

Tickets aren't currently on sale, so keep an eye on the BIF Instagram for updates. Day tickets will cost just £5.


October 16

Interact London is a leading design conference that explores the roles that digital design, user experience, artificial intelligence, strategy, and everything in between play in today’s society.

The speakers and talks on offer represent a mix of 'philosophy and practice’ from some of the most accomplished thinkers and practitioners in their fields, and this year's theme is 'The Human & The Machine.' 

Find out more and watch previous Interact talks online here.


October 21-25

VIEW Conference is the premiere international event in Italy on Computer Graphics, Interactive Techniques, Digital Cinema, 2D/3D Animation, VR and AR, Gaming and VFX.

This year's got some massive names: Brad Bird of The Incredibles and Mission Impossible, director of How to Train Your Dragon Dean DeBlois, Ralph Eggleston, production designer at Pixar, and Aardman's animation director Simone Giampaolo.

Find out more.

Adobe Max

November 2-6
Los Angeles, CA

This is the best conference to attend if you’re a creative using Adobe software and a mega fan of their products. Each year new Creative Cloud apps and updates are announced at Adobe Max, there’s an epic party that Adobe puts on at the end of the conference, and you get to explore Los Angeles – who’s complaining?

Last year we covered the ever-exciting Adobe Sneaks - new exciting and experimental tools Adobe is working on that may or may not officially launch - played around with Adobe AR app Project Aero with help from artists Supermundane and Dan Mumford and got a good look at the forthcoming Adobe Fresco.

This year we're hoping catch talks from film graphic design legend Annie Atkins, design titan Paula Scher, illustrator Rob Generette III aka Rob Zilla III, design punk Aaron Draplin, illustrator Lisa Congdon, Digital Arts author Kervin Brisseauxand master letterer Lauren Hom.

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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