Setting up your own business
Tired of being told what to do? Confident you can do it better? Have an idea for a new business? If so you’re probably thinking of starting your own design business. But you keep being troubled by big questions like how will you know if you can go the distance? Or what are the pitfalls? What does success look like?
Join our panel of creatives who made the leap to set up their own business as we ask them:
- Why did you do it?
- What’s it like not having a safety net?
- Who was your first client and how did you get them?
- What would you do differently?
- What were the unexpected consequences?
- Would you recommend starting your own business?
6:30pm: Doors open for mingling and drinks
7:00-8:30pm: Panel discussion
9:00pm: Event ends
Maria Giudice, VP, XD at Autodesk
Innovator, artist, protagonist, and positive provocateur—Maria Giudice has pursued a vision of intelligent, elegant, people-centered design throughout her professional life. Her grasp of the pragmatic, the authentic, and the essential have kept Maria at the forefront of the intersection of design and business for over 20 years.
Under Maria's leadership, Hot Studio, the experience design firm she founded in 1997, has grown into a full-service creative agency with offices in San Francisco and New York City. Along the way, Maria has shaped Hot into a people-centered product in its own right—a company that people want to work at, and clients love to work with. Hot Studio has been named to Inc. Magazine’s Top 5,000 fastest-growing businesses every year since 2008, and in 2011 was inducted into the San Francisco Business Times’ Hall of Fame.
Maria’s career began in Richard Saul Wurman’s East Coast office, where she was an early practitioner in the then-nascent fields of information architecture and design. Her experience led to work as co-author and designer of several award-winning books including Elements of Web Design, a guide for print designers crossing over to the Web, and Web Design Essentials.
Known for her candor and wit, she has spoken about design and the power of collaboration at conferences throughout the U.S. and abroad, including TEDxPresidio, SXSW, and AIGA’s Design Conference. She teaches regularly at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and in California College of the Arts’ DMBA and MFA programs.
Maria holds a BFA from Cooper Union. She was recognized as Woman Entrepreneur of the Year by the Women’s Initiative, a Bay Area non-profit that helps provide economic opportunity and education to low income, high promise women. In 2012, Maria was named an AIGA Fellow in recognition of her impact in raising the standards of excellence and conduct within the design community.
Amy Stellhorn, Founder Big Monacle
Amy is the founder and CEO of Big Monocle, an award-winning creative agency with offices in San Francisco, San Jose, Redwood City and Provo. She works with fortune 500 brands and specializes in strategic, high-level brand and campaign thinking. This year Big Monocle was named Small Agency of the Year by the DMA.
Kevin Farnham, Founder, Method and Stealth
Kevin is an Experience Designer and Design Executive. He works with entrepreneurs and business leaders to invent new business models, innovate new products and services, create/evolve brands and structure/recruit/manage design teams. Over the course of the past few decades, Kevin has worked directly with leaders from companies such as Apple, BBC, Microsoft, MoMA, Nike, Google and TED Conferences.
In 1998, he founded Method, which we grew to a $30m+, 100+ person design firm with offices in London, New York and San Francisco. During his tenure, Kevin co-founded one of the first design-focused product accelerators in association with Central St. Martins (UAL).
In 2013, he also co-authored a book with Patrick Newbery entitled "Experience Design: A Framework for Integrating Brand, Experience, and Value" which was published by Wiley. This book focuses on how businesses can most effectively harness design to create greater customer engagement.
Rob Duncan, Owner, Creative Director at Mucho
Rob has previously been an AIGA board member responsible for organizing several highly successful AIGA SF Student Portfolio Days. Known as the best portfolio review on the West Coast, these are an opportunity for students to get valuable one-on-one feedback on their portfolio and career goals. Reviewers come from some of the Bay Area’s best companies such as Apple, Facebook, Lucasfilm, IDEO, Metadesign and Turner Duckworth.
Rob’s distinguished career has seen him work with leading design companies on both sides of the Atlantic. He began his career at Mytton Williams in Bath. In 2000, he joined Pentagram’s London office, where he worked with clients such as Egon Zehnder International, One&Only Resorts and The Waterways Trust. Taking full advantage of the firm’s international profile, he joined Pentagram’s San Francisco office in 2003.
In 2007, he became an Art Director on Apple’s Retail and Events team, working on large graphics for events and promotional campaigns. In 2008, he established his own studio, Rob Duncan Design, based in San Francisco, and in 2010, Rob joined John Dowling to form Dowling Duncan.
In 2013, Dowling Duncan merged with Mucho. Rob is the owner and creative director of Mucho San Francisco and New York. He has built an impressive portfolio of clients, including Coblentz Law, Dell, Gap, Google, Kodak, HP, HTC, Mars, Sesame Street, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and Teague. Rob’s work has been widely published in books and the design press. He has also received awards from D&AD, the Scottish Design Awards, the Art Directors Club of New York, AIGA, Graphis, Communication Arts and the New York Festivals Award.
Rick Byrne, Creative Lead at Unity
Over the years I've worked in San Francisco, London and Dublin for companies like the BBC, CBS Interactive and Unity 3D. At this stage in my career I've gained enough experience to know when a concept has been pushed far enough or more importantly, not far enough.
In starting new projects I love the mental exercise of trying to find new ways of looking at things. By looking into any problem deeply enough I feel it will eventually start to create it’s own unique solution. I believe this is the inspirational source for creating something innovative in a world flooded with images.
I also love creating logos as they boil down the enormity of a product, service or institution into it's most minimal form. I think I'm quite good at them but judge for yourself: https://www.behance.net/rickbyrne
Refund Policy: We do not offer refunds. If the event is sold out we might be able to give your spot to someone on the waitlist.