Design Matters Lands in Mexico!

Are you looking to gain new design knowledge, expand your network, and perhaps land your next job in Latin America?

Giorgia Lombardo

24/10/2022 6 min read MATTERS

Design Matters Mexico City 23 is a 2-day design conference that will take place in Mexico City on January 25-26, 2023.

Covering such a broad area, Latin America is a melting pot of different cultures, languages, and ways of life. Its culture has been influenced by European and African traditions, as well as the diverse traditions of the indigenous people of the region. One of the first thoughts anyone has when speaking about Latin America is that the majority speaks Spanish or Portuguese, however, about 370 languages are spoken across the whole continent. 

Chichén Itzá, Mexico. Photo credit: Jezael Melgoza

Latin America is also the most urbanized continent in the world, with almost 80% of its citizens living in cities – making its cities vivacious hubs rich in culture and business opportunities. On top of this, the region is no longer as dependent on the United States as it once was, making it more dynamic and significant in the global community than ever. 

The Latin American community has so much to offer. And we believe there is so much we can learn from the Digital Design scene in Latin America. Because of this, we decided to organize a design conference pop-up in Mexico City; let’s dive into the reasons that led us to choose Mexico.

Xochimilco, Mexico. Photo credit: Roberto Carlos Román Don

Why Mexico?  

To answer this question we need to go back in time a little. Design Matters is a company based in Copenhagen, Denmark, that has been organizing design conferences with a focus on digital design since 2015. Over the years, Design Matters has gained its fame for the relaxed, friendly, and festival-like atmosphere of its conferences and events – a rarity in the conference industry. In addition to that, Design Matters has become one of the most loved design conferences in the world since it brings together designers and digital creatives from all over the world and from a wide range of backgrounds – giving people a precious opportunity to expand their network globally and even set the base for landing a new job.

“I got my job at Dixa because I attended Design Matters 21 and made new connections there” – Lisa

“I connected with a designer from Figma at Design Matters Tokyo 20 and now I work at Figma” – Andrew

Still from Design Matters 22, Copenhagen.

On one hand, making these conferences that global represents a precious opportunity for designers to meet professionals they probably would never have the chance to meet in normal circumstances. On the other hand, having hundreds of people flying from all corners of the world is not the most planet-conscious choice.

This prompted Design Matters to look at the world from a different perspective; could Design Matters do more events in other geographical areas to accommodate the growing community more and be a bit more eco-friendly? As they say, if the Mountain won’t go to Mohammed, then Mohammed must come to the Mountain!

Still from Design Matters Tokyo 22, Tokyo.

Leaping out of the tank

In 2020 Design Matters decided to expand in Asia, specifically in Tokyo, Japan. The pandemic didn’t make things easier, but the event was a success; not only could Japanese designers have easier access to the Design Matters events (meeting both local and international designers) without traveling all across the globe, but we as a team could learn so much from the Japanese design scene and widen our horizons. Which is exactly what we aim to recreate in Mexico. 

Today Design Matters Tokyo is now a stable part of our offer. Learn more here

The next step: Mexico City

With Tokyo came the realization that the world is so varied and has so much to offer. We decided to look into other geographical areas where our community is, where our network could expand, and where we could get new inspiration. And the answer was: Latin America!

Design Matters Mexico City 23

Design Matters Mexico City 23 is a 2-day design conference about design, filled with 20+ talks and hands-on workshops. A mix of global and Latin American experts and creatives will discuss design and dive into design practices from a variety of perspectives and disciplines. The event will shed light on the most important issues concerning UX/UI, innovation, tech, and sustainability.

Workshop at Design Matters 21, Copenhagen.

The conference will also be live-streamed, and the talks will be recorded and uploaded on our video platform Design Matters +. The workshops, due to their interactive nature, will not be recorded.

Names like Hayley Hughes, Design Director at Nike, Pablo Stanley, co-founder & CEO of Blush, and Hazel Jennings, Principal Designer Design Systems at Duolingo, are already in the line-up! Take a look at the program of the event here

Pablo Stanley, one of the speakers at Design Matters Mexico City 23.

The event will take place at CENTRO  (Diseño | Cine | Televisión), a Mexican higher education institution dedicated to the professionalization of creativity. CENTRO understands creativity as a catalyst for change, innovation, and value creation. 

Centro (Diseño | Cine | Televisión), venue of Design Matters Mexico City 23

Why Mexico City?

We started digging deeper to find what the best city to organize an event would be. Mexico City is geographically located right in the middle of the Americas. On top of that, we noticed that a lot of tech and design companies have offices in Mexico City. This means that it’s a growing, if not even flourishing, hub in the design industry.

For us as a company, our goal is to discover new trends, find new inspiration, ideas (and even people) that we can bring back to Copenhagen and incorporate into our next events. Establishing stronger and new connections within the global design industry allows us to stay relevant, competitive, and ahead of the curve – a huge benefit for our community. 

Expanding in Tokyo was proof that joining forces with designers in other countries gives our community more opportunities to connect with other designers globally, as well as locally, and to explore new mindsets and methods. Design Matters takes pride in being the medium that makes designers meet and fosters their career growth.

Cultural enrichment and exchange

Latin America is so full of history, culture, and different peoples. Therefore, there is no doubt that the Latin American community has a lot to offer to the Digital Design agenda. And Design Matters surely doesn’t want to miss out on this opportunity!

We will go to Mexico City to learn, humbly, from the Latinx designers who can open our eyes and show us different ways to go about design. But we’ll also go there ready to share our knowledge and find out what we have in common and also what sets us apart. 

With our event in Mexico, we want to put our event planning experience to use to bring Latin American talents into the international spotlight. When we hear the word “design”, many immediately think of Silicon Valley and perhaps Scandinavia, but there is so much more talent in other locations that deserve to be uncovered and shown to the rest of the world. By giving Latinx designers an international stage, they can become part of a much larger design community and make their voices heard.

LAD is an organization created to serve as a platform with the aim of promoting Latin American Design worldwide. From Behance

Inclusivity and indigenization of design

One of the core values of Design Matters is to nurture the conversation around decoloniality & indigenization, decentralization of design, and inclusivity. These topics were some of the themes the most recent conference, Design Matters 22, revolved around. But they are also incorporated into the themes of Design Matters Mexico City 23, which have been developed together with our Mexican collaborators keeping in mind the specific needs of the Latin American designers;

  • Responsible design in practice
    As technology and society progress, designers are continuously met with ethical and practical reasons to evolve and continue to grow toward efficiency as well as more responsible work practices. Along with building bridges for functional cross-cultural design and improving intercultural competence, designers are also increasingly asked to make their products more accessible and inclusive. Establishing new ethical and inclusive standards will enable designers across the world to incorporate new knowledge into their products and make them better. At Design Matters Mexico 23, we’ll dive into this topic and do a no-bullshit review of the most responsible practices you can add to your skill set as a designer. We will also bring on experts who can demonstrate how to create a quality design that has a truly meaningful impact.
  • A superhero? No, a designer
    How many times have you heard statements like “designers have the power to influence people’s behavior” or “designers are the ones who help us navigate the world”? It’s so much power and responsibility at the same time – almost as if designers were superheroes! In a way it’s true; the impact and value designers can create is phenomenal. But designers sometimes don’t realize the potential they hold. They enable advancement across most industries, shaping behaviors and opinions, generating expansion, profits, and even helping educate future generations. Most often, the ground-breaking design that paves the way for others has one thing in common: creativity that broke the mold. At the conference, we will bring on different perspectives on the designer’s role, including empirical and conceptual examples where creativity has led to innovation. 
  • Revolution from digital design
    How do we imagine our future when thinking of the world’s most pressing challenges, such as wars, refugee crises, broken economies, and the climate crisis? Let’s not forget to add the presence of artificial intelligence to the mix. Are we intimated yet? Probably. But the post-pandemic world is giving us a chance to show off some of our best-hidden talents when it comes to tackling problems creatively. From debunking fake news and uplifting mental health to decolonizing the digital experience and supporting those on the frontlines of sustainability, designers have an incredible opportunity to help build a brighter future for people and the planet. This is what we will discuss at the conference through this theme.
Locations where Design Matters is present: Copenhagen, Tokyo, and Mexico City

Our planet 

As mentioned before, Design Matters takes its impact on the planet seriously. By organizing events, it is inevitable that people travel. However, we strive to make that happen in the most sustainable way we are capable of. 

By creating a new conference hub in Mexico City, we aim to reduce the emissions that people would cause by flying from the Americas to our conferences in Copenhagen or Tokyo. Not only that, but we also want to create an event focused on Latin America, providing a space for local designers to connect, discuss their experiences, share their stories…and even frustrations. 

Striving to be an inclusive community 

Part of the research we have conducted with our Mexican collaborators also involved the ticketing strategy. We are aware that the design industry in Latin America looks different than in Copenhagen and Tokyo. The financial crisis the globe is facing, with soaring prices and increasing inflation, is another element that prompted us to be a bit more accommodating. Below you can find the 4 ticket types available:

  • Professional (in-person): 6.000 MXN / 300 USD
  • NGO/Student (in-person): 3.600 MXN / 180 USD
  • Livestream Professional (online): 2.000 MXN /100 USD
  • Livestream Community (online): 1.500 MXN / 75 USD

Read more about what each ticket type entails and get your ticket here

Want to learn more about Design Matters? Visit our website!

Discover all the design events and conferences by Design Matters! Seize the opportunity to learn from an amazing cast of international designers in a series of events - in January in Mexico City & Online, in June in Tokyo & Online, and in September in Copenhagen & Online.

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