Designer Fair Presentation Room

Designer Fair v2 Recap

The Stanford dschool graciously hosted our second ever Designer Fair (@designerfair) as part of entrepreneurship week. Studio one was jam packed with demo tables ranging from designers looking for opportunities, emerging startups in search of cofounders, to established companies. In the adjacent room, we held 4 minute lighting talk presentations from students, design consultants, designers in house, designer founders and investors. Below are highlights from the fair, links to opportunities with great people who value design, and links to their Twitter profiles!

Over 300 people attended, despite our best efforts for the event to be invite only, and began checkin in at the atrium downstairs. In the future, we’ll continue to improve our welcoming of guests so that they feel great and know what to expect.

Based on feedback from our first fair, we used name tags that said “I am…” and “I want…” and used stickers to help people be clear about what they’re looking for.

Thankfully we had great volunteers, organized by Kingston Tam and the Stanford Design Initiative who helped host the fair.

As soon as you walked up the stairs, we had drinks and food to encourage people to mix and walk between the demo and presentation rooms. Thanks to our sponsors we made the event free to students and ordered Stanford Catering which was great but needed even more food with a hungry lunch crowd.

We envisioned the demo room to be broken up in sections that flowed together. Drop in tables for designers to show their portfolios in the center. Then along the perimeter, co-founders looking for designers, emerging and established startups. Lesson learned to pre-assign tables and the layout next time!

Big thanks to Kristian Simsarian, the Chair of Interaction Design at CCA (@CACollegeofArts) for bringing literally a bus of students who were looking for opportunities. He also snapped some cool pics of the fair here.

Also big thanks to our friends at the AIGA for helping spread the word. We had students and alumni come from all over including RISD, Art Institute, UCB & iSchool, Art Center, UCD, Academy of Art, SFSU, SJSU, Hyper Island and more.

We had cool emerging startup founders demo like David King who showed off‘s cool mobile voice messaging technology.

Another cool young startup Ness demoed their personal mobile search engine based on your tastes.

Jennifer Lopez, designer co-founder of CultureKitchen (@culturekitchsf), showed their new cooking box that delivers authentic ethnic recipes to your doorstep.

The Convozine team revealed their latest social magazine service that allows anyone to create and manage a zine online.

Aaron Perry Zucker (@aperryz) showcased how designers can contribute to social activism through the Creative Action Network.

Interview Street, makers of Codesprints, were on the lookout for a designer who wants to befriend developers.

For product and industrial designers looking to make impact in the emerging market, Driptech presented a great opportunity to make affordable drip irrigation.

Opower demonstrated a better way for utility companies to communicate with their customers to help people use energy more efficiently and save money.

One of our favorite more established companies demoing was Jawbone, the makers of stylish and surprisingly powerful devices like the Jambox.

The eBay & PayPal design teams were really nice and even helped us setup. Excited about their collaboration opportunity with Hunch too.

We’re also big fans of Google and the potential for Startup University as part of a recent Google Ventures initiative.

The Groupon design team is super supportive of the design community and designers should consider the impact they can make on local businesses worldwide.

If you’re interested in designing the future, sometimes with technology that doesn’t even exist yet, Nokia Advanced design group may be for you.

Much love to the the Yelp Design team featuring a come back from Michael Ernst, who brought a keg to celebrate.

In the adjacent room, we setup a lounge area in the back and held 4 minute lighting talk presentations highlighted below. We didn’t want the event to be too “recruit-y” and encouraged designers to show their work to each other to get inspired. We asked speakers to focus on 1-3 insights geared towards young up and coming designers. We aimed for diverse perspective but will likely have less speakers in the future so we can stay on time and break up the sections with networking in the middle. We also may record them to help spread the lessons.

Students & Entrepreneurial Design Consultants

Jason Chua, a current Stanford product design graduate student, who spoke about Spark Lab (@sparktruck) and the importance of bringing the joy of building back to kids.

Minjeong Kim (@formulapuff), also a current Stanford product design graduate student, showed her work with Yahoo.

Justin Ferrell (@jferrell03), a Knight Fellow at Stanford, talked about his career path to becoming a lead designer at the Washington Post.

Kristian Simsarian, the Chair of Interaction Design at CCA (@CACollegeofArts), followed up by sharing an overview of the undergrad IxD program and showcased student work. He even organized a bus for his students to come and took pics here. We were really excited by students from multiple schools all over the country who attended and look forward to collaborating with CCA again.

Nathan McGinness (@njmcgee), a local freelancer, encouraged designers to find a mentor and learn to code.

Karl Dotter spoke about his Pair Design work with Dopamine (@getdopamine), a behavior design consultancy.

Gopika Prabhu talked about her path to starting Elefint Designs (@elefint) and recent infographics they’ve produced for social good.

Heidi Reinfeld showed her work with startups like Lytro with Sequence (@sequenceSF).

Peter Hong from Hattery (@hattery) shared a hilarious metaphor rich story about having sex with geese.

Rob Abbott, the first user of Instagram and founder of Egg Haus, talked about lessons learned from working with startups big and small.

Lawson Kight, a designer at frog design, showed his project Txt2Wrk (@txt2wrk), a platform enabling job-seekers working with social service organizations to receive and apply to jobs using text messages.

Gaurabh Mathure, a designer at R/GA, showed his venture which helps couples share and organize their wedding experience.

Lesley Silverthorn, a former designer at D2M and alum of, demoed Angaza Design‘s (@angazadesign) latest mobile solar products. Contact [email protected] to help them roll out their next pilot in Africa.

Designers In-House, Designer Founders & Investors

Josh Brewer (@jbrewer), principal designer at Twitter, talked about design mantras from Twitter like “be rigorous and get it right.” He challenged the crowd to make things that your children will one day say with pride, “my Dad (or Mom) helped make that.”

Rob Mason explained his analog design process at Facebook which can seem slow at first but pays off later by making prototyping at a higher resolution faster.

Albert Lai gave some great tips from Pulse for designers and engineers to work better together.

Tricia Choi talked about best practices for building a design team based on her experience at Eventbrite.

Miki Setlur shared his nontraditional route to becoming a designer at Evernote and we sang him a happy birthday wish!

Sophie Xie showed the ridiculous amount of data used to inform her design process at Lookout, a mobile security company.

Hillary Hopper, a designer at the mobile gaming company TinyCo made great points about designing opportunities that best fit you.

Justin Edmund (@jedmund) talked about Pinterest’s growing design culture and how they’re moving towards a three-step process: Research. Iterate. Execute.

“We’re extremely lucky to be in a place where all of our peers understand and value the importance of great design to the product, so we often repeat the design process several times over the course of a project for the best results. We’re dedicated to making sure that everything that we ship is perfect, and often that means exploring lots of well thought out ideas until we find the right one. We’re also looking for best-of-class product and visual designers to tackle some really interesting problems :) .”

Karen Kaushansky of Jawbone, walked through some of what it means to design physical experiences for consumer products like the Jambox. When folks hear “Device Interaction Design”, they usually think of designing for mobile but there’s much more.

Charlie Sutton, the Creative Lead at Nokia‘s Advanced Design, spoke about “Design Fiction” as an important tool, that enables us to envision plausible futures. Likewise, “Corporate Fiction” (even highly resolved ideas products that will never be made) can help clarify, translate and find the essence of the design problem that needs to be solved.

Jordan Fulghum, product designer at Groupon, talked about how success can be a trap and the challenges to designing the world’s commerce operating system.

Laurie Kahn, head of product at Shopwell (@shopwell), talked about their process and upcoming redesign.

Jason Rosoff, lead designer at the Khan Academy, shared examples about using data as a fantastic way to validate design decisions and improve our instincts for what works and what doesn’t.

Melissa Miranda, designer co-founder of TinyReview (@tinyreview) revealed some clever tips to get your technical co-founder to hack with you.

Zach Weiner, designer co-founder of StoryTree (@storytree) gave a heartfelt story about the challenges of starting a company while still being a student.

Tracy Osborn, designer founder of WeddingLovely (@weddinglovely), shared some simple but timeless tips for solo designer founders out there.

Jennifer Lopez, designer co-founder of CultureKitchen (@culturekitchsf), was upfront and personal about the challenges of staying in love with your startup and co-founder.

1. Work on things you love no matter what, even if you aren’t getting paid, even if others think you are crazy, start with a love of something, this thing you have to do to feel right in the world.
2. Work on the relationships with people who are involved in your career growth, don’t fall out of touch with these people, don’t just ping them for favor, check in on people as people.  Be sincere about the care you put into relationships with others.
3. Take moments to reflect on everything you have done, haven’t done and want to do.  Which probably means not always working, and understanding why life is playing out the way it does. These are the moments to digest your learnings, don’t skimp on the break times.

Braden Kowitz, design partner at Google Ventures and author at the Design Staff, highlighted lessons learned from working with many startups in their portfolio.

David Rogier, an early stage investor at Harrison Metal with Michael Dearing, delivered a great story about how a team of retail mathematicians came up with a very counter intuitive idea to totally change how shelf space is allocated in supermarkets across the world.

Dave McClure, founding partner at 500 Startups (@500), gave a crowd-rousing rant about Apple’s iPad case design while also highlighting an investment theme around family tech. 

Finally big thanks to our sponsors:

Without them, all of this would not be possible! Check out their great design opportunities and tell them you heard about them from the Designer Fair.

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social services in the world. Our mission is to connect people through their common interests. Our team ships code quickly and iteratively. We care about details. We think design and community management are as important as great technology. Join a world class product team: @pinterest

Groupon’s small and dedicated product design team is shaping the future of local commerce, building tools that connect merchants with consumers on a scale never before seen. Daily deals were simply the tip of the iceberg.  @thedesignunion

eBay is shaping the future of commerce by connecting people to their interests and creating opportunities that often transform their lives. It’s an extraordinary time to be a part of the UX community at eBay. Visit to meet our UX team and find out how we’re helping to transform the world of commerce.

For more than a decade, Jawbone® has created products and services for the mobile lifestyle unparalleled in their innovation, ease-of-use and sophistication of design. The Company is the creator of award-winning Bluetooth headsets (Jawbone ERA & ICON), and of JAMBOX, the first intelligent wireless speaker and speakerphone. A 2010 IDSA Design of the Decade winner, Jawbone is committed to delivering innovative products that improve the mobile lifestyle through ever-changing software and wearability. @jawbone

Nokia’s Advanced Design team is a forward looking group (in time and scope) that aims to produce realistic simulations of future experiences across a wide range of mobile products and experiences. @Cactuswool

LearnStreet helps people develop programming skills to better qualify for technology jobs.

Greetings all.  We’re MetricStream and we’re looking for a few entrepreneurial summer interns.  MetricStream develops software and technologies that help businesses, governments, and society deal with risk.  We enable our customers to map risk throughout their organization, and turn risk into a strategic competitive advantage.  Right now, we have 600 employees globally and are experiencing exciting hyper-growth as leaders in the Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) market.  We’re looking for a few summer interns with talent in business, technology, and design roles to help impact business and global risks fundamentally.  Ready to thrive on risk?  Please apply to [email protected].  For more info visit

Opower is a new customer engagement platform for the utility industry. It reinvents the way utilities interact with customers—from the quality of the information provided to the way it’s presented and delivered. It helps people use energy more efficiently and ultimately save money on their energy bills. And it vastly improves the overall customer experience by making energy use personally relevant.

Check out opportunities worldwide with Google:

Yelp is a website where locals read and write reviews about their favorite neighborhood businesses. Yelp is currently hiring designers, product managers, and engineers in their San Francisco office; visit to learn more.

KKLD is looking for 2-3 people in their NY office and 3 people in their Berlin office. The UI/UX work is in the arena of shaping from scratch and redesigning digital interfaces (web as well as mobile) with a strong focus on e-commerce in the design, fashion and luxury goods fields. KKLD clients are international brands as well as digital startups from SF, NY and Berlin.

Elefint Designs was formed to give good causes great design.  We are a strategic design firm that believes in understanding an organization and its customers, and finding the sweet spot where their interests intersect.  Our work includes branding, strategy, web design, infographics and print work. @elefint

Sequence is a creative development agency with offices in San Francisco and New York. We envision, design and build brands, products and experiences that are innovative and disruptive. @sequenceSF

Fjord is a leading service design consultancy. We have 8 offices around the world and we opened our thriving San Francisco location in May 2011. We were happy to be part of the 2012 Designer Fair, and will continue to reach out to the local design community. Keep up to date on our latest news and jobs openings at: and follow us on Twitter @fjord.

Speck Design is a full-service product strategy and design firm that helps you solve your complex problems and takes your idea from concept to production. For more than 15 years, we have applied our business acumen, innovative thinking and disciplines process to deliver inventive solutions, reliability, and increased sales for our clients for our clients. Learn more:

Hot Studio is always on the lookout for talented, seasoned professionals to join our team.

We are a team of five hardcore hackers who have previously worked on MediaWiki, GNOME, Firefox, Libreoffice and Hadoop, with prior experience at Google Summer of Code, Yahoo!, Amazon and IBM. Having worked at a variety of super-cool places, we understand what hackers look for in their perfect job and hope to match them with the best jobs out there on We are always online – just shoot an e-mail to [email protected] (or) call us at (408) 596-9298 and we will get back to you!

The world’s largest community for sharing infographics and data visualizations. @visually

The San Francisco chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design, is one of the largest and most active in the country, representing over 1,600 designers in graphics, interaction, experience, motion, and affiliated fields in the Greater Bay Area. Become a member here:

Ness Computing’s mission is to make search personal. By combining its understanding of human nature with its expertise in search, recommendations and social networking, Ness delivers experiences that are more deeply personal than ever before. @likeness

For product and industrial designers looking to make impact in the emerging market, help Driptech create affordable drip irrigation. @driptech

Control iTunes and Spotify with gestures. We hated using the keyboard and mouse for controlling music in the background or watching movies on our computers from a few feet away. So we decided to solve this problem by using hand gestures to control music and videos via the built-in webcam in your computer. broadcast is a fun, useful way to turn your mobile phone into a voice broadcast network. Share your blips with the world.

LARK is improving people’s lives through sleep. We’re a startup with a product in Apple Stores worldwide. We were named top 10 most innovative Consumer Electronics company by FastCompany in 2011. Join us!

Cloud Foundry is an open platform as a service, providing a choice of clouds, developer frameworks and application services. Initiated by VMware, with broad industry support, Cloud Foundry makes it faster and easier to build, test, deploy and scale applications. It is an open source project and is available through a variety of private cloud distributions and public cloud instances, including

Justinmind works to deliver the best application prototyping platform to define web and mobile applications. Our solutions are designed to help teams create rich interactive wireframes and share them to get feedback. @just_in_mind

Conscious Commuter’s first product is a lightweight, compact,
intuitively folding electric bike that empowers users to get from home to the nearest
bus stop or rail station, and, after commuting, to get to their office — grease free and
sweat free. @CCommuter

Also here’s some testimonials from people who attended:

Nice to have lots of people, great food, great energy. Great mingling opportunities. -Mark Rogers


Great food, Nice people, Inspirational presentations.


I’ve never been to a networking event where it was so easy to network, so thank you for that. I only wish I had brought more business cards. Nice group of people, so I believe you curated that really well. -Ellen Keith


It was a good experience for me as a designer with little experience in the job market.


Great diversity and mix of entrepreneurs and real companies. -Timothy


Very nice to see a sampling of the plethora of opportunities in the bay area! The expo was great. -Yvonne so

The name tags stating what people were looking for were really helpful. That way if you didn’t have time to talk to everyone (there were a *lot* of people), you were able to hone in on people who were interesting, but also were a match for what you were looking for. -Missy Titus


Great exhibits and great speakers; I have already met with and discussed a new tech product design with a design company I met for the first time at the Design Fair – an outstanding result of the event.-Eric Voss


Gathering all these talented people under the same roof worked well. I was able to meet other enthusiastic designers as well as startup founders and hackers who would love to work with designers. There was a nice variety of companies there, ranging from bigger guys like Nokia and Google to startups like Massive Health. So, very well done. -Roujapakiman