This full-day conference is produced by Visual Media Alliance (VMA), a non-profit trade association dedicated to making the lives and businesses of the design and production community work better together. VMA publishes Storyboard Magazine, a quarterly print magazine and website, which features engaging stories and case studies of design across all media.

WED., JUNE 14, 2017 • 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM • BESPOKE • SAN FRANCISCO
Visual Media Alliance


Our highly esteemed panel of speakers will divulge innovative ideas and insightful information.


VMA Design Conference 2017 is an official full-day event of SF Design Week (June 14-22).


Meet and mingle with vendors and industry pros to discover to make your next project come to life.


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9:00AM – 10:00AM
Registration + Exhibits
11:10AM – 11:20AM
12:25 – 1:20PM
Lunch + Exhibits
2:40PM – 3:00PM
4:30PM – 5:30PM
Closing Remarks + Exhibits

Tall Tails from a Large Man

Speaker: Aaron Draplin, The Draplin Design Co.
Storyteller extraordinaire, Aaron will kick off our conference with some ideas you might think verboten. Keep an open mind and be ready to visit unexpected places with him. Aaron delivers a sucker punch of a talk that aims to provide bonafide proof of work, the highs and lows of a ferociously independent existence and a couple tall tales from his so-called career in the cutthroat world of contemporary graphic design. Just a regular guy with a trajectory a little dirtier than yours, his talk is open to all on comers brave enough to show up. If you are a youngster, you may find yourself inspired to attack your design future in a different way. If you are established, you may just leave feeling grateful you don’t have anything to do with him. Hard to say.

Creating Meaning From the Inside Out

Speaker: Dava Guthmiller, Noise 13 Design
Consumers want to know more about a brand these days: why do I need this and why should I care. With Amber & Ash, Noise 13 was able to create meaning for a new brand from the inside out. Targeting an audience of women who appreciate style and design, the team decided to offer a well-curated selection of beautifully-designed, protective tech accessories that showcase seasonal colors inspired by the runway. Dava will discuss how to use branding to guide the creation of a new project line.

Design for Impact

Speaker: Brian Dougherty, Celery Design
Brian will share experiences from the vanguard of environmental and social impact design, including The Charlie Cart Project (hands-on nutrition education), Dovetail (tools for multi-sectoral social impact work), and many more sustainable brands.

Will Paper and Pixels Ever Get Along?

Speaker: David Hogue, Google
Information lives in many forms and in many places, not all of which are easy to use. We spend too much time searching for it, storing it, copying it, and trying to remember it, but the effort to effectively use information is often so great that we give up and just forget it. As designers, printers, writers, broadcasters, and advertisers what can we do to make information easier to find, keep, move, share, and use across all of our devices and in different forms?

All You Need is Love (and Cohesiveness)

Speaker: Corey Lewis, Black Flag Creative
Exactly what is a brand? And what happens to it when it meets up with a new medium. Do they fall in love and become inseparable? Or do they clash and argue? Corey will discuss his own methods for making brands a consistent and loving face of a company while dealing with the challenges today’s plethora of media options present.

5 Stories About Storytelling

Speaker: Neil Stevenson, IDEO
Storytelling has been a hot topic recently within the space of design and innovation. But it is also widely misunderstood. IDEO’s Neil Stevenson will share stories from his careers in journalism and design, and suggest new ways for individuals and organizations to apply storytelling in service of creativity.

Facebook in the Mix

Speaker: Mark Schwartz, Social Media Trackers
Mark describes his talk as “grabbing somebody by the shoulders and shaking the 2010 out of them.” Release your preconceived ideas of social media like an Etch-A-Sketch so you can restart with a blank slate. Sharing his theories on the ingredients for building successful social media programs along with first hand stories of how some social media strategies works so well, that they crash and burn he will explain how the unassuming social data that we’ve been collecting (and probably don’t even know it) can dramatically increase our business’s influence, brand awareness, business leads, traffic, app downloads, sales conversions and so much more.

e-Commerce and Luxury Packaging: Demise or Resurgence?

Speaker: Neal Haussel, Iggesund Paper
Will the undeniable trend toward e-commerce signal the demise of luxury packaging, or could it actually create a resurgent demand for packaging design that dazzles? E-commerce is creating exciting new ways for brands to establish deeper connections with consumers, thereby enhancing loyalty. What does e-commerce mean for packaging design?

I Am Not a Designer

Speaker: Barbara Stephenson, 300FeetOut
Barbara will discuss the creative agency’s challenges and lessons learned from the perspective of a non-designer. From understanding “the designer” persona, to knowing how to look for and find creativity everywhere, and, to swallowing your pride for the greater good. Because all that really matters is that the studio be a place where you want to spend your time and be inspired. Not just the place where you go to earn a paycheck.

The Octopus

Speaker: Michael Osborne, Michael Osborne Design
Today, there is a plethora of ways to reach out, communicate a message or disperse information. Michael will be discussing various methods for supporting and disseminating the same body of information across audiences no matter what your business. He’ll be considering how the various media can work in harmony, as well as some potential pitfalls lurking out there.

How to Use AR to Bring Rich Media to Print

Speaker: Erica Aiken, Rods and Cones and Cindy Wallas, Walas Younger, LTD.
Ever since Pokéman GO debuted, there’s more and more talk about AR and how it will be used. Cindy Walas and Erica Aitken took this as a challenge to integrate AR with print. Now that they have, they will share with you their experience as they update you on the state of AR today, the difference between various technologies, and the future they might hold.

Attendees are invited to download the Stampatech AR reader here and the latest issue of Out of Chaos here (phone or iPad) During the presentation, each will receive a printed copy of Out of Chaos, enhanced with AR, that duplicates the rich content of the digital version.

What is Your Brand Promise? The Rebranding of Union City, CA

Speaker: Santiago Sinisterra, Zooka Creative
What is a brand? What is the promise that this brand implicitly gives to their customers? How do you help a client create one and roll it out? In this session, we’ll explore the rebranding of Union City California.  We’ll explore all aspects of the project from sales through delivery. We’ll discuss challenges, strategies, and final results.  While this project deals with a branding a city, the approach and insights are applicable to many different types of clients.

Speaker Panel: Q&A

All Speakers!
Still have some burning questions about your life in design? We will close out the day by bringing back many of the speakers as we consider the day’s wisdoms and tie up the loose ends. Have your questions ready for this open forum!

Immoderate Moderation

Speaker: Peleg Top, Peleg Top
Peleg Top will share the wisdom he gained and the challenges he faced from taking a two year sabbatical to travel the world and live “off the grid”. He’ll share insight about the power of having less things, less distractions (no email or social media), less money and less commitments. Living out of one suitcase and learning to be more simple brought him more time, more creativity, more inner power, more deep connections and much, much more love.

His story will help you reflect on your own creative efforts, your relationships and your work and leave you inspired to do less and be more.





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VMA Design Conference 2017 will be held at Bespoke, in the heart of Downtown San Francisco, during SF Design Week.

Bespoke is a trifecta of coworking, demo, and event spaces strategically located at Westfield San Francisco in the epicenter of downtown, where tech and retail marketplaces converge.

Westfield San Francisco Centre
845 Market Street, San Francisco
Level 4 / Under The Dome

5th and Mission Street Garage ($34/day)
Public Transport
Powell Station for BART or MUNI, various MUNI buses and cable car. SFMTA


Don’t miss out. Join us at the VMA Design Conference: Storyboard to hear inspiring stories across all design.
Registration for the conference will open April 1, but sign up to receive updates and special offers.

  • $249
  • Full-Day Ticket
    Get your creative juices flowing from hearing from these inspirational talks

    Establish new partnerships with suppliers and pick up some new samples and ideas for your next project
    Interact and connect with like-mind individuals and win prizes to build your creative toolkit

    Enjoy a delicious box lunch

Purchase your tickets today!

Register today for the conference to hear inspiring stories across all design.

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Visual Media Alliance

Visual Media Alliance is a non-profit trade association dedicated to providing a variety of benefits and money saving programs to creative, web, marketing and print businesses in Northern and Central California and Northern Nevada. Our purpose is to deliver what it takes to help our members become more successful and profitable in their businesses. To accomplish that goal, we provide personal and professional development programs for both owners and employees. Programs include Networking Events, Education & Training, Group Discounts, Business & Health Insurance, Advisors and Consultants in HR, Sales, Strategy, and Business Solutions. Visit vma.bz for more information.

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