Where are the best creative things happening over the next 12 months from Manchester to Sydney, Belfast to India? If you want to get inspired, discover new ideas and network with others, we've rounded up the best conferences and events throughout 2023.
It's weird to think, but even this time last year, the idea of heading off for a creative conference, especially one abroad, seemed like an impossible dream for many of us. But now that lockdowns are over and things have largely gone back to normal, this is truly the first year since 2019 that we can confidently look forward to a packed year of creative events.
Not only that, but because event organisers have had plenty of time to recover and catch up, this year's calendar will be more exciting than ever. But where do you start? To help you out, we've listed the very best events that are taking place physically in 2023.
There is truly something for everyone from Australia to America and across Europe. And while you're at it, why not combine a creative event with a break, too? For instance, you might want to mix up the creative networking at OFFF by seeing the sights of Barcelona. Or maybe follow design inspiration at the AIGA Design Conference by exploring the cultural and historical landmarks of the Big Apple.
Also, note that we'll update this list when new events are announced. We still don't know, for example, when Adobe Max, Belfast Design Week, or the Manchester Animation Festival will be taking place (although we're sure they will). So keep this page bookmarked, and keep checking back!
Back in the Big Easy – New Orleans, USA (2-4 Feb)
2020's Creative Leaders Retreat was one of the last ad industry events before the world shut down. Now the return of this event to New Orleans' Hotel Monteleone means a return to the cuisine, creative culture and funky character of the Crescent City, all in the lead-up to Mardi Gras season.
Pune Design Festival – Pune, India (3-4 Feb)
After two years of absence, Pune Design Festival is once again on the ground to celebrate all things design. The theme is NXT25: exploring what's next for design over the next 25 years for India and the world.
Interaction Week – Zurich, Switzerland (25 Feb-3 Mar)
IxDA is committed to improving the human condition by advancing the discipline of Interaction Design. This year's event takes place in a hybrid format, with the virtual segment offering live streaming of the conference from the event venue. A host of other activities, including summits, workshops and retreats, have also been scheduled throughout the week.
SXSW – Austin, Texas, USA (10-19 Mar)
South by Southwest is the world's biggest creative conference, celebrating the most important technological breakthroughs, film, culture, and music in various interconnected festivals. Speakers include Nick Jonas, Martin Luther King III, Damon Lindelof, Eva Longoria, Alexis Ohanian, Maya Penn, Austin Russell, RZA, Dan Schulman, Cheryl Strayed and Jen Wong.
OFFF – Barcelona, Spain (March 23-25)
Veteran creativity conference OFFF returns with inspiring lectures by industry insiders, artist workshops, networking sessions and more. Speakers announced so far include Gemma O'Brien, COLLINS, Eva Cremers, B-Reel and FutureDeluxe.
Photo North Festival – Leeds, UK (24-26 Mar)
Photo North Festival brings together exhibitions from world-renowned and emerging photography artists, along with talks, walks, workshops, meet the artist, film screenings, book and print signings, and portfolio reviews.
Creative South – Columbus, GA, USA (30 Mar-1 Apr)
Creative South is a weekend of creative thinking, collaboration, and exploration. Attendees enjoy workshops, talks focused on process and experience, and meeting old friends as well as making new ones. Their slogan is: "Come as friends and leave as family".
Crop – Austin, Texas, USA (20-21 Apr)
Crop is a two-day creative experience celebrating art, design, music, and everything creative. Crop has keynote talks, workshops, vendors, parties, and plenty of good vibes.
Leeds Digital Festival – Leeds, UK (25-27 Apr)
The Leeds Digital Festival is the largest and most open tech event in the UK: an open, collaborative celebration of digital culture in all its forms. Whether you're interested in coding, fintech, social media, AI, health tech, data, start-ups, digital music, cyber security or AR/VR, they've got something for you.
Front – Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (26-28 Apr)
Front is a digital design conference built around sharing ideas and helping one another learn from other people's experiences. You'll get to meet and learn from people that have been building digital experiences for years. You'll learn how others solve problems, celebrate successes, and build cultures of creativity and innovation.
Pictoplasma – Berlin, Germany (3-7 May)
The annual conference and festival of contemporary character design and art returns. This year will see 18+ key lectures by some of the world's most influential artists and upcoming talents, cutting-edge illustrators, game designers and leading animation filmmakers.
First Round – Denver, Colorado, USA (5 May)
A one-day showcase of original presentations created for clients showing initial design explorations for logo, identity, and branding projects. Speakers – local to the city where each event is held – share their first-round presentation process by showing the original PDF/Keynote/PPT file they presented to a client.
All Flows – Milton Keynes, UK (11-12 May)
All Flows is a new creative, digital and tech conference bringing together speakers from graphic design, animation and motion graphics, game design, sound art and digital innovation. The lineup includes Gavin Strange, Kate Dawkins, Elliot Jay Stocks and Ian Anderson of Designers Republic.
Dulwich Festival – London, UK (12-21 May)
Celebrating 30 years of art, music, theatre, literature, and walks for all, the Dulwich Festival is planning a very special Artists' Open House this May.
DesignThinkers – Vancouver, Canada (30-31 May)
DesignThinkers is Canada's largest graphic design conference. It brings together visionaries from various disciplines to explore creativity, the design process, the future of design and design thinking.
BAD – Brisbane, Australia (May; dates tba)
An initiative of the Museum of Brisbane, BAD (Brisbane Art Design) champions the movers and shakers of the city's art and design sector. It spotlights its thriving cultural identity through the places, histories and climate that bring our collective creativity to the fore.
How Design Live – Nashville, USA (5-7 Jun)
HOW Design Live is where inspiration, community, and creativity converge in a three-day event that you can't afford to miss. Become part of a creative community that embraces every attendee, validates your work, and empowers you to do great things.
Birmingham Design Festival – Birmingham, UK (8-9 Jun)
BDF Conference is a celebration of design held in Birmingham across two days in June. You can expect a day of talks from some of our favourite designers in the world, delivered in one venue, in addition to a day of fun workshops if you fancy getting more practical.
Pixel Pioneers – Bristol, UK (16 Jun)
Pixel Pioneers is an affordable community conference for front-end developers and UX/UI designers focusing on actionable takeaways. Organised by content consultant Oliver Lindberg, this year's speakers include Ire Aderinokun, Jeremy Keith and Cassie Evans.
Freiburg, Germany (4-6 Sep)
Circles – Texas, USA (6-8 Sep)
Reveal your inner creativity at Circles Conference 2023. This conference contains inspirational stories and workshops from the industry's leading creatives. You'll walk away with new ideas, practical advice, and a tight-knit community to support you along the way.
London Design Festival – London, UK (16-24 Sep)
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2022, London Design Festival is an annual event to promote the city's creativity, drawing in the country's greatest thinkers, practitioners, retailers and educators to deliver an unmissable celebration of design.
Brand New – Austin, Texas, USA (3-4 Oct)
From the online magazine Brand New comes a two-day event on the development of corporate and brand identity projects, with some of today's most active and influential practitioners from around the world.
AIGA Design Conference – New York, USA (12-14 Oct)
The American Institute of Graphic Arts hosts its annual event in the Big Apple. Prepare to get inspired and re-energised while learning in the community from designers at the cutting edge of today's hot topics.