Recap: DesignMeets Community

On February 23, at the Hard Rock Café in Ottawa, we truly understood the meaning of Design Community. Pivot partnered with IABC Ottawa to host a mixer sponsored by Creative Niche and Corel. With a packed house in the heart of the Byward Market, guests showed up to mingle before the event and well after the speakers had had their say about a theme that has been talked about a lot recently — the importance of design community.


Below you will find a quick recap of the talks for the night.

The mixer had a strong turnout of around a 100 creative professionals, with a good showing of graphic, industrial, interior, UX, and digital designers. Many thanks to those who participated and a big thank you to our speakers. Photos of this event can be seen on our flickr stream. Pivot will be hosting many more “DesignMeets” throughout the year, so check back or contact us for more info:




Robert B. Smith, GreenMelon (Graphic Design)
Presented on the importance of networking, not just hidden behind Social Media but building networks of community with real people, face-to-face.

Mike McGuire, Wingspan Creative (Industrial Design)
Mike discussed “An Incomplete Manifesto for our Design Community” and Brian Eno’s term: “scenious”. He talked about the collective genius of a community; intelligence of a whole social scene that permeates the whole culture — food, art, music, sport — as it balances with lifestyle. You can’t invent this kind of scenario, but you can nurture it and welcome it. The idea of “What can we do vs what I can do”.

“I have never seen this many creative people at one event in Ottawa, events like this is how we make some change.”


Amanda Holstrom, Opentext (User Experience)
What do designers contribute? She described how we, as designers, sit at the centre of business requirements, tech constraints, market appeal, customer needs and flexibility. The Design Mecca, for Amanda, is when a design is repurposed well outside of what it was intended for and still sees success in the marketplace. Amanda closed off with a quote from “…My goal is to learn from someone that knows more than I do, and the moment that I am done leaning from others I am done as a designer.”

Nick Aiken, Grey Rock (Print & Digital Media)
As a stand-up comic, Nick has a unique perspective on people, creatives and community and it is evident in his approach to design. He spoke about growing up with cultural TV innovators from Norman Lear to the Beatles; from the 60’s and the message of change to Science Fiction and the innovation of Star Trek devices; from “the revolution will not be televised” to Egypt and social media; and ended with “maybe they have to be crazy” we are the ones that want to change the world.