Hopscotch 2016 Reflections

Sir Walter Raleigh with a Hopscotch badge

Photo by Angel Bailey

Hopscotch Design Festival is one of the most exciting times of the year for our organization. For one thing, it’s the culmination of a ton of hard work (even though director Marie Schacht makes it seem like a cinch). Plus we got to meet and party with some of our greatest heros.

Even better, though, is that the festival is the clearest expression of the New Kind mission—we bring people together to share in the adventure of creating the future. Our incredibly creative and motivated community came together to make this festival possible. Every speaker, attendee, and festival partner brought their A-game—sharing and building upon exciting ideas.

We hope everyone left as inspired as we did.

Here are a few of our reflections from this year’s Hopscotch Design Festival.

Moments worth designing

Dan Heath’s talk entitled “Designing Moments” kicked off the festival, and set the tone for the entire event.

Dan Heath

Photo by Bax Miller

It made us think about the moments that make life meaningful. Now all of us at New Kind will be even more conscious about the moments we design for our clients, their customers, and each other.


Photo by Bax Miller

Tickling your heart

Then Tina Roth Eisenberg took the stage. She discussed 10 things she wished she could have told her younger self. She shared each lesson (like lesson #1 “do what tickles your heart”) with a personal example. It’s one thing to hear tips. Seeing them in action really made them stick in people’s minds.

Tina Roth Eisenberg

Photo by Bax Miller

Tina’s talk ended up complimenting Dan’s nicely. Her enthusiastic approach to life helps her create special moments for her customers, her staff, her friends and family, and her contemporaries in the design world.

Funny how the talks played off each other. It’s almost as if we had…designed it that way.

Suspicious Hermione

Swag should have swagger

It was important to us that every aspect of this festival be as useful as possible, including the giveaways. We also wanted to leverage our local makers and their creative ability. We were thrilled to partner with local design icon Raleigh Denim Workshop to make the swag bags. Meanwhile, water bottles from bobble helped us execute on our hydration strategy.

Hopscotch Raleigh Denim Workshop Bag

Photo by our own Chris Sim

We also loved giving attendees the opportunity to make their own swag. Hey Monkey Design helped people create their own screen-printed Hopscotch posters.


Photo by Shari L. Sweeney

Lightning in a panel

This year, we switched to lightning talks where we centered each session around a theme. We gave each speaker 20 minutes to blow our minds. And then we invited them all back on stage to engage with each other. 

This structure gave attendees the chance to experience the speakers from a different perspective. We wanted to create unique conversations and help generate new knowledge and understanding about their work.

Hopscotch Panel

Photo by Angel Bailey

Debbie Millman

And for the mic drop of our speaker series, what would one of our most successful contemporary American designers be discussing? Failure of course.

Seeing a legend of the design world talk about all of the rejection she’s experienced throughout her career was truly inspiring.

Debbie Millman

Photo by Shari L. Sweeney

It was only fitting that she got a standing ovation.

And though it was was an ovation for Debbie (and a well-deserved one at that), it was a truly special moment to conclude the festival.

Block party

And what would a design festival be without people creating right in front of our eyes. Ink Wars brought so many talented and diverse local artists together. With so much talk about creating, it was so fun having an event where you could watch people getting their hands dirty and literally make something.

Ink Wars Block Party

Photo by Craig Carter

Our mission

Seeing so many people from different locales and walks of life come together to share the experience of the festival was a powerful manifestation of our mission. A story from our Chief Poetics Officer, Jonathan Opp, sums it up nicely:

Hopscotch Design is all about connecting people and ideas. Connecting with both Tina Roth Eisenberg, CreativeMornings founder, and Julie Anixter, Executive Director of AIGA, at the same time was an unforgettable experience. I believe deeply in both organizations—and they are led by two inspirational people. What made it even more meaningful is that it all happened in CAM Raleigh, home of CreativeMornings/Raleigh and home to so many AIGA Raleigh events over the years.

Hopscotch 2017

Even though we’ve hardly had time to reflect on an amazing third year, we’re already thinking about the next one. And we’d like you to be a part of it.

Share a memorable story from the Hopscotch Design Festival on how it impacted your life post festival or, if you haven’t attended, how you hope it will impact your life. Share on Twitter along with #HopDesign2017 to be entered to win a ticket for Hopscotch Design Festival 2017! On November 1st, we’ll pick the best story to win. Good luck, and thank you for supporting our design community. 



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