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A Festival for Intent

This post is cross-posted from Medium.

Uncertainty has a bad rap. It breeds unease and anxiety. But the problem is, the future reeks of uncertainty.

When I’m uncertain, I usually do one of two things. Scenario A: Wait and see what happens. Or scenario B: Do something. NOW.

The future?—?of our cities, public places, movies, communication, policies, food systems, buildings, transportation, and more?—?happens whether we intentionally create it or not. This is what the Federal Design Assemblies of the 1970s?—?which brought together American design industries and government?—?saw as a challenge. The danger of designing by default. Our tendency to default to the way we’ve done things before, to the way of thinking that got us here, to the fears we have about losing anything gained.

Contrast that with forming the future with intent.


It’s been over a month since the inaugural Hopscotch Design Festival was held on September 3–4 in downtown Raleigh. We shaped it as a place to discover the people designing the future. A place to see the thinkers, makers, storytellers, and reinventors who don’t wait and see. The people who grab a vision with their own two hands and wrestle it into reality. With courage. With tenacity. With curiosity. All in the face of unease, fear, and any negative emotion that creativity produces. The Hopscotch Design Festival was a celebration of bold ideas, their creators, and the process of shaping the future.

In case you missed Hopscotch Design Festival, the community has you covered.

Paste Magazine design editor Sarah Lawrence liveblogged the Festival. RaleighCo covered the experience as a Crash Course in Design 501. Fellow New Kinder David Burney summarized what he saw in GDUSA. Lisa V. Gray focused on being alert enough to let your work take you someplace unexpected. Webonise Lab acquired renewed motivation and energy to deliver even better! Hopscotch speakers Wild Yonder captured how they Yelled, S’mored, and Rocked.

Cuberis has two takes: 1) Shaun Boeringer of Cuberis found a common theme: Innovate, break boundaries, don’t ask permission, and never be afraid to change the rules when you have a great idea. 2) Jayson Morse outlines how to leverage the Design Festival for making this region a beacon of design on the world stage.

Hear hear!

Elle Luna inspired AIGA Raleigh board member Tracy Maniaci to Choose Must! And one of our design partners, Centerline, generated some great content?—?with their 8 takeaways, and this inspiring recap video. And if you want more on the why, check us out on NPR’s State of Things.

You bet we had our own anxieties about creating a design festival in the face of an uncertain future.

We could have waited to see what happens. Instead, we did something. Naturally, there are things to improve upon. But we created something. Something fun. Something special. Something intentional.


With our thriving design partners, generous sponsors, insightful speakers, and enthusiastic festival-goers who gathered for two days filled with inspiration and ideas to put into action.

It’s my hope that our collective experience of the Hopscotch Design Festival brought the design communities together in new ways that help us to take a few more confident steps into an uncertain future. And I hope those of you who joined us felt the same way.

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