LA Design Festival 2023

6 min read

The LA Design Festival ran this past weekend, from the 22nd of June to the 25th.

Events took place at three main locations across LA: ROW in Downtown LA, Helms Bakery District, and Long Beach Design District. The theme of this years' festival was 'Design for the People', and it was the first time we've been able to attend it, so we were excited to be part of the happenings.

Here's an excerpt about the festival from the website:

Social, technological, environmental, political, and economic shifts are changing the way our future will look at lightning speeds.
Design is, at its root, optimistic problem-solving and provides aesthetic and structure to guide change.
As a global design capital, Los Angeles has the opportunity to create a space for collaborative engagement with creatives from all corners of our city and world.
Designing for the people encompasses voices from all walks of life, backgrounds, creative practices, educational experiences, and places of origin including those that are often excluded, dismissed or overlooked.
LA Design Festival provides a place for creatives to explore, collaborate and engage with other members of the design community.

We managed to attend a handful of sessions throughout the weekend, here's our summary:


People Powered: a Screen Printing Workshop

Our LA Design Festival experience kicked off with a screen printing workshop hosted by Firebrand Creative House.

We dove into conversations about the rich histories of Black, queer, and Indigenous (Otomi) communities, and discovered the artistry of Schessa Garbutt, a talented designer who infuses their illustrations with great meaning.

Then we got hands-on, choosing our own talisman design from Firebrand and screen printing it onto a t-shirt. It was an immersive experience that got us inspired to infuse more hands on creativity into our work.

On the recommendation of Nova Community Arts in Glendale, we picked up some screen printing supplies from Ace Printing Supplies in downtown to (finally) get stuck in with screen printing after speaking about it for so long.

Daniel pulling a print


The Big, Small, and Messy Design History: Los Angeles

Next up, we joined a conversation about discovering and conserving LA's broad design history. The panel was headed up by designer, educator and art historian Lorraine Wild; design historian Silas Munro; journalist Eva Recinos; and, design researcher Jason E.C Wright.

We discovered valuable insights on how to contribute to and access resources that help preserve our vibrant cultural heritage, ensuring it remains alive for future generations.

If you don't check anything else out from this post, definitely take a look at the People's graphic Design Archive - an extraordinary and invaluable resource that not only archives and honors graphic design history globally, but also welcomes crowd contributions. I'll leave with an important snippet from the conversation:

'it doesn't need to be perfect to start'

Dieline Packaging Awards 2023 Winners Display

We also got to check out a beautifully color-organised display of the 2023 Dieline Award winners. I'll just put the GIF here for you to admire in it's color coordinated glory:


California Dreaming Moderated by Frances Anderton

To wrap up an inspiration-filled weekend, we made our way to Helms Bakery district—a super cool spot.

Here, attended a session featuring architects and writers discussing the latest issue of Architectural Design magazine titled "California Dreaming."

Each panelist shared their unique interpretation of what California Dreaming meant to them, ranging from "Projection" to "Paradise, Lost?"

Our own perspective on this inspiring concept is:

The California Dream means having the freedom to express yourself creatively and authentically without fear of judgment or limitations.

The last edition of AD


@ladesignfestival on Instagram 

LA Design Festival Events Guide - DesignBoom