In/Visible Talks 2020 Recap: Inspiration, Talks, and Takeaways

Be weird, be bold, and design for change were some of the rallying calls supporting the “Go Beyond” theme at the third annual In/Visible Talks conference.

At this year’s sold-out In/Visible Talks conference on January 16, 2020 designers, artists, and creative thinkers once again inspired and motivated us. We talked about our creative processes—from the perspectives of a wide range of disciplines—and challenged everyone to “Go Beyond” and use our skills to make our world a better place.

Our international lineup of speakers blew us away with their vulnerability, authenticity, and insights into what really happens behind the scenes in their work as writers, artists, designers, and innovators. They surprised us, enlightened us, and invited us to examine our pasts, imagine our futures, and explore how we can use our crafts for good.

The videos of all the talks are now up on the 2020 Wrap Up + Highlights page of the In/Visible Talks website. Here are some of the highlights:

Dancer, DJ, designer, modern-day Renaissance man Jerome Harris shared with us how he knew he was destined to be a creative. “I was doing it all along.”

“What we don’t address, we don’t alleviate,” said Indhira Rojas, who inspired us by sharing the incredibly personal drive behind the creation of Anxy Magazine.

“Cultivate attention, allow space, allow for surprises,” said Joscelin Cooper, as she and Kristen House discussed “Content Strategy: A Transformational Lens”.

“Don’t be afraid to be weird, if weird is really your thing” said LaDonna Willems in her talk on “Permission to Speak: How to Unleash the Power of Your True Voice.”

“Be bold!” John Bielenberg said, as he told us how his Think Wrong Institute is tackling some of our world’s most-pressing issues.

Antoinette Carroll urged us to take a closer look at design for equity. “We impact how people perceive themselves,” she said. “This is extremely powerful.”

In answer to moderator Dava Guthmiller’s question “What are you excited about?” Manuela King said, “Cross-disciplinary innovation.” This was demonstrated in the panel discussion she shared with Sophie Maxwell and Carolien Niebling.

In her talk on “Design, Empathy & Neurodiversity”, Jenara Nerenberg called on us to reexamine what is “normal” and do something. “I want you to be translators,” she said.

Melissa Miyamoto-Mills asks herself, “What does creative success look like?” Through her talk on “Collaborating Curiosity,” she encouraged us to “Go broad, go deep, then go beyond.”

“Extremes work,” Jennifer Morla told us. Then she backed up her claim with images of her work from her extraordinary decades-long career in design.

“What do designers have to do with climate change?” JD Beltran asked us. Answer: “Everything.”

We encourage you to revisit the videos throughout the year, whenever you need to refuel your creative energy. And we hope you’ll also continue to be part of our conversations on the creative process. For announcements and information about upcoming Salons, Workshops, and other special events, visit the In/Visible Talks website and keep an eye out for blog posts and eblasts.

As In/Visible Talks Co-Founders Dava Guthmiller and Arianna Orland said to the assembled crowd on January 16, “We have the opportunity and responsibility to use our craft to shape the world in intentional ways for this year and beyond.”

Let’s get to work!

Five Questions with Camille Matonis: Full Harvest’s Product Designer

In/Visible Talks 2020 Speaker Camille Matonis gets creative inspiration from startup founders, her siblings, and tiny plastic animals

Camille Matonis is the sole designer at Full Harvest, an online marketplace for imperfect and surplus produce. Full Harvest’s goal is to reduce food waste on farms. Additionally, as the founder of the San Francisco chapter of Make a Mark, Camille organizes “hackathons” for designers and developers. Make a Mark pairs local nonprofits with designers to complete impactful projects over a 12-hour period, and she introduced us to the process when she facilitated Design For Good: Hackathon, one of the day-after, add-on workshops at In/Visible Talks 2020.

How does Camille stay creatively inspired and motivated? She shares some of her thoughts with us here.

What is your relationship to the creative process?

“My creative process thrives on feedback. I believe good design should feel good to all types of people, so I try to get as much input as I can without overcomplicating my vision.”

How or where do you find inspiration?

“My UX work is inspired by the products I use IRL and on my phone/computer. A lot can come from just paying attention to detail and noticing how a product makes you feel.”

What was one of your biggest creative challenges?

“Some of my biggest creative challenges have been designing fundraising decks for startups. They are so deeply personal to the founder, and the stakes are so high.”

When did you first realize you needed to be in a creative field?

“When I stayed up all night procrastinating on my homework by doing art projects for fun.”

Who are your heroes and why?

“My younger sister and brother, because they kick ass every day performing comedy and testing 3D printed materials at NASA. We all had the same upbringing, but have pursued such different interests. They keep me rooted, make me laugh, and inspire me to live my best life. I am looking forward to growing old with them on a farm where our kids can play in the dirt together.”

Bonus Round: What’s on your desk?

“Tiny plastic animals: a unicorn, flamingo, kiwi, frog, and a parrot.”

February 2020 Design & Art Event Hotlist

February design, art, and inspiration event “must dos” curated by In/Visible Talks Co-Founders Arianna Orland and Dava Guthmiller.

We’re always on the lookout for new opportunities to learn more about our crafts and inspire ourselves. So, each month, In/Visible Talks’ co-founders (and long-time practicing designers) Arianna Orland and Dava Guthmiller review calendars of events from around the Bay Area and pick their favorites. For February, we’re planning to watch some short films, hear from a panelist of design award-winners, and learn how to save our creations. Join us!

Certainty is Becoming Our Nemesis.

Informed by the concurrently running exhibition Orlando, which is inspired byVirginia Woolf’s novel of the same title, and Issue #235 of Aperture magazine, “certainty is becoming our nemesis” presents an international collection of short films that address the themes of self-expression, transformation, and self-invention, and explores how ambiguity of identity manifests as an emotional survival strategy. Free. On view February 7 through May 2. McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, 1150 25th Street, Building B, San Francisco.

National Design Awards Panel in San Francisco.

As part of the National Design Awards, Cooper Hewitt travels to various cities each year, connecting winners, past and present, to local communities. In San Francisco, we’ll meet and hear from Lisa Iwamoto of IwamotoScott Architecture (Interior Design Award), Susan Kare (Lifetime Achievement Award), and Ivan Poupyrev (Interaction Design Award). Free. February 13, 5:30 to 8:30 pm. Design Within Reach, 200 Kansas Street, San Francisco.

Why Your Process Matters, and How to Preserve It.

Letterform Archive’s Rob Saunders will share what we learn from graphic design process material and offer recommendations to graphic designers on how to preserve their work for posterity. Saunders gave versions of this talk at the Victoria and Albert Museum during the London Design Festival and at TYPO Berlin. This is the first time it’s been offered in San Francisco. Free. February 18, 6:00 to 7:30 pm. San Francisco Public Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco.

Want more? Check out the In/Visible Talks blog for reviews of design and arts events we’ve attended recently and to learn about upcoming opportunities.