Cincinnati Design Week 2017 | September 25 - September 29 | Presented by AIGA Cincinnati and Openfield Creative Menu

September 25 - 29, 2017

For decades Cincinnati has placed itself at the forefront of global design. Our 6th Annual Cincinnati Design Week is a weeklong celebration of creativity, featuring 15 events in just 5 days. You'll enjoy workshops, studio tours, panel discussions, keynote speakers, and of course, great parties. This year's lineup will help you make an impact in your career, community, and beyond. All races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientation, and ability, are welcome to join us during #cdw17. We look forward to celebrating the power of design with both designers and design-enthusiasts.

Planning to attend 2+ events? Learn how to claim your limited edition swag bag here.

Keynote Speaker

  • Ashleigh Axios

    Ashleigh Axios

    Design Exponent, Automattic & Former Creative Director, The White House
  • Antionette Carroll

    Founder & CEO, Creative Reaction Lab

  • Adam Sonnett

    VP User Experience, Openfield

  • Autumn Crosier

    Brand Experience Director, emedia design

  • Autumn Heisler

    Co-President & WomanUp Founder, AIGA Cincinnati

  • Brian Keenan

    Brian Keenan

    Co–founder, Openfield Creative
  • Brittney Braemer

    Co-Owner & Graphic Designer, Handzy

  • Carol Baden

    Community Outreach Specialist, Ohio Attorney General

  • Catherine Crichlow

    VP, emedia design

  • Holly Shoemaker

    Creative Director, Hyperquake

  • Hope Sowders

    District Sales Manager and Digital Specialist, Mohawk

  • Jessica Bellamy

    Creative Resident, Adobe

  • Jess Nolte-Cerchio

    Senior Lead Designer, Differential

  • Kristen Pericleous

    Co-VP & Design for Good Director, AIGA Cincinnati

  • Lauren Lawson

    Junior Developer, Alchemy

  • Leah Kroeger

    Graphic Designer, Handzy

  • Marquez White

    UI Designer, Kroger Technology

  • Matthew Dooley

    CEO & Founder, Dooley Media

  • Michelle Sucher

    Social Innovation Specialist, Design Impact

  • Nicola Cimino

    Brand Manager, Construct Connect

  • Ryan Cayabyab

    Product Manager, Alchemy

  • Sean C Davis

    Senior Developer, Ample

  • Steve Bowling

    HR Business Partner, LPK

  • Suzy Strachan

    Co-Owner & Graphic Designer, Handzy

  • Tim Metzner

    Founder & Partner, Differential

  • Trevor Minton

    VP Creative, Openfield

  • Yelitsa Jean-Charles

    Graphic Designer, LISNR

  • Matoaka Winters

    Client Director, Landor

  • Jessie Zettler

    Creative Director, Landor

  • Patrick Hildebrandt

    UX/UI Designer, EBTH

  • Kendra Doherty

    Designer, Landor

  • Sam Borstadt

    UX Designer, Paycor

  • Ray Elfers

    Creative Director, POSSIBLE

  • Leslie Sikes

    Modo Yoga

Events will be individually ticketed online and at the door, provided there are still seats available. If an event is free to attend, it is still important to RSVP, as some events have a maximum number of seats and your RSVP guarantees you will recieve one.

Thurs, Sept 21

Teaser: Agency Crawl

Downtown Cincinnati | 5:30-8:30pm | FREE

Get on the crawl! This free warm-up event for Cincinnati Design Week is your chance to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the design agencies in downtown Cincinnati and meet some of the amazing designers that work for them. The participating studios and agencies are excited to welcome you, so be prepared for some fun and a few adult beverages. Though this is a free event, spots are limited and you MUST have a ticket to attend. Due to limited capacity, be sure to register via the ticket link above to secure your spot! The crawl will begin at Landor at 6:00pm, check-in starts at 5:30. Wear comfortable shoes, we will be walking. The final agency will be FRCH or Hyperquake depending on your group. We suggest parking by either of these agencies. If a parking lot/garage is not available, we suggest downloading the Passport Parking app so you can pay your meter/spot through your phone.

This event is FREE.

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Mon, Sept 25

Shifting the Paradigm of Design for Brand Experience

emedia design | 8:30am | FREE - $10

Designing for a brand is more than just developing an eye-catching logo. Connecting business and design at a strategic level is a necessary step in bringing brands to life. This process often requires a collaborative effort across multiple skill sets and departments. It also requires a deeper understanding of the company, their customers and how the two coexist. Join eMedia Design Co., a downtown Cincinnati brand experience firm, to learn about design process tips and discuss key areas necessary in designing for the brand experience. Want to stand out in the industry? Ready to take your process to the next level? We'll show you the way. Coffee and light breakfast included. Thank you to eMedia Design Co for hosting this #CDW17 event!


  • Catherine Crichlow, Vice President
  • Autumn Crosier, Brand Experience Director

Sponsored by emedia design

This event is FREE for students, $5 for members and $10 non-members.

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Mon, Sept 25

In Tandem: How Designers and Developers Work Together

Union Hall // Homeroom | 11:30 - 1 | FREE - $10

Design and development are too often viewed as separate disciplines with distance between them, but we know the secret to success is working together.

In this panel discussion, designers and developers (and those in-between) will discuss how they collaborate on their teams. We will explore the challenges teams face when working with different disciplines, and how to overcome them.


  • Ryan Cayabyab, Product Manager, Alchemy
  • Patrick Hildebrandt, UX/UI Designer, Everything But The House
  • Sam Borstadt, UX Designer, Paycor
  • Lauren Lawson, Junior Developer, Alchemy
  • Sean Davis, Senior Developer, Ample

Come and have lunch (provided) with us! The panel will begin promptly at 11:45. The panel will be facilitated by Haley Moore, Co-President of AIGA Cincinnati.

For lunch ordering purposes, tickets must be purchased before 12:00 PM noon on Sunday, 9/24. This event is FREE for AIGA student members, $5 for AIGA members, $10 for non-members.

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Mon, Sept 25

Box of Crazy: A Design Thinking Game

Union Hall // Beer Hall | 5:30pm | $5 - $15

Like everyone today, we designers find ourselves confronted with the reality of living and working in an era of unprecedented technological change that continually requires us to redefine the value that our profession brings to the world around us. The good news: design-thinkers have an edge. While that’s a very serious topic, we’d like to invite you to an evening where we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Please join us for a game-like collaborative experience full of lightning-fast design prototyping that we’re calling “Box of Crazy.”

How it will work:

Openfield Creative will present attendees with a shortlist of challenges that you will vote on. We will then divide the room into teams who will compete to solve the challenge using a curated box of random and absurd items that you will use to prototype your solutions. Teams will present to a panel of judges who will evaluate the prototypes and make awards in the following categories:

  • Most Ingenious
  • Most Hilarious
  • Most WTF?!

Let’s kick off Cincinnati Design Week with a fun evening designed to get us all working and laughing together! Light bites and beverages included.


  • Trevor Minton, VP Creative
  • Adam Sonnett, VP User Experience

Sponsored by Openfield. This event is FREE for AIGA student members, $5 for AIGA members, $15 for non-members.

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Tues, Sept 26

Make with Meaning

Design Impact | 8:30 - 10:00 am | FREE

A lot of us get into design to make things: furniture, packages, labels. If it’s sold in a store, we want to make it better and more beautiful. What if we applied that same mentality to make our city better? Design Impact uses design to reimagine how public and social services can better serve those most affected by the problem: by empowering them to be co-designers. Learn how design can be used for good, like fighting childhood hunger, building healthier, safer neighborhoods, and attracting more women to math and science careers. Plus, walk away with ideas on how to use your creative skills to tackle issues in your own community. Coffee and light breakfast are included. Thank you to Design Impact for hosting this #CDW17 event!


  • Michelle Sucher, Social Innovation Specialist, Design Impact

Sponsored by Design Impact. This event is FREE.

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Tues, Sept 26

Disruptive: An Inside Look at Cannes Lions 2017

Landor | 11:45 am - 1:00 pm | $5 - $10

Learn from two leaders in the consumer packaging and branding industry as they share their latest industry discoveries. Matoaka Winters (Client Director) and Jessie Zettler (Creative Director) of Landor will lead a provocative discussion on the newest class of disruptive, award-winning work featured at Cannes Design and Advertising Lions 2017. You'll hear their predictions for the future of branding, insights gleaned from the current state of the industry, and exactly what they think about the entries that took home Lions.

Lunch is included in this event.


  • Matoaka Winters, Client Director, Landor
  • Jessie Zettler, Creative Director, Landor

Sponsored by Landor. This event is $5 for AIGA members, $10 for non-members.

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Tues, Sept 26

Gender Equity Workshop

Pixels & Ink | 6:00 - 7:30 pm | FREE - $10

Women today outnumber men in AIGA’s membership—as in design schools and disciplines—yet leadership, representation, and parity remain a challenge. AIGA Women Lead has teamed up with designer and sociologist Leyla Acaroglu of Disrupt Design to create the Gender Equity Toolkit. Join us as we use this new resource to bust through one of the leading causes of disparate access to leadership positions in the design field: implicit gender-related bias. This interactive series of activities is open to men and women who are interested in learning more about bias and gender equity. The workshop will be facilitated by AIGA Cincinnati's WomanUp Founder, Autumn Heisler.


  • Autumn Heisler, Co-President + WomanUp Founder, AIGA Cincinnati

This event is FREE for AIGA student members, $5 for AIGA members, $10 for non-members.

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Wed, Sept 27

Infographics for Social Change: A Graphic Ally Hackathon

Rookwood Exchange | 8:30 - 10:30 am | FREE

Become a graphic ally! Learn how to tell visual data stories to inspire policy change and mobilize information at the grassroots level. In this hands-on workshop, we will explore and apply principles of conscious and responsible design to a real-world infographic project. Topics covered are as follows: icon drafting, infographic composition, power dynamics in design, data framing, asset vs. deficit mapping, access to information, and grassroots design strategies. Learn how to map out infographic solutions for reaching and activating policy makers, people with resources, low-opportunity communities, and more. Participants will leave with an actionable list of design strategies, and with experience creating an infographic for a local nonprofit or community group.


  • Jessica Bellamy, Creative Resident at Adobe

Sponsored by Adobe. This event is FREE.

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Wed, Sept 27

De-stress to Impress: wellness strategies for sustaining creativity

Gaslight | 12pm-1:30pm | FREE ($5 placeholder)

Making time for yourself is one of the most important, but least developed, skills you can cultivate in your design career. Most of us need to learn to give ourselves the kind of care we give our brands. So, in the middle of #CDW17 this year, AIGA Cincinnati will be giving you tools to de-stress and work on your mental health! Join us for office yoga, an infused water bar, wellness swag, giveaways, and a free healthy lunch from Whole Bowl. We'll discuss some ways to manage our mental health, sustain creativity and achieve the kind of whole body wellness that will complement a creative career.

$5 placeholder tickets will be refunded at the door, or donated to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at the choice of the ticketholder.


  • Jessica Stoddard, Wellness Director

Sponsored by Whole Bowl & Modo Yoga. This event is FREE (with a $5 placeholder fee).

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Wed, Sept 27

Designing for Good: Creatively Attacking the Heroin Epidemic

Graydon on Main | 6:00pm - 8:00pm | FREE

The number of people affected by heroin is growing and the degrees of separation are lessening, what can we do to solve it? It’s a well-known problem, nationally and locally in Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky. The heroin epidemic seems almost too big for any one person or organization to fix, but, what if we could break it down and tackle it in a smaller, more manageable way? As creatives, we would like to believe that our work has an impact on the people and world that we live in. Join AIGA Cincinnati for an event–part lecture, part workshop–as we make strides to help those in our city most in need.

The workshop portion of the event will have attendees break into groups to creatively brainstorm solutions to two to three issues. Those solutions will be presented to the Ohio Attorney General Board for consideration. Workshop will be led by Kristen Pericleous, Co-VP + Design for Good Director of AIGA Cincinnati.

Light bites will be provided. Please come prepared to think, create, and solve. A laptop and/or notebook are recommended.


  • Carol Baden, Community Outreach Specialist, State of Ohio Attorney General’s Office
  • Kristen Pericleous, Co-VP & Design for Good Director, AIGA Cincinnati

About our speaker: Carol Baden, community outreach specialist at the State of Ohio Attorney General’s Office, will lead a discussion on the opioid crisis, the rise of the Narcan drug, and community engagement strategies. Carol was a nurse and medical professional for 25 years before she quit her job to unify the fight against heroin in Ohio. She has organized meetings to educate the community, provided resource lists for those suffering from addiction and created the Community Recovery Project, a support and resources group on opiate and heroin addiction. Carol and the Community Recovery Program are fighting simply because “heroin sucks.”

This event is FREE.

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Thurs, Sept 28

Handzy: Handmade Card Workshop

The Frock | 8:00am -10:00am | $15

With today's technology, talking to the people we love is faster than ever before, but we believe a thoughtful card and handwritten message just can't be beat! Join us for a fun morning of collaged cut paper greeting cards! We'll experiment with different shapes, colors, textures, and typography to create two unique compositions—perfect for housing your handwritten sentiments. All materials for the class will be provided, including a light breakfast.


  • Brittney Braemer, Co-owner + Graphic Designer
  • Suzy Strachan, Co-owner + Graphic Designer

Sponsored by Handzy. This event is $15.

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Thurs, Sept 28

Print Talk with Mohawk

Moerlein Lager House | 11:30 am - 1:00 pm | $5 - $10

Make effective things, great things, that slow people down, activate their senses and command their attention. Hope Sowders, District Sales Manager & Digital Specialist for Mohawk Fine Papers, will show us how to do just that using the latest trends + tech in the paper and printing industries. While she will not disclose how many years she has been in the industry, we can assure you she has worked with creatives, end-users, and printers to create beautiful, effective, and memorable messaging for a quite a while. This session is guaranteed to leave you wondering if she drinks a lot of caffeine or is she really that excited about paper – you decide! This lunch and learn includes lunch (obviously), and lots of free swag/goodies, it's a one-of-a-kind print experience.


  • Hope Sowders, District Sales Manager & Digital Specialist, Mohawk

Sponsored by Mohawk + Millcraft. This event is $5 for AIGA members, $10 for non-members.

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Thurs, Sept 28

NKU in:sight Design Exhibition Opening

Northern Kentucky University Art Galleries | 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm | FREE

Please join us on Thursday, September 28, 2017 from 6–9:00 pm at our gallery opening for in:sight: a showcase of excellence in strategy and creative risk in regional design.

We welcome you to celebrate with the region’s design community as we enjoy work by 20 design firms and individuals, including: Lisa Bambach & Alistair Probst, BLDG, CoHo Creative, FRCH, Gaslight, Gravity, Kolar Design, Landor, LeapFrame, LPK, Madison Design, Maker Creative, Neltner Small Batch, Paperplane Creative, Christopher Ritter, Seed Strategy, Spicefire, The Think Shop, Christina Wald, and We Have Become Vikings.

The first drink is on us. Light fare will be served, with a cash bar. Free parking is available in lots “i“ and “d” on reception night. For gallery visits at other times, parking is available in the NKU welcome center garage for a charge. Exhibition runs September 21–October 20, 2017.

We look forward to seeing you at NKU for the region’s best design party of the year!

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Thurs, Sept 28

Design Leadership for Civic Change feat. Antionette Carroll

Taft Museum of Art | 6:00 - 7:30 pm | FREE - $15

Design is an invisible innovation that continues to change the world through visual, spatial, and experiential means. Why not use this process to change our neighborhoods, communities, and, ultimately, the human experience for the better? Through equity-centered community design, creative problem solving, social innovation, empathy and humility, designers and community members alike can improve global difficulties and challenge human rights and social justice issues. Hear the Founder, President and CEO of Creative Reaction Lab, Antionette Carroll, discuss how August 9, 2014 and Ferguson, Missouri changed her from a typical 9-to-5 graphic designer to a social entrepreneur, facilitator, community organizer, and social impact design advocate; the lessons she has learned so far on her journey; and how design (and you) can create social and civic transformations.


  • Antionette Carroll, President & CEO, Creative Reaction Lab

About our speaker: Antionette D. Carroll is the Founder and CEO of Creative Reaction Lab, social enterprise that educates, trains, and challenges cities to co-create solutions with Black and Latinx populations to design healthy and racially equitable communities. Throughout her career, Antionette has worked for social justice, human rights, and diversity and inclusion nonprofits - with her last position being head of communications for Diversity Awareness Partnership. Currently, Antionette is the Chair Emeritus of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force of AIGA: The Professional Association of Design. At the local level, she is also serving as the President of AIGA St. Louis and co-founder of the Design + Diversity Conference and Podcast.

This event is FREE for AIGA members and Taft Art Museum members, $15 for non-members.

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Fri, Sept 29

Creative Mornings

Location TBD | 8:30 am - 10:30 am | FREE

CreativeMornings/Cincinnati is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community. Their free, monthly events feature a short talk and breakfast! Anyone can attend. Tickets for this event are typically released the week of, check back then to claim your spot!

Sponsored by Creative Mornings

Signups will be available soon. This event is FREE.Learn More About Creative Mornings

Fri, Sept 29

EMERGE Mini-conf

Memorial Hall OTR // Ballrooms | 8:30 am - 12:30 pm | $10 - $35

EMERGE is a new initiative of programming co-created by the national AIGA organization + AIGA Minnesota. EMERGE is a series of experiences tailored to help emerging designers hone their skills, discover their talents, and grow their careers. AIGA Cincinnati is excited to be participating in this initiative by hosting a mini-conference created specifically for emerging designers by emerging designers (those with 0-5 years of experience). This half-day event will include two engaging panel discussions, the choice of a keynote speaker based on your interests, and a workshop to help you refine your professional social media presence. The day also includes time for networking, free professional head shots, unlimited coffee, breakfast + snacks. The goal of EMERGE is to help you flourish as a designer—in the areas of employment, growth, leadership, entrepreneurship, and life skills.


  • Autumn Heisler, Co-President, AIGA Cincinnati
  • Nicola Cimino, Brand Manager, ConstructConnect
  • Jess Nolte, Senior Designer, Differential
  • Marquez White, UI Designer , Kroger
  • Yelitsa Jean-Charles, Graphic Designer, LISNR
  • Tim Metzner, Founder & Partner, Differential
  • Matthew Dooley, CEO & Founder, Dooley Media
  • Steve Bowling, HR Partner - Talent Acquisition & Engagement, LPK
  • Lori Jerome, Account Executive, TEK Systems
  • Brian Keenan, Co-Founder, Openfield
  • Holly Shoemaker, Creative Director, Hyperquake
  • Kendra Doherty, Designer, Landor
  • Ray Elfers, Creative Director, POSSIBLE
  • Ashton Spann, Digital Designer, Gold Medal Products + AIGA CIN social media director (moderator)
  • David Zellen, Vice President of Marketing, RoadID

View the full schedule here!

This event is $10 for AIGA student members, $20 for AIGA members, $35 for non-members.

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Fri, Sept 29

Keynote: Ashleigh Axios + #CDW17 After-Party

Memorial Hall OTR // Theater | 6 - 9:30 pm | $10 - $35

This isn't a portfolio presentation, humble-brag session, or a pure inspiration talk in the vein of "you can achieve this too." In this event, Ashleigh Axios will dish some of her awkward leadership moments and lessons, some of the challenges she's faced working in-house, her adjustment to remote working, and other adventures from her design career so far. You should attend this session if you like stories, animated GIFs, have a sense of humor, miss President Obama, use technology, and/or care about design. So you should probably just attend.


  • Ashleigh Axios, Design Exponent at Automattic

About Ashleigh Axios: Ashleigh is the Design Exponent at Automattic, a company with the mission to democratize publishing and a passion for making the web a better place through products including She is also an executive board member for AIGA, the professional association of design, and an editorial board member for Design Observer. Ashleigh served as the creative director and a digital strategist at the White House, where she led design from within the first-ever Office of Digital Strategy. She is also the president emeritus of AIGA Washington D.C., where she formed and leads DotGovDesign, an initiative and annual conference connecting and empowering government designers.

The After-Party: Following Ashleigh’s talk, join us for an amazing after-party. The #CDW17 after-party not only caps off an incredible keynote, but an inspiring week. This is the celebration of design in Cincinnati, with all of the people who make our creative community thrive. The after party is a time to relax, let loose, and connect with everyone you met and learned from that week. Enjoy a few cocktails, snack on some yummy bites, and dance to AIGA Cincinnati's favorite DJ. Meet the AIGA Cincinnati board, learn more about what we're planning for 2018, and have (so much) fun! There's no better way to start your weekend.

Sponsored by Landor + Openfield. This event is $10 for AIGA student members, $20 for AIGA members, $35 for non-members.

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Presenting Partners

  • AIGA Cincinnati
  • Openfield Creative

Diamond Sponsor

  • Adobe

Platinum Partner

  • Landor

Print Sponsor

  • Landor

Gold Partner

  • 74 Wired

Silver Sponsor

  • People's Liberty

Supporting Sponsors

  • Curiosity Advertising
  • Hyperquake
  • American Sign Museum
  • Home Advisor
  • KIND

Event Partners

  • Mohawk
  • E Media
  • Design Impact
  • Millcraft
  • Taft
  • RDG
  • Alchemy