Recapping the First Artboard 1 Event

Last week we hosted the first session of Artboard 1, a design event series we started in San Francisco. It was a 1-hour design challenge where teams worked on one of three possible prompts generated by Sharpen.design: designing a poster for public libraries, a chatbot for the dark web, or a 6-second ad for the NSA. We purposefully chose unconventional prompts to allow people to step outside their comfort zones and have some fun!

It ended up being a blast and every team had a unique spin to the prompt they chose. Some people even said they had never had so much fun at a meetup before! Our goal for Artboard 1 was to make design meetups goofier and more energizing, so we’re happy to say it was a huge success.

We’re already looking forward to planning more Artboard 1 events. In the meantime here’s how you can plan a similar design challenge event.

  • Keep it brief and with a small group of people. The time constraints help keep teams focused, and a small group of people is easier to manage.
  • Use a tool like Sharpen.design or What Should I Design to think of prompt ideas.
  • Let people know in advance what tools they’ll need to bring, and have a backup plan if people forget anything. It helps to have prompts that don’t require any specific technology, too.
  • Provide food and drinks, keep track of time, have the WiFi password on hand… think ahead of what people will need and be ready with it.
  • Most importantly, keep the mood light. A design challenge works best when everyone feels free to take risks, make mistakes, laugh about it, and move forward. A lot of design work already involves a lot of pressure and constraints: events like this offer a chance to unwind. Roll with it!

If you end up planning your own design challenge meetup, let us know. We’d love to hear how it turns out.

Finally, thank you to everyone who joined us, and to the Sharpen.design team for helping us plan the event! 🎉