Semi Permanent 2017 reflections

By HGB , Aug 21 2017
International design event, Semi Permanent, has become a regular fixture on the HGB design team’s calendar. Designer, Danielle Carden, reflects on this year’s conference in Auckland.

Friday, August 11 – the alarm went off at 5am and while I usually snooze the ring tone at least twice, today I wasn’t going to be late. The HGB design team were heading to Semi Permanent in Auckland for a day to hear world-renowned creatives and entrepreneurs speak about trends, challenges and inspiration in the design world.

As a new design graduate, hearing speakers of Semi Permanent’s calibre, such as Dantley Davis, Director of Product AI at Facebook and Katie Dill, Head of Experience at Airbnb, was an opportunity not to be missed.

Best design minds in town

Semi Permanent (SP) is a global creative and design-thinking platform, held once a year in Auckland and Sydney. SP 2017 was all about ‘Designing for Change.’

This year’s speaker line-up was a roll call of names of the best minds from today’s biggest global companies: Uber, Windows and Google to name a few, as well as leading creatives from design companies throughout the US and Europe.

Murray Bell, Semi Permanent Founder, describes the design industry as being on the precipice of new frontiers. “Artificial intelligence, ethical manufacturing, machine learning, autonomous transport, zero-click transactions and much more are here and these require leadership, creative thinking and meaningful storytellers. What an incredible moment in time we live in, and what better industry than ours to be in right now.”

Storytelling highlights

As a newbie to Semi Permanent, I wasn’t sure what to expect, though I had heard rave reviews from the HGB design team who had attended the year before. A day spent sitting in the company of the world’s leading design minds was incredible, but there were still some highlights.

These were the creatives who really left an impression on me.

Lucy McRae, science fiction artist and body architect

Lucy McRae invented Swallowable Parfume, a cosmetic pill that emits fragrance from the inside out. Her aim for doing so? To ‘disrupt the beauty market and change human instincts’.

Lucy began her talk relaying the time she sat down to write her funeral speech. The talk was about ‘The future of wellness’. Her approach is to influence culture via exploring scientific breakthroughs relating to health and the human body, while providing a feminine point of view on emerging technology. Her work is steered by science, with the premise to create experiences that take people beyond the expectations of themselves.

Find out more about Lucy in her short 4-minute TED talk: “How can technology transform the human body?

Natasha Jen, partner, Pentagram design studio

Another woman who gave me plenty of things to think about was Natasha Jen, partner at the world-renowned Pentagram design studio in New York City. Her work readily crosses boundaries between media and draws deep and subtle reference to history and technology.

An example Jen shared of a branding project her team worked on was, ‘Magic Leap’.

Magic Leap is a company which creates augmented reality, like a whale jumping out of a gymnasium floor. Her team worked alongside Magic Leap to perfect their brand to speak to the correct audiences – premium, but fun technology brands.

Steve Denekas, Executive Creative Director, Instrument

Another speaker I was fortunate to hear was Steve Denekas, Executive Creative Director at Instrument in Portland, Oregon in the US. Instrument is a well-known, digital brand and product innovation company with over 150 employees. Alongside Kara Place and John Brown, Steve shared the process at Instrument.

The key takeaways from their process was:

  • Move quickly from talking to doing
  • Ideas come from everywhere, find the truth and build from it
  • Have one million ideas but don’t hold onto them until it is the right idea
  • Don’t sweat the details, love the problem

Inspiration that resonates

Here at HGB, we truly believe design has the power to make our world a better place.

After just one day at Semi Permanent, my passion for design was reaffirmed and I returned brimming with ideas and inspiration. I hope these final words, from SP’s founder, Murray Bell, inspire and resonate with you.

“Life is in constant state of change, and any bit of energy we create in this world has an impact. Let’s not be scared of the future. Sure, it’ll be challenging, but it’s also exciting and littered with opportunity.” (Murray Bell – Founder)

Bring on Semi Permanent 2018. I can’t wait!

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