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Business of Design Conference Supports Local Industry Growth

Business of Design, the two-day conference that has been creatively revolutionising the way South Africans do business, returns to Johannesburg and Cape Town in August with more lessons and inspiration from the country’s top business experts and industry professionals.

Now in its third year, Business of Design welcomes an all-new lineup of speakers who aim to guide delegates in ways to work smarter, offering tools for growth and insights into the latest industry trends and brand movements. Topics cover a diverse range of interests that are relevant to various sectors of industry – from real-life social media case studies and top tips when preparing for international trade shows, to ways to use design thinking to affect change, and insider strategies for brand activations.


‘What started off as a conference for design businesses, has grown to welcome delegates from marketing, architecture, retail, advertising and even financial backgrounds,’ says Business of Design co-founder Laurence Brick, MD of Platform Creative Agency and Creative Director for 100% Design South Africa. ‘It’s become a must-attend event for anyone wanting to progress in their business, think differently about the way they work, and network with industry peers on a level they would not normally be afforded the opportunity to do.’

Business of Design has, over the course of three conferences – one in 2014 and two in 2015 – hosted more than 750 delegates, with 90 of South Africa’s top designers, business experts and industry consultants now forming part of its growing network of alumni speakers.

Business of Design left me feeling inspired, energised and crystal clear as to what needs to be done to take my business to the next level,’ says alumni delegate Bridget Henderson of fashion label Cowgirlblues. Product and furniture designer Louw Roets, who attended the last conference in 2015, adds: ‘I gained more than half a notepad full of new ideas, solutions and inspiration, and made great business connections too.’ Says Business of Design co-founder Trevyn McGowan of Source and Southern Guild, ‘It’s been extremely rewarding to witness the results that have come out of these conferences, including creative collaborations sparked during our networking drinks sessions, and business growth that we’ve seen when delegates apply lessons learned.


Our own company, which has been going for more than 12 years, has gained valuable new strategies from these talks.’ The two full days include over 16 talks, with each day ending in a two-hour networking drinks session from 5-7pm, where delegates and speakers are afforded the opportunity to exchange ideas and business cards over a few drinks. ‘That’s one of the great appeals of Business of Design,’ says McGowan. ‘It’s not a stuffy, formal conference, but rather a friendly, welcoming environment where long-term relationship-building is as important as business growth.’


  • Johannesburg 17-18 August (The Forum, Bryanston)
  • Cape Town 23-24 August (Inner City Ideas Cartel, 71 Waterkant Street)


  • Early bird discount (until 30 June) R3 300
  • Business of Design alumni R3 000
  • Students R2 500
  • Full price (after 1 July) R3 950
  • SACAP & IID member discounts and CPD credits apply. Group discounts for five or more.