From the Design Desk: Where Designers Can Go

Your local Peet’s Coffee isn’t the only place designers can go for a change of scene or a jolt to the brain. And, believe it or not, the internet is not the only space for design communities.

If you’re a freelancer working from home you might occasionally miss the company of coworkers. Jelly is a “causal” work meeting group set up for this very purpose. The host provides a place to sit, wireless internet, invites interesting people to “talk to, collaborate with, and bounce ideas off of.” Started by Amit Gupta and Luke Crawford in New York, it has since spread around the country and anyone can start a “Jelly.” They just suggest that you “bring a laptop (or whatever you need to get work done) and a friendly disposition.”

In the same spirit of cross-pollination, Japan-based architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Tokyo’s Klein-Dytham Architecture (KDa) started Pecha Kucha. The idea was to provide a place for young designers to meet, network, and show their work—keeping it fun and casual, like the pub culture from Dytham’s native England.

Pecha Kucha is now being hosted in more than 170 cities around the world. Generally over drinks, a dozen or so presenters show 20 slides, spending 20 seconds on each slide. So the presentations are many and concise—a mixture of architects, graphic designers, industrial designers, and artists.

The next Pecha Kucha in San Francisco is May 1. I signed up to show slides on Chronicle’s publishing design. Yikes! The lineup includes architect Peter Anderson, Efe Cakarel of the online film hub The Auteurs, and Pecha Kucha founder himself Mark Dytham. So if you’re in San Francisco come on by!

Suzanne LaGasa

P.S. Check out AIGA‘s site to find other design-friendly events, talks, exhibitions, and happy hours—whether to hobnob, share ideas, or just have a good time with people who get a kick out of discussing the latest soft drink logo redesign.

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  • Dave April 27, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I will be there.


  • mary grace April 27, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Ignite ( is another great way to get together! they started in Seattle and have spread all over the world. they’re similar to pecha kucha nights but have enough differences to stay separate. you should check it out next time we host one in the city! 🙂


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