June 6 brought a whirlwind day of design festivities to more than 600 eager attendees as Dribbble’s Hang Time NYC took over New York’s storied Hammerstein Ballroom. What followed was an unforgettable day of creative stories, lessons learned, and a boatload of inspiration from dozens of design leaders gracing four different stages.
We kicked off Hang Time with Coffee + Careers, where our early bird attendees were treated to conversation and guidance from a diverse panel of New York-area creative directors who graciously shared insights into what it takes to kickstart and grow a creative career.
Our main stage programming began with keynotes from designers Matt D. Smith and Joshua Davis. Smith affirmed that it’s imperative for designers to carve their own path by diving in headfirst to spark their creative trajectory.
Davis also spoke on creative self-determination—and the importance of making the work you want to be known for—all while showcasing deliberate experimentation which enables the frenetic, expressive beauty in his algorithmic work.
Subsequent speakers Cat Noone and Dan Mall, each showcased the duty to not only communicate fairly with clients and fellow designers, but also to advocate for equitable and responsible practices at every step of the design process.
Designer and author Kelli Anderson enthralled the main stage with the intricacies of her lo-fi tinkering, and the wonder that simple materials are still able to evoke—while designer Danielle Evans provided a raw, heartfelt testimonial about persevering through creative hardships in her talk The Bleue Period.
Hang Time attendees could customize their day as they wanted—making for a unique experience that allowed folks to bounce from room to room, taking in talks from a roster of their favorite designers.
In addition to our main stage, the three breakout rooms provided a vibrant forum for topics like branding and visual identities with Mackey Saturday, type design with Charles Nix, doodle therapy with Alice Lee and Ryan Putnam, and the tenets of humanizing the design process with Johny Vino, among many others.
Our event also featured live screen printing, where attendees printed their own souvenir shirts with the help of our good friends at Real Thread. Team Dribbble was also stationed nearby, with a fully stocked lineup of our official Dribbble-branded merch, and selections from our exclusive designer collaborative collection.
Hang Time NYC also set the stage for intimate, deeper-dive workshops with select members of our roster of talented speakers. Dimensional lettering artist Danielle Evans led a raucous session on utilizing food and everyday objects as tactile tools for creating expressive typography, while New York’s own Jon Contino taught students his hard-fought lessons on striking off on his own in The Condensed Guide to Starting a Creative Business On Your Own Terms. In a packed room, designer Matt D. Smith provided an in-depth look at his approach to breaking down the process of creative projects from beginning to end.
Our final three sessions brought all of our attendees back together in the Hammerstein’s main auditorium. Joining Hang Time NYC from Southern California, Amy and Jen Hood of Hoodzpah Design took to the stage to unpack their unexpected creative ascent in an energetic session that included audience participation, bejeweled hats, and—yes—impromptu karaoke.
Next, we welcomed native New Yorker Jon Contino to the main stage to hear his talk titled UGLY. Jon sang the praises of imperfection, and why it’s imperative to find the beauty in all things rough-around-the-edges—especially in a world that often demands pixel perfection. Contino posited that ugly aesthetics might just be one of the most unique, honest, and important forms of beauty around, and shared how it explicitly fostered his growth as a creative practitioner.
Closing out Hang Time NYC, storied design iconoclast David Carson delighted a standing-room-only crowd with his keynote—“Never Snap to Guides.” Amidst sharing the firsthand stories behind the expansive breadth of his work from the past three decades, Carson empowered attendees to cultivate and trust their own eye, imploring them to eschew defaults and expected solutions.
While our main programming came to a rousing conclusion, the fun was certainly not over. Our official Hang Time after party kicked off immediately, right in the Hammerstein Ballroom, giving attendees the chance to talk shop with one another and mingle with our incredible lineup of speakers.
In addition to food and drink sponsored generously by our friends at Facebook, our party also hosted a bustling vendor village, where purveyors of design goods—including Oxford Pennant, Advencher Supply Co, and Super Team Deluxe—set up shop alongside our speakers who sold their wares to an excited crowd.
Hang Time NYC would not be possible without the generous support of our MVP sponsors, Invision and Metalab, our All-star sponsor, Overflow, and our Panel sponsors, Upwork and Bonsai. Additionally, we’d like to thank our friends at Real Thread, Topodesigns, Big Cartel, Domain.me, Skillshare, StickerMule, BentoBox, Hoefler & Co., Fiverr, And.co, Sketch, and Underbelly for their support.