We wanted to know how Big Design got started, so we asked the man that started it all. Meet Brian Sullivan, Big Design Conference Co-Founder…
About 12 years ago, I challenged a group of local design leaders to put on a first-rate conference in Dallas. I explained that it made sense because we had so many connections to top talent, recruiting agencies, big brands, hiring managers, and great speakers. We started planning the next day.
Big Design was designed to be a low-cost, high-value conference experience. Our organizers were tired of expensive conferences, where attendees wait in line and are turned back at the door. We wanted our attendees to hear from different disciplines — development, user research, design, usability, filmmaking, and product management.
We believe the currency comes from the conversations: new voices, fresh perspectives, different disciplines, case studies, practical tips, and inspirational talks. We decided to put on the conference we wanted to go to. We end up working at the conference, but our attendees tell us they love it!
Every Big Design has had international attendees. People want to speak here. One year, we had a power hour of speakers from Disney, Netflix, Amazon, Walmart, Pixar, Adobe, Sabre, AT&T, USAA, and Facebook. Our values center on learning, sharing, and growing. We shine a spotlight on the Dallas design community—our talent, our companies, our expertise, our city. The conference has grown every year. We are expecting over 1,200 people this year; we started with about 500.
We have killer keynote speakers. We have had two Academy Award-winning artists. Phil Tippet, who created the Death Star and Millennium Falcon for Star Wars, and the dinosaurs for Jurassic World, was a recent keynote speaker. Other keynotes were leaders from Amazon, Facebook, Sabre, Spotify, Netflix, and Capital One.
In our 11th year, the conference has moved to Gilley’s Dallas to enhance the Big Design experience. We will have over 80 speakers and 40 booths and are hosting “An Evening with Stephan Martiniere” on Sept. 21. Martiniere is the top concept artist in Hollywood. His movies include “Star Wars,” “Avengers,” “Ready Player One,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Big Design Conference was the best-kept secret (and dare) in Dallas. Until now.