We couldn't be happier to welcome everyone in this beautiful city we call home. With 150 in attendance, we had a full house! But that can't be a surprise if you see which 4 speakers we invited.

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For those who couldn’t make it this time, we’ll be sharing a few insights & take-aways:

Speaker #1: Sofie Buyse & Jorn Vanysacker - Henchman

Sofie and Jorn shared an enlightening and honest look behind the scenes of product development start-up Henchman. Sofie is a product manager & UX strategist at Henchman, while Jorn is one of the co-founders. Henchman has a very specific product focus: a Word add-in for lawyers to make contract drafting easier.

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Henchman was founded only 2 years ago, has 25 employees and they just got a new round of funding worth 3 million. So what’s the story behind their success and what challenges did they encounter?

Jorn & Sofie explained their biggest take-aways from this period. First, focus on the core of your product, don’t put too many features in from the start. Second, talk to users to find the pains and understand their view. Iterating and constant feedback loops are super important when building and rebuilding your product. Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself. And lastly, communication is key.

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Speaker #2: Liza Enebeis - Studio Dumbar

Studio Dumbar is an international branding agency specialising in visual identity and motion design. All brands have a personality and motion brings that personality to life. With brands constantly changing they are now moving more and more to the digital realm, which means being static is not an option. The identity has to work on every device and medium in this constantly changing media environment. Our second speaker, Liza Enebeis, is creative director at Studio Dumbar and she took us along in the world of Identities in Motion.

Liza explained how you can experiment with different styles, speeds, visualisations, materials and limitations of your devices to explore what’s possible for your project. She also talked about how to choose tools and integrate behaviour in your motion design.

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Lastly she highlighted a few projects Studio Dunbar worked on, including some interesting names like Adidas, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Spotify Music + Talk and the Design in Motion Festival. For Amsterdam Sinfonietta they created motion patterns for music pieces, matching the feelings of the music. For football club Club Brugge they created a motion identity based on behaviour: defence and attack.

And of course she proudly shared about DEMO (Design in Motion Festival), the world's largest motion festival, created by Studio Dumbar. They took over 80 screens and 4 video walls in Amsterdam Central Station to show work from designers across the world.

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Speaker #3: Luis Ouriach - Figma

Why you don’t need a design system… yet - is the intriguing title Luis Ouriach sent us for his talk on stage. Luis is a Design Advocate at Figma (we don’t think Figma needs an introduction, right? We wrote a thing or two about them already) and shared his knowledge with us about design systems.

"A design system is a description of everything involved in the design and build of your digital products, from pixels through to copywriting and all the way up to code."
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Design systems are a big hype right now in the product design world and you might feel like you absolutely need one right now. That’s how good design systems are at marketing themselves. But building and maintaining one is actually quite hard, just agreeing on naming is already a nightmare. So if you decide to use a design system, it shouldn't take away from the user experience - ever! Luis gave some tips on how to decide if you need a design system (or not yet).

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Luis’ last important takeaway is that a design system can’t act like a bandaid for larger cultural problems in your design team. Depending on how flexible your design team is and how integrated with the dev team, you should aim for the most efficient system that works for you. So that might be a design system, but it can also be something else.

Thanks

And with that there came an end to a very busy, successful and pleasant evening. We hope you liked it as much as we did, and if you had to miss it: we love to see you at one of our future events!

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