Digital Design Days 2020: A Recap of the Best Talks

Scopri le news emerse in uno dei più grandi eventi sul design in live streaming

This post is also available in: Italiano

“For years, Digital Design Days have brought together thousands of professionals, the most brilliant creative minds in the sector worldwide united by the common interest: digital design.”

Filippo Spiezia – Founder

As some of you may know, an impromptu virtual edition of Digital Design Days was held from 6th – 8th of May due to unique social distancing period we are in.

This was an unexpected and wonderful opportunity that we, at Zooppa, couldn’t miss! The event was extremely interesting, and some talks inspired us so much that we decided to summarize and comment on them here for those who missed the opportunity to join the virtual live talks.

How did the event unfold?

“In 36 hours of live streaming, split over 3 days, we were able to attend talks of the most brilliant minds in the sector and from exemplary companies because they were among the most innovative to inspire and learn from. In this crucial historical moment, it is necessary to ask ourselves what the future of design will be.”

Filippo Spiezia founder of Digital Design Days (

During the live stream, questions emerged that were important and would be relevant to millions of people as lockdown eases and we adjust to the new post-Covid-19 period.

What will clients ask of the creative industries? How will our narratives change? What are the new scenarios? With this premise, the various talks followed. 

Our selection: 

  • Matias Corea, founder of Behance, NYC
  • Luca Mascaro, Founder & Head of Design at Sketchin, Milano
  • J-F Chainé & F. Marchand, Co-Founders of Locomotive digital studio, Montreal

Matias Corea, Behance

Matias’ talk was very personal and touching; a speech of personal growth to inspire new generations. He spent his childhood Barcelona then moved to New York. He spoke about a variety of things from his passions for typography and artifacts to the need and determination to create a service for sharing your projects at just 26 years old.

Matias is one of the co-founders of Behance, a well-known platform for designers and graphic designers for publishing and sharing their portfolios.

The timeline of Behance’s story is metaphorically described as raising a child. As in: “raising a child is not like making a child”.

In 2005, the idea of ​​the platform was proposed to their business manager. The product and brand was developed the following year and in 2007, it was officially live. From that moment, Behance began to grow and took 6 years to reach the first noteworthy milestone of 1 million subscribers globally and subsequent acquisition by Adobe.

In 2015, Matias left Behance to continue his life towards new horizons. To date, the company has 20 million portfolios and just as many visitors.

Here are his tips to grow your own start-up:

  • Empathy, self-criticism and tenacity are the fundamental elements to allow a start-up to grow. The basis for carrying it forward is not to stop believing in that project.
  • The naming of your startup is important: it must sound good, be simple, evoke something and not be empty or funny.
  • The climb to success occurs slowly especially if you are talking about a service that has the goal of having a global impact. You will probably make mistakes but you will understand how to improve and change your strategy. 
  • Change constantly: the more changes and improvement you make along the way, the higher chance you will have to win the race.

The conclusion and the main tip that Matias emphasized on, is that it is ok to change often. We shouldn’t rely on who we are today to make progress.

After suddenly losing his sister at 36, he learned that you must always live with a new goal to achieve and keep reinventing yourself. This tragic event gave Matias the push to fulfill one of his biggest dreams – to go on a long trip by motorbike. From the trip, he published a photo book “Two Wheels South” which talks about introspection, exploration, and friendship.

Luca Mascaro, Founder & Head of Design of Sketchin

Sketchin is one of the most influential strategic design studios in Italy in the UX-UI field.

In his talk, Luca analyzes the relationship between new technologies and good design in a period in which social rules are changing.

The designers always stand halfway between technology and humans, trying to make the relationship between the two more comprehendible. In this sense, the designer can be considered a technology interpreter. If physical objects were once interpreted in design; today the challenge is to be able to interpret digital services.

The challenge at this point is: the ability to understand if I am doing my job well. Technology is constantly changing and you can no longer completely rely on the manifesto of the Rules of Good Product Design by Dieter Raims (the well-known Braun product designer.)

The new world of interfaces violates Raims’ principles of good design which states that design should not be intrusive in our everyday life and that appearance should indicate to us the function for which it was designed.

Today, since the designer has to deal with proactive services that rely on software that communicates with us and uses artificial intelligence for both graphic and vocal interfaces—some of these principles need to be reformulated.

Some principles of Raims’ good design could be reformulated as follows:

4.Good design makes a product understandable

That is, it must always be clear what kind of responses the app or service we are using will give us.

5. Good design is unobtrusive –> Good design should be proactive, respecting the needs of those who use it.

Using a GPS is an example; we don’t always have to follow its suggestions.

In conclusion, Mascaro explains that the final role of design is to instill trust in technology, in companies and in services to make them desirable. In the era of the internet, man can no longer rely totally on the historical principles of good design. We are no longer interpreters between men and objects but between men, artificial intelligence, and interfaces that in turn, communicate with each other. 


As a small Montreal agency, Locomotive has already won many awards on Awwwards. Their digital projects stand out for their idea and execution down to the smallest detail.

During the talk, the founders explain how important it is to create the importance of meaningful relationships as a strategy to maintain and improve their business.

  • Find the compromise that fits you best
  • Do more with less
  • The future of digital

1. Find the compromise that fits best

  • The compromise must not only be economic but also for stylistic and human resources.
  • Not only does the client want to benefit from the project we are about to do but ourselves too. It is necessary to always find a compromise that is not detrimental to us. After understanding the vision of the project, we ask ourselves if it is in line with our style and if we can try something that we have never tried to do before.
  • Learn to say ‘no’ if no compromise is found.

2. Do more with less

  • Communicate better. Be direct and get into the habit of face to face over written communication.
  • Collaborate better: Staying humble and asking questions helps you to understand the client’s expectations and prevent problems.
  • Cultivate healthy and continuous relationships: Know how to appreciate the work of employees and share knowledge.
  • Know the client – often using intuition.
  • Don’t accept customers you don’t connect with
  • Keep colleagues informed and involved
  • Have an identifying style of design but be open to facing new challenges
  • “Give and take” creates projects that are useful for others.
    • The founders of Locomotive shared 2 open source projects that they developed internally. Locomotive Scroll is a library for web designers and Editorial New to help designers find different fonts.

3. The future of digital

How to maintain an ongoing relationship with clients?

  • There are 2 roads and both are possible. The first is to create extraordinary projects internally in order to continuously attract new clients. The second is to be non-reckless romantics and maintain an ongoing friendly relationship with clients who already proposed projects.
  • Stay relevant and engaging: Propose new challenges to clients, inform them about new trends or what could be achieved together.
  • Understand how our human touch positively enriches what can be achieved in an automated way.

We really hope that this article has been useful to you to collect interesting elements about the design and the period we are living in.

Which speaker inspired you the most? Have you seen other interesting ones? Comment below!

If the event intrigued you, you can listen to the other talks by signing up on to access the content.

This is only the first of some content dedicated to design so keep following us and let’s stay connected! For more info in the graphic field go to the dedicated section of the Zooppa Blog!

Article written by:
Francesca Casadio
Graphic Designer @Zooppa

Translated by
Bee Aneno @Zooppa

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