When I arrived in Denver in 2016, I was looking for fellowship in the Design community. I had just came from the West Coast, where the design community is thriving and there are activities every night in the community. I couldn't find a centralized active Design community in Denver. I joined and presented with Denver UX and then take over the reign to grew the group to what it is today. We now have almost 3 thousands registered members, we host panels / workshops quarterly with speakers that lead the local design industry. We come together for a monthly Happy Hour. I believe it's important for every professionals to connect, share and learn with their peers. It's the only way to grow as individual as well as elevate our profession. I didn't do it alone, I work with my co-organizer Seth and I also reach out to other members of the community to help connect, spread the words, and galvanize our design community to make our present known to the world. This is an experiment in itself of how to lead and build with authenticity and passion. In the world of non-profit you can only motivate people by appealing to their intrinsic values because there's no monetary incentives nor fear of losing one's position, and I find that's the best way to lead.
Building the Community
Denver Designers is a collective of designers coming together to forge a community of design professionals to learn, grow, and share knowledge. We strive to push ourselves and our peers to uphold best design principles and practices. We want to showcase our unique work and culture that highlights our distinctness of being in the Mountain region designer. By creating an inclusive, respectful, collaborative community with strong leaders and practitioner to share knowledge with each other and mentor the next generation of designers. Come meet our community at a monthly happy hour hosted at a unique spot in town or come join us for a panel/workshop hosted at a different studio to highlight different companies in town.
My vision was to build a community where we can come together and support each other no matter where we are in our career. The vision is to have an inclusive group of design professional from all stages and walks of life. The group exist to allow professionals to connect and share information about work and or the industry. It's a hub for information as well as fellowship.
I want to work with other professionals to build a community for all of us, from Sr. to Juniors to come and have voice. Our team is consisted of myself, Seth and Tyler, together we want to expand and be as inclusive as possible to push the growth of the Denver Metro area's design profession.
As with anything, it started small.To make this larger community vision happen, I started with the model that was already in place. The Happy Hour and the talks. I expanded the HH by listening to the community and finding cool locations that designer like to hang out at or would like to hang out at. We now have rotating breweries in the Art District to host our HH with crafted creation to delight our designers and patios that are inclusive to even our furry friends. I also worked with my co-organizer Seth, and continue to leverage the help of the community to make these events happen.
I understand that at the end of the work day it's hard to get motivated to come out for another lecture. I thought about what's needed in the design community and what skill-gaps designers are looking to fill. I then find speakers and organized larger events that included topics that our community is interested in. That means manny nights and weekend of calling venues for our HH. Organizing contents and contacting speakers for our workshops and panels. The result is that we have establish our group as a group that would host quality events. It helps for people to decide which event to go to and that if they do go to one of Denver UX event, it would be worth their time. The group ends up attracting people from all range of career, from Director level to people still in school.
What's Next for Denver UX?
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… ”
~ Theodore Roosevelt
Having built a student publishing group in college and took a leadership position at Girls in Tech while living in LA, I have seen that grass root community groups can grow to be powerful national and international present. I want to take our design community to a large scale. I imagine us taking the space of something similar to Designer Fund in SF or be the Motionographer for UX/ product design of Colorado.
Denver UX is growing its leadership team and is expanding to collaborate with other groups in the area to create even more robust programing. You can join and be a part of the design community through the fun activities here.