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Design Week Fort Wayne Highlights Top Talent

April 17th, 2018

Downtown Fort Wayne New Location for Design-Centric Event

Design Week Fort Wayne will return in 2018 on May 7-11 at the Arts United Center, 303 E. Main St., Fort Wayne. The goal is the same as years before: “Build, Connect, and Inspire designers throughout the Midwest.” This happens in different ways each year, and with a varied intensity due to the speakers and alignment of our programming and community goals.

This year, we believe our focus bringing back Indiana native talent will help elevate the “inspiration factor”, making it clear that we are a region that produces top talent, and that our citizens need only to tackle audacious solutions for the worlds design challenges which are all around them.  Some of these Indiana natives include three of our keynote speakers, Zach Klein, Douglas Hoerr and Abbott Miller.

Klein, a Fort Wayne native, is the co-founder of Vimeo and Founder Collective as well as the founder of His talent speaks for itself, and his ability to understand and take advantage of emerging trends has made his businesses successful. 

Hoerr, a native of Milford, Ind., has played a large part in constructing the visual identity of Chicago’s streetscape, university campuses throughout the nation, and he has projects internationally. 

Miller is a native of Northwest Indiana, and is a principal of Pentagram, the largest independent design studio on earth. Miller works with some of the largest brands in existence. 

Why focus on these design innovators? We have so many lessons to learn from these talented ex-pats. 

Given the climate of international economic competition and a constantly shifting environment of disrupted industries, fluctuating markets and labor pools, design thinking is proving to be a valuable tool used by our current achievers. 

A recent McKinsey Global Institute report included the Design Value Index (DVI) which studies design led businesses, and how they fair economically. From 2004-2014, the DVI outperformed the S&P 500 by 219 percent and has produced the strongest and most consumer-trusted brands. 

What are we doing as a region to instill design thinking in the entrepreneurs we cultivate, the businesses we attract and grow, and the core industries which are the employment lifeblood of our region?  How can we use design thinking as a tool to make all of these groups more competitive, continue to attract and produce top talent?

These are the questions we will discuss at Design Week Fort Wayne. We have a week of deep thought and discussion to tackle these pointed questions. 

As the founder of Wunderkammer and Design Week Fort Wayne, I hope to see the community turn out and be a part of these discussions, and assist in deeply networking the sub-community of design enthusiasts together to further specific goals. 

So, if you find yourself interested in what is happening, and will happen in the world of design we’d love to see you May 7-11! 

For more information visit

- By Dan Swartz, founder of Wunderkammer and Design Week Fort Wayne

Categories & Tags Quality of Life