Picks of the month: the best design events to catch in June

As the weather gets warmer and lockdown continues, it’s another month of digital events for the design community, from virtual V&A tours to pub sign crawls.

Online class: Alexa, Siri and Google: Let’s Have a Conversation

At Design Week, we’ve covered the increasingly relevant and omnipresent force of voice-assistants, from their unconscious bias to the role of smart homes during the coronavirus. But to many, the voices of Alexa, Siri and Google Home remain a mystery. General Assembly is hosting an online class, via Zoom, which aims to demystify some of these aspects and explore how voice assistants will change UX and UI. The Voice Course’s co-founder and “thought-leader in conversational AI”, Sina Kahen, will speak to experts in the field during the session. “Learning to design and develop experiences for signature platforms will be a critical skill for next-generation application developers,” General Assembly says.

When? Monday 29 June, 1pm-2pm. Attendance is free.

For more information, visit the website.

Podcast: In Your Shoes, with Mauro Porcini

In Your Shoes is a new design-based podcast, featuring interviews with some of the “world’s most innovative minds”. Host Mauro Porcini, PepsiCo’s chief design officer, will speak to high-profile names from the creative world – such as designers Stefan Sagmeister and Debbie Millman – about the “vision, values and experiences that drive their creative journey”. The first episode of the series was an interview with senior curator at MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design Paola Antonelli who discussed the importance of the sticky note.

When? The first episode is live now on the podcasting platforms. More episodes will be released each week.

Event: Pub sign crawl, from Type Tasting

If you’ve been itching for a trip to the pub, this might be the next best thing in June. Type design expert Sarah Hyndman will be leading a virtual tour of pub signs and revealing the messages that are hidden between the letter. Before the event, attendees will be sent a menu which has a drink suggestion for each round. There’s a benefit for gathering a group of friends for this one too: a 30% discount for groups or three or more.

When? Saturday 20 June, 7:30pm-9:30pm. Tickets start from £5.

For more information, visit the website.

Watch: Culture in Quarantine, from BBC Arts and Arts Council England

BBC Arts and Arts Council England announced 25 commissions as part of its continuing Culture in Quarantine schedule. The commissions “represent a mix of culture made by artists based in England” and aim to bring culture to UK homes despite the closing of most arts venues. The diverse programme will unravel over the coming period, but there are some design-related highlights already available. Among the ‘Home Masterclasses’ is a contribution from Es Devlin who has adapted to a domestic setting and shows what can be done, using just scissors and paper. There are also behind-the-scenes looks at museums, such as a curated tour of the British Museum and a personal virtual tour of Young Rembrandt at the Ashmolean museum in Oxford.

For more information, visit the website.

Virtual tour: Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk, at the V&A

Although June’s blockbuster Alice in Wonderland exhibition (Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser) has been postponed, the V&A has made its Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk exhibition available online. The series, available in five parts, was filmed just as the London museum closed its doors for the coronavirus pandemic. Its curator, Anna Jackson, guides viewers through the exhibition spaces, creating a “personal insight into the making of the show”. “The kimono is often perceived as traditional, timeless and unchanging, but this exhibition counters this conception, presenting the garment as a dynamic and constantly evolving icon of fashion,” the museum says of fashion design exhibition.

For more episodes, visit the V&A’s YouTube channel.

Other things to catch:


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Exhibition: Typographic Singularity 2020, from the RCA

The RCA has made its annual Typographic Singularity exhibition – an exploration of typefaces, interactive video and digital work – online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform is live and open to audience participation; visitors can interact with the work by leaving comments. “We welcome you to join us online and explore new typographic landscapes,” the college says.

For more information on the exhibition, visit the website.

Online novel: Boook.land from Harry Boyd and Twomuch Studio

Boook.land, Falmouth Edition is a digital project which brings together students, staff of the university and industry professionals to write and illustrate a novel online. It explores the overlap of writing and design, asking the question: “Can a novel be produced by hundreds of authors and illustrators on the same story?” The digital platform allows people to take part anywhere, and continue the story where it was left off. It’s a collaboration between graphic designer Harry Boyd, Twomuch Studio and Falmouth University – using typefaces from Good Type Foundry and Leah Maldonado.

For more information and to participate, visit the website.

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