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10 Takeaways from the Design Forward Summit 2017

Last week, I was able to attend the second annual Design Forward Summit at Liberty Station.

The event kicked off on Wednesday night at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier with a sunset, light snacks, drinks, and the first of many inspiring speakers. Bright and early Thursday morning I arrived for the breakfast mixer in the courtyard of Liberty Station to live music and a brightly decorated space. Umbrella topped tables had Design Forward branded swag, thermal water bottles up for grabs, and oversized artist lookbooks for browsing. On one end of the courtyard, an artist was setting up to paint a 3D message (3D glasses provided) to be finished by the end of the day.

The conference was moderated by Bennett Peji, the senior director of marketing and community affairs at Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, and focused on the importance of human-centered design in all industries and at all levels. The majority of talks took place on the main stage in a larger auditorium with two smaller, more intimate breakout sessions in the morning and the afternoon. Among the speakers were several leaders and innovators in our design community including the summit founder Don Norman, IMB’s Head of Design Phil Gilbert, and USAA’s Chief Design Officer Mariah Garrett, to name only a few.

Here are my takeaways:

1. “The role of the designer is to trigger the right response.”

Whether it is to persuade a purchase, encourage an action, or just inform, the design is responsible for convincing the user to do what you want them to do.

2. It is all about the experience.

Design is about thinking about the consumer’s experience. Opening the packaging of a brand new iPhone. Browsing the newsstands for the perfect magazine cover and then diving in. These experiences are driven by design.

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3. Designers work best in a team.

Designers need collaboration to create their best work. Everyone has their unique strengths, and collaborating can encourage growth and innovation.

4. Stretch daily.

You’ve heard the clichés—get out of your comfort zone, think outside of the box, do something new everyday. It works!

5. Do your research!

Do not act now and ask for permission later. Research your user before you design for them, it saves time and money. You don’t want to get stuck needing to start over when you could have done it right the first time.

6. Good design is self-explanatory.

No explanation needed.

7. Design can change lives.

An incredible group of DIY designers in the Type 1 diabetic community are taking their healthcare into their own hands by developing platforms, apps, and even reverse-engineering existing products to help live healthier lives. Find out more about their movement.

8. Understand your business.

By understanding the goals and processes—financial, metric, or otherwise—of your business or your client’s business, the more impact you will be able to have. The company will value you and your designs more.

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9. Always say yes.

Always say yes to new opportunities, you never know where or what they can lead you to.

10. Make your own opportunities.

If opportunities don’t come to you, make them! Create and initiate projects that you are passionate about, you’ll be surprised by the encouragment and support you’ll receive.

The magazine comes to life at San Diego Magazine events

San Diego Magazine events bring our stories to life. Our editors and critcs curate content that we transform into tangible (and tasty) experiences. Attendees can see, touch, and taste the featured businesses and restaurants. Each event is a celebration and opportunity to experience (not just tell) what we love about San Diego.

Our events offer the highest quality cuisine, art, entertainment, and more, creating an enjoyable sensory overload. Sip on a mimosa as you arrive at Brunch Bash or interact with art displays at Best of San Diego. Each event is fine-tuned to the last detail.

San Diego Magazine events are a hub of opportunity for guests and sponsors. Sponsors can showcase new or loved products and get instant feedback. Our affluent audience is exposed to businesses and products they may not have tried otherwise. Both get a chance to meet in a relaxed, open environment and build a personal relationship.

Our talented events team says the future holds only bigger and better San Diego Magazine events. Any opportunity to turn a feature into a celebration won’t be overlooked. Check out 2018 event lineup and learn about becoming a sponsor here. We hope to see you soon!

The Happy Half Hour podcast wins a FOLIO: award

FOLIO:’s Eddie and Ozzie Awards have been the longstanding pillar in recognizing excellence in magazine editorial and design. And as digital media has become an integral part of all magazine brands, they’ve expanded the categories to include new mediums like podcasts. This year, San Diego Magazine’s Happy Half Hour podcast was selected as the winner for Best Consumer City & Regional Podcast, a category that included finalists from Red Bull Media, D Magazine, Scholastic, Harvard Business Review, and Inc. Magazine.

So what is the Happy Half Hour, and why are we doing podcasts? It started with an idea and about $900. Erin Chambers Smith started tossing around the podcast idea in the office, as they were reemerging in the media world. And San Diego Magazine is the kind of place where if you have an idea (that doesn’t require huge investment), can back it up with research or data, and can get a few other staffers excited about it, you can try it. So Erin and Digital Media Director David Martin convinced our publisher to buy four microphones and some stands. David, who’s also in a band, used his own sound mixer and set it all up on our conference room table. Our Food Critic Troy Johnson agreed to join as co-host and try it out. Arsalun Tafazoli was the first guest. “I texted him like the day before we were going to do it and just kind of begged that he stop by the office for a chat,” remembers Erin. “We are a very established brand, but the media landscape today requires us to be entrepreneurial, too,” says CEO and publisher Jim Fitzpatrick. “I love when new ideas come along, because it just means there’s more we can offer the audience.”

A thousand tiny tweaks from there, including upgraded equipment and the addition of food editor Archana Ram, and we’ve published 64 episodes, and secured sponsorships including YMCA, Petco and Kaaboo Del Mar. “We have a blast doing it. It’s just fun,” says Troy. Erin agrees. “There is something to be said for having fun,” she says. “Eating out is fun. There are serious issues involved in food, but it’s also about enjoying life and enjoying where we live. The food and drink community in San Diego is neat. It’s small and earnest, but also open about its challenges,” says Erin. “Feeding San Diegans, and our visitors, is a fascinating thing. Celebrating it, or skewering it, together with friends over drinks is what we’re trying to do.” “Making this podcast is the highlight of the week, says David. “It’s so rewarding to take a hobby and bring it to life here at the magazine. We have the most fascinating guests; I leave feeling I learned something rad after every recording session.”

In today’s media industry, to remain relevant to your audience, you’ve got to meet them where they are. We know our audience prides itself on supporting the local food and beer scene, so this was a natural extension of that. What’s next for the Happy Half Hour crew? We are actively securing sponsorships for the show through 2018, and the team plans to add in more segments devoted to neighborhoods, spirits, wine and beer.

#InsideSDM: My First Week at San Diego Magazine

Hi everyone! I’m Amy Dunphy, marketing coordinator and newest employee at San Diego Magazine. For all the curious minds, here is my honest, unfiltered review of my first week as a new hire.

There are standard things that come with starting a new job, like the introductions and HR protocol. However, during my first week there were several things that were unique to SDM and its culture.

The first and most prominent was the office aesthetic. The place screams fun. New and vintage magazine covers vibrantly contrast the white and blue colored walls. Modern, beachy furniture and decorations reflect the city we promote. Office windows display beautiful views of downtown, Coronado Island, and the bay. What better way to get inspired about San Diego than by gawking at its greatness?

I’m a creative, outgoing person. That’s what drew me to the magazine in the first place. Turns out, I’m not alone. No one was too shy or too busy to introduce themselves to me at the first opportunity. I wish I had a dime for every time I heard “We are so glad to have you here!”

Employees here have a lot of tasks and deadlines on their plate. However, you’d never know just by observing. I previously envisioned the publishing atmosphere to have phones ringing constantly, people running, papers flying, tears flowing. To my surprise, everyone here is friendly, calm, and energetic. They can’t wait to give me tips and share why they love SDM.

That love apparently never dies. Several of the employees have been here for over 10 years. It speaks volumes that so many of the SDM workforce have stuck around and still overflow with passion for their jobs.

After just a week here, I can see why. San Diego Magazine is a creative space with exceptional people coming together to produce outstanding publications. Cue Natalie Cole, because I think this will be an everlasting love.

San Diego Magazine Launches World Eats

San Diego Magazine is celebrating San Diego’s diversity… through food. The November issue will feature more than 70 restaurants in our first ever Global Cuisine Guide. Following the release of the issue, the featured restaurants will be part of World Eats, where they’ll serve samples of their signature dishes to 300 enthusiastic attendees.

World Eats will be hosted at MCASD downtown on November 15, 2017 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.. Communal dining tables will welcome guests as they taste bites from Officine Buona Forchetta, Panca Peruvian Cuisine, Sabor de Vida Brazilian Grill, and more. A DJ will spin in the dining area outside while live music will enhance the vibe inside the galleries where MCASD has a new exhibition on display.

San Diego’s dining scene is thriving because of the diverse people and cultures who warmly share the food and traditions of their country with us all. What better way to show our appreciation for their talent and contributions than with an event that includes them all? Join us on November 15, and united, we’ll dine!

San Diego Magazine is hired to redesign UCSD Extension’s course catalog

San Diego Magazine will rebrand UCSD Extension’s course catalog into a semi-annual publication with a more editorial look and feel beginning this fall. The first issue of the new publication will reach prospective students in late November. It will highlight the variety of certifications and courses available through UCSD Extension, which vary from brewing to foreign language to medical coding.

Instead of a traditional course catalog with listings, the new publication will spotlight the faculty, students, and graduates of UCSD Extension and how their coursework has impacted their lives. It will provide readers with a more intimate understanding of the offerings at UCSD so they can see how their career and life can be enhanced through life-long learning. Feature stories with vibrant photography, interviews with students, plus quotes, tweets, and interesting facts will come together to make an engaging publication that will make all of us want to take that course we’ve been dreaming of.

5 Reasons to Try Advertising on Podcasts

Podcast listenership is on the rise, creating opportunities for advertisers to reach consumers in an entirely new way. Here’s why you should consider putting your marketing message in a podcast.

1. The audience is in an environment where they are focused and absorbing information.

2. Hosts are trusted sources to listeners, so having them endorse your brand gives you instant credibility.

3. Podcasts encourage purchasing, creating instantaneous ROI. Two thirds of podcasts are listened to on mobile or tablet devices which means they can reach your website at any point for a conversion.

4. Podcast listening grew 23% from 2015 to 2016, landing at 67 million monthly listeners.

5. 85% of listeners say they stick around for the whole podcast which means you have time for repetition and multiple messaging.

San Diego Magazine celebrates 10 years of the Best of San Diego Party

On August 18, 2017, San Diego Magazine hosted the 10th annual Best of San Diego Party at Liberty Station to a sold-out crowd of more than 2,000 attendees. Each year, the party brings together winners from the June Best Restaurants and August Best of San Diego issues for an outdoor evening extravaganza. For the 10th anniversary, San Diego Magazine’s event team went all out, adding interactive elements, colorful décor, hidden bars, and surprise performances.

The party featured 50 of the city’s top restaurants, craft breweries, live bands, photo booths, an interactive mural, a speakeasy tiki bar, theme lounges, life-size pinatas, and much more. Guests sampled their way through the event trying unlimited bites from all of the city’s top chefs. When the sun went down, the party turned up with dancing, live bands, a DJ, and fire dancers.