SD Design Trek

On Feb 28 - March 2, join us for a 3-day tour and showcase of companies across San Diego county aimed at students and early-career UX professionals. On Days 1 and 2, Design Trekkies will step inside eight different design spaces across North and Central San Diego. Learn about projects and design roles at each company and engage with designers in the field. On Day 3, mingle with 11 startups, agencies, and UX organizations over food and drinks, plus hear five different talks on UX hot topics--all under a single roof downtown.

What to expect

Explore design studios

Network with designers

Engage in UX hot topics

Event Schedules

Join us at Cutwater Spirits to pick up your official Design Trekkie swag bag and badge. Your badge is your entry to all the sessions you’ve reserved, so make sure to wear it to each stop! Can’t make it? See the FAQ.

Location: 9750 Distribution Ave, San Diego, CA 92121

Viasat, a global communications company, is on a mission to connect the world. Our technologies deliver high-quality, affordable, fast connections—on land, air & sea—shaping how consumers, businesses, governments and militaries communicate, globally.

Location: 2501 Gateway Rd, Carlsbad, CA 92011

Teradata transforms how businesses work and how people live through the power of data. Learn how we pivoted to prioritize humans over bytes by focusing on user experience, and how we overcame the challenges of transforming the enterprise.

Location: 17095 Via Del Campo, San Diego, CA 92127

HP creates technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere — every person, every organization, and every community around the globe. With our technology, you’ll reinvent your world.

Location: 16399 W Bernardo Dr, San Diego, CA 92127

Over 30 years of Qualcomm’s mobile inventions have led to the Invention Age. The foundational technology and intelligence we put into 3G and 4G is bringing us 5G, connected cars, and a true Internet of Things. Our history of invention is kick-starting a new age of possibility.

Location: 5775 Morehouse Dr, San Diego, CA 92121

ASH improves lives by making healthy solutions more accessible. With the stability of a 30-year-old network and the innovative feel of a startup, our 20-person design team works on products that impact people directly.

Location: 10221 Wateridge Circle, San Diego, CA 92121

ServiceNow makes work, work better for people. Our cloud-based platform and solutions deliver digital experiences that help people do their best work.

Location: 4810 Eastgate Mall, San Diego, CA 92121

At Illumina, our goal is to apply innovative technologies to the analysis of genetic variation and function, making studies possible that were not even imaginable just a few years ago. Learn about how Illumina's growing HF/UX and Digital Experience teams employ a user-centered design process to make impactful enhancements to the design of both our digital and physical products.

Location: 4810 Eastgate Mall, San Diego, CA 92121 (NOTE: This session will NOT be held at Illumina, but at ServiceNow's campus.)

Mitchell’s technology and services for the Property & Casualty Claims Industry help restore peoples lives after they experience a challenging event. Our designers strive to create good experiences which provide expert guidance during trying times.

Location: 6220 Greenwich Dr, San Diego, CA 92122

This final day will be hosted by Intuit at the NewSchool of Architecture & Design. Round out your trek experience by learning about startups, agencies, and organizations within our community.

Location: NewSchool of Architecture & Design: 747 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
1:25pm - 1:35pm
The Pros/Cons of Agency vs. Enterprise
Ben King, Managing Partner, Konrad+King
Ben is the Managing Partner of Konrad+King, a human-centered design studio that focuses on enterprise, healthcare, mobility and smart cities. He has over 20 years experience designing products by coupling a deep understanding of digital systems with a keen insight in human behavior. Ben joined Konrad+King in 2015 after nearly a decade embedded in Qualcomm Research where he researched and designed experiences for augmented reality, human-robot Interaction, and connected systems. He previously worked at Kyocera Wireless, HP, and a number of startups.

1:35pm - 2:00pm
Panel: Designing Your Career - Advice for Choosing the Best Work Environment
Moderator: Brent Summers, Director of Engineering, Blink UX
Brent is Director of Engineering at Blink UX. In this role, he helps engineers do their best work by collaborating with them to identify priorities, define strategies, and anticipate obstacles. Before Blink, Brent spent seven years working for NASCAR, five years at two local agencies, and had a stint at two growth-stage SaaS startups.

Danielle Tobey, Product Designer, Aira (Startup Perspective)
Danielle is a '16 UCSD alum who's currently working at Aira. As a product designer working at a fast-paced startup, she enjoys solving complex interaction problems, conducting user research, and the product management aspects of her work. In the future she would like to continue to work for or start companies that contribute to social impact.

Michelle Peck, VP of Experience, FreshForm (Agency Perspective)
As VP of Experience at FreshForm, an experience design and innovation agency, Michelle brings a human-centered approach to the design process backed by over 15 years of agency experience. Her strategic vision and empathy for the user, guides meaningful connected experiences that make a lasting impression.

Kristin Spanton, Design Program Manager, Intuit (Corporate Perspective)
After 10 years in Visual and Product Design roles, designing everything from van wraps to apps to rich mobile media campaigns at both start-up ventures and agencies alike, Kristin has transitioned to a corporate gig at Intuit and embarked on a new industry skill set: Design Program Management. Now, her primary passion is providing creative oxygen to the design team by crafting programs to onboard designers for success, strategize innovative new creative approaches through cross-team collaboration, and provide designers everything they need to be inspired to do the best, most exciting work of their lives.
Location: NewSchool of Architecture & Design: 747 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Aira is a service that connects blind and low-vision people to highly trained, remotely-located agents. Through a smartphone app, or through an optional pair of Horizon Smart Glasses, Aira delivers instant access to visual information at the touch of a button – enhancing everyday efficiency, engagement, and independence.

Blink is a UX research and design firm that works with great companies to create meaningful digital products, brands, and experiences. Our downtown San Diego studio is walking distance from PETCO park and has two state-of-the-art usability labs.

Classy is a social enterprise that creates world-class online fundraising software for nonprofits, modernizing the giving experience to accelerate social impact around the world.

Design Forward Alliance
Design Forward Alliance ignites conversation and action around how human-centered design (HCD) can improve the way we live, work and play, and provide businesses, educators and government with the tools to affect real and lasting change.

Designing Women
Founded in 2014, Designing Women champions women UX professionals with networking events, design labs and speaking opportunities. We work with companies to explore the benefits of inclusion in innovation.

FreshForm helps organizations thrive by orchestrating meaningful employee and customer experiences. Since 2001, FreshForm has been creating personal connections and value for a wide array of innovative Fortune 500s, world-renowned universities, and growth-oriented businesses.

Innovations City
Innovations City is an online platform helping early stage entrepreneurs build successful startups through preliminary market research. We're focused on diversifying the innovative landscape and providing opportunities for all entrepreneurs to make their visions and dreams a reality.

Intuit is a Fortune 100 Best Company to Work for 17 straight years. With a mission to power prosperity around the world, products like TurboTax, QuickBooks, and Mint were born through customer-driven innovation and our Design for Delight framework.

Konrad+King is a human-centered product strategy and design firm that works with the world’s most innovative organizations, helping them to define, design, and bring to market products and services that fit comfortably into people’s lives.

SCALE San Diego sits at the hub of private industry, public organizations, academia, and the City of San Diego. Our mission is to bridge the gap between urban challenges and technology by relying on the best talent and technology tools.

San Diego Experience Design (SDXD) is a professional networking and education organization serving UX research and design practitioners. We meet the third Wednesday of each month to educate, inspire, and build community.

UX Speakeasy
Formed in 2011, UX Speakeasy is the largest UX organization in San Diego, and is the local chapter of IxDA. Our goal is to connect our community, and elevate the role and impact of experience design in San Diego.

Location: NewSchool of Architecture & Design: 747 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
3:00pm - 3:10pm
Stand for Something: Creating a values-driven design process
Liz Wilson, Product Designer, Classy
Liz is a product designer at Classy and an advocate for using design to create social impact. In her work, she is focused on connecting with non-profits and their supporters in order to craft experiences that are efficient, delightful, and ultimately result in moments of shared human connection. She has previous experience designing for non-profits and continuously seeks out ways to use design as a force for good.

3:10pm - 3:20pm
How to Get Connected Within Different Ecosystems
Vilavanh Sanginthirath, Founder, Innovations City
Vilavanh is the Founder & CEO of Innovations City, a Board Member and Advisor to various organizations, community leader and advocate for women and minority Entrepreneurs. Growing up in an underserved community taught Vilavanh how to be resourceful and she learned ways to navigate different ecosystems and the power of building a strong network and connections. Her work has contributed to new policies and procedures, sparked conversations within the public and private sectors and a book of business that has generated over $10MM.

3:20pm - 3:30pm
SCALE / UX Speakeasy / SDXD / Design Forward Alliance

3:30pm - 3:40pm
What Does it Mean to be the World Design Capital?
Elena Pacenti, Dean, School of Design, NewSchool of Architecture & Design and Board Member, Design Forward Alliance
Location: NewSchool of Architecture & Design: 747 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101

Location: NewSchool of Architecture & Design: 747 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101

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Location: Hall 1 , Building A, Golden Street, Southafrica

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Location: Hall 1 , Building A, Golden Street, Southafrica

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Location: Hall 1 , Building A, Golden Street, Southafrica

San Diego, CA

Throughout San Diego County

Feb 28 - Mar 2, 2019

Multi-venue Event

19 Companies & Organizations

Get to Know Your Design Community

Awesome Swag

Who Doesn’t Love Design Swag?


SD Design Trek

Who should attend?
Students interested in User Experience and professionals early in their design careers are encouraged to attend. We welcome both new grads as well as anyone transitioning into a UX career.
As you select your event ticket, you will also need to select a free ticket for each session you’re interested in attending. This will serve as your reservation. You will not be able to reserve multiple spots for friends. Please feel free to forward the event link to any friends for them to purchase and reserve tickets on their own.
As the event nears, the event coordinators may open a waitlist for companies that can accommodate additional seats.
Email us at within 7 days of the event so we can free up your spot for someone else.
Will transportation be provided?
Transportation will not be provided. This year, companies are geographically grouped together by day. North County companies will be on Day 1, Central companies on Day 2, and primarily startups, agencies, and organizations will be on Day 3 at a single downtown venue.
You’ll be able to pick these up at the first session you reserved. A friend may pick up your badge with ID.
Yes, some companies will provide refreshments.
Feel free to bring your resume, business cards, and/or portfolio. Bring your SD Design Trek tote to carry any swag companies provide.


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