SQ1CON 2018

All great work starts at the beginning: square one. Square One Conference is a design event for people who are interested in design and development. This event focuses on the importance of process, featuring talks in analog, digital, and innovative visual communication techniques through workshops and lectures. Join hundreds of students, educators, and designers ranging from all experience levels this upcoming July 13 – 14 at the Illinois Institute of Technology's Institute of Design in Chicago. 

SQ1CON 2018 will be headlined by two brothers, both Industrial designers by trade - obsessed with graphics, animation and branding: Creative Session. The rest of the all-star lineup includes Reid Schlegel, Spencer Nugent, James Connors, Nick Baker, Jeff Smith, Paul Sohi, Anne Goodman, Kelly Lin, Teddy Lu, Graham Allan, Jacob Ballard, Joey Zeledon, Alexandre Nys, Zeeshan Hakkim, Dominic Montante, Carly Hagins, and Derek Cascio. 


Passes have officially closed online. Passes will be available on site in person for the following price:

Student $125

Professional $150

On Friday, check in at the registration tables and receive your SQ1CON Pass, bring proof of purchase - and if you're a student, show us your Student ID.

SQ1CON After Party is Friday at 7:30PM - 9:30PM at the IIT Institute of Design Graduate Studios in the 6th Floor. It's free for all SQ1CON attendees with a pass, $15.00 at the door for non-attendees. 


The Illinois Institute of Technology Institute of Design was founded 80 years ago in Chicago as the New Bauhaus by László Moholy-Nagy, with a purpose of “ensuring … society has access to the maximum use of constructive abilities for its benefit,” IIT Institute of Design (ID) is the sole graduate-only professional design school in North America. Grounded in design strategy as well as in human-centered design and systems thinking, ID offers leading Master’s and PhD programs in design and design-driven innovation. By educating the next generation of designers in relevant, emerging practice, ID develops pioneering thinkers and interdisciplinary problem solvers who navigate and facilitate change across complex systems.

We approach product design by thinking about what the product will do for people, as well as the systems or networks in which it will be found; we design products through prototyping and iteration. At ID, sketching is a standard means to think through problems, generate new ideas, and enable communication. Much of ID coursework is team-based, so students often visualize their ideas not only through perspective drawings but also through diagraming, for example, the role of a product in a service experience.

Visit id.iit.edu for more information about our graduate degree programs.

SQ1CON 2018 is graciously hosted by IIT's Institute of Design, located in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago. IIT shares their location with Illinois Tech’s Chicago-Kent College of Law and Stuart School of Business. The location of the venue is 565 West Adams St., a full agenda can be found below. As we update this website with new information and content, don't hesitate to email us with any questions you might have: hello@advdessketch.com


We know the drill – you find an amazing conference online, tap on the “Purchase” link, and then your mouth drops a little at the price of the ticket. It is no lie that conference ticket prices can be a little breathtaking, and not in a beautiful sunset sort of way. However, after biting the bullet and buying tickets to several conferences, we can confirm that the return on investment of the price of a conference ticket is almost to well to calculate. A little research can show the same holds true for the price of a ticket to SQ1CON, this year so we wanted to show you guys exactly what the ticket includes as well as the monetary value above and beyond the price of the ticket itself! 

The $75 student and $100 professional price will include hot meals: dinner, small appetizer breakfast, and a full lunch. Aside from food, the price for the passes are well worth the investment for the following reasons, at SQ1CON, you'll get:

Incredible Content from 19 of the best Industrial Designers of our time. Advanced Design Sketching is striving to bring on only the best and most qualified professionals in design as speakers this year because their knowledge is extremely valuable! They'll be sharing information that they normally charge hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars for because they are absolutely passionate about helping students and professionals succeed. That benefit alone is worth well more than the price of a conference pass! Our speakers this year are exploding with amazing information to share with our attendees!

Sponsor Connections. Nowhere outside of SQ1CON will you get to make the same face-to-face connections with brands who are excited to be working with students and professionals. We've been combing through some amazing companies and have been diligent about selecting sponsors that want to come to the conference to connect with YOU and there is no amount of money worth giving up an opportunity to make those connections.

Networking Opportunities. In addition to getting to meet with sponsors, you’ll also be hanging with other designers, educators, and entrepreneurs who frankly, just get it. They understand the ins and outs of running a studio on your own, learning a new skill set, the frustration of freelancing, and sometimes the loneliness of being an entrepreneur and striking out on your own! It is the perfect place to make new friends, see old friends, and collaborate on new ideas together.

New Technologies, Tools, and Ideas. Without a doubt, the creative space is constantly changing, evolving, and throwing us all for loops. As soon as we think we have something figured out, technology changes the game and we feel like we have to start back at square one. SQ1CON is the place to stay on the cusp of all of the amazing new technology and techniques that are becoming available in Industrial Design. This is a return on your investment that really can’t be quantified but imagine being able to save time and money by confidently placing your efforts on the most up-to-date offerings in the tech space that will help you the most.

Training & Workshops. Many conferences offer hands-on workshop experiences to their attendees. Some are included in the regular admission price, and some are a little extra. In either case, training and workshops at conferences are the best places to get experience on platforms and programs that are being used daily by designers. You’re also getting one-on-one access to a designer who knows their stuff, something that from home you may have to hand over big bucks to have access to. We’ve scoured the internet, looking for the best of the best, to teach all of our attendees at SQ1CON. 

What are you waiting for? To put it lightly – if a conference charged what it was actually worth for someone to attend, nobody would be able to actually afford it. A conference ticket is worth a fraction of the benefits you get from engaging in and attending a conference! If something is holding you back from grabbing your pass today – we would love to know what it is! If you have any questions or hesitations – shoot us an email and let’s talk it out!


Please refer to the agenda for times and dates of all of the workshops offered during your two day visit to SQ1CON 2018. Make sure you bring your sketching supplies, as we'll only offer paper for sketching, but we advise you come ready. There is no signing up to the workshops, simply show up to the workshop you'd like to attend - first come basis - each workshop will have room for 30 attendees, so if you don't make it to your desired workshop - have a second and third workshop in mind. 



Deriving Elements & Driving Momentum by Creative Session

Our workshop is an exploration in design using 4 methods to drive productivity, design effectively and work efficiently. We will cover how to quickly take your sketches from the Concept Phase into a presentation ready format. We will examine and consider the myth of designers block and show skill-building techniques through sketching, research and other integral design tools. 

VR Sketching by Nick Baker

Nick Baker's workshop will be about virtual reality sketching, his process of utilizing the hardware and software, and how he envisions it fitting into the design process later on down the road.


Thumbnail Sketching by Dominic Montante

Sometimes sketching isn’t all just sexy renderings. Every product has a little napkin sketch that got it there. Getting the best result requires putting what’s on your head to paper as quickly as you can. Learn how to flesh out form and function the old pen and paper way with Dom.


SIM as a Partner for Concept Sketching by Jeff Smith

Do you work with Engineering to realize projects/products? Are your designs modified severely after engineering review? Are you a student that wants to learn more about manufacturing? Come explore and leverage the SIM environment in Fusion 360 to give your designs a sound engineering starting point.  Then bring more viable Designs to Engineering. In the end, we want to collaborate rather than combat Engineers. More importantly, learn how rapid Static stress models can be a sound foundation for concept sketching. Lastly, learn how Shape Optimization can be a seed for new concept sketch directions. Engineering tests CAN be a sound way to generate new ideas and direction that you DID not think about.

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Multiple Workshops by Spencer Nugent

Storyboarding Techniques
Join Spencer as we discuss storytelling techniques in the design process and learn how to draw and create clear visual storyboards for your products that add context and clarity to your concepts and presentations for clients using the iPad Pro.

Sketch Mastery Techniques
Spencer will be presenting examples and quick tips for adding that extra polish and oomph to your product sketches and renderings to make them awesome.


Creating with ProCreate by Derek Cascio

Derek Cascio will showcase how he uses ProCreate for the iPad Pro to bring character and product concepts to life. Derek will take attendees through his workflow using the software and will share his favorite tips and tricks. Break out your Apple Pencils and be sure not to miss this one!


Design on the Fly by James Connors

Do you have a pen? Some sort of paper? A smartphone? Good, that’s all you need. Learn to be resourceful and use what you have on you rather than waiting for the convenience of your fully outfitted workspace. You’ll learn how to: Sketch in a Cramped Space, Photograph and edit your sketch, and Sketch Render on your phone. Once you are at your desk, you can take what you developed on your commute and use the workstation for the heavy lifting for which it’s truly designed.


Selling your Ideas by Alexandre Nys

Many of us think they’re not creative because once they have an idea, they sketch it quickly and then wait for the next one: That is a problem for creativity…since we don’t have new ideas every 5 minutes, then some of us are left on their desks waiting as they see others sketching non-stop. I'll show you how to use your time and become a creative sketcher without having to change who you are, and we'll go back on the basics with learning a simplified method of using markers to create attractive sketches that will sell your ideas by themselves.


Human-Centered Sketches by Carly Hagins

Human-centered design focuses on the end user and considers the context in which they might interact with a product, service, or experience. Human-centered sketches, then, have the opportunity to visually communicate how, where, and why a particular design is successful. In this workshop, we’ll review a variety of ways to add human figures to sketches and the importance of visual narrative.


Sketching for Conversation by Jacob Ballard

Feel like you're designing in a vacuum? This will be a collaborative session geared towards using critique to help push ideas forward more quickly. The session will run through a process of thumbnailing to presentation sketch, using group feedback to down select and refine. Learn how to utilize your team more effectively by both sharing the right visuals and asking the right questions to help evolve your ideas. Everyone in the room will be sketching, being asked to provide feedback and participating to the final outcome; A supercharged session that will leave your Sharpies smoking!


Sketchnoting // The Secret Sauce to Your Design Process by Teddy Lu

Sketchnoting (AKA Graphic Recording, Visual notes, Graphic Facilitation) is not only a new way of taking notes, but can also be a key player in the overall design process. As designers, our super power is our ability to visualize information especially within the design thinking process. From research to ideation and even the final execution, sketchnotes can be integrated into any phase of the design process due to its adaptive and engaging nature. The goal for this workshop is to expose the techniques of how to tackle information by using creative illustrations and expressive text to test the limits of sketchnoting. Let’s explore the power of this tool and see how we can use it in our creative process and discover how it can spice up our visual communication language and enhance the way we engage with information.


Characters, Context, and Clarity: Fully Communicate Your Ideas Beyond the Product Sketch by Kelly Lin

As industrial designers, we have more or less mastered the art of product design sketching. But how do you insure that your ideas are not getting lost in translation with clients and non-designers? Are your sketches properly representing how the product will live in a real-world environment? What extra elements are you missing that could further sell this concept? This is where characters and context sketching can provide the finishing touch. This workshop will demonstrate how to communicate your product design sketches fully. We will take a deeper dive into storyboarding consumer journeys, establishing context and scale, and drawing figures in an industrial design context to sketch with clarity.


Sketching to Feel with Touchy/Feely by Joey Zeledón

This workshop will focus on sketching as a tool to explore emotional ergonomics during your ideation process and integrating designing for desired emotions into your work. This workshop uses Joey’s Touchy/Feely framework as a foundation for fostering human-centered, inclusive design.


How To Sell Your Idea: Sketching for Me, for You, for Them by Graham Allan

Explore different techniques of visual communication to sketch your ideas and elevate your style for effective and efficient communication.


Sketch Fidelity: Understanding Your Audience and When a Sketch is “Good Enough” by Anne Goodman                 

Sketching is the designer’s most essential communication tool and touches every part of the design process. As we go through the design process our sketching style and level of fidelity must constantly flex and evolve to suit the needs of our audience, whether that be other designers, engineers, or clients. This workshop will focus on identifying your audience and sketching to their level. We’ll focus on letting go of our need to make sketches perfect and share tips and for how to sketch smarter, faster, and with more confidence.


Mix Materials by Zeeshan Hakkim

During this workshop, the participants will be discovering efficient use of materials to tailor the process of sketching to a variety of projects. This workshop will be dealing with 70% analog and 30% digital tools to help put thoughts on paper and to efficiently communicate form, materials, function and composition. There will also be a session dedicated to footwear sketching design process to understand the basics of construction, layout and communication.


Industrial Design in the AI Age: Me and my AI Assistant by Paul Sohi

Come learn how I use 3D modeling tools and AI tools like generative design to help me develop products at the conceptual stage, accelerating my visualization, decision making, and final product trajectory. In this talk I will cover how I aggregate my precedence, how this informs my conceptual sketching, and how I use 3D modeling and generative design to accelerate my product creation process!


Digital Ideation IRL by Reid Schlegel

Taking two steps forward and three steps back is never fun. Join me to learn how to use multiple digital tools to efficiently ideate, refine and communicate concepts within reality. Here’s to saving yourself time and your client’s money.  




We would like to thank the following people for making individual contributions to the SQ1CON conference. Your help is much appreciated, we couldn't have done this without you! 

Thank you - Kevin Banos, Connor Pelletier-Sutton, Nick Troll, Akin Yemi, James Connors, Melvin Melchor, Connor Bost, David Voung, Martin Veldsman, Matej Sindelar, Lupe Chavez, Vanessa Rodriguez, Nick Savidge, and Rotimi Solola.