The Design Conference on Paste

How do you inspire creatives who are hungry for connection, but who can't physically be together?

The Design Conference on Paste

This summer, Brisbane Powerhouse welcomed a triumphant return of in-person gatherings with the 10th edition of The Design Conference. But like so many live events in the time of Covid, TDC adapted by taking a hybrid approach.

To bring the spirit of TDC online, Founder Matthew Haynes reached out to WeTransfer knowing he needed a partner who would understand the challenges of creative people trying to mindmeld and find inspiration in a global pandemic. Together we tackled the now age-old question: How do you spread insight and ideas to creatives who are hungry for connection, but who can't physically be together?

The answer was our first-ever Calling All Storytellers competition in which we curated an intergalactic mix of creatives to document the magic of TDC, making the insights available to all. We checked in with Matthew recently to get the (brutally honest) truth about his experience with our tools.


Congrats on an amazing 10th edition of The Design Conference! Tell us a bit about the event and how it came to be.

The concept of TDC came to me after winning a sponsored, international trip to visit my design heroes. An Australian beer company came up with the idea to send four creatives around the world with a fistful of cash. I was one of the lucky four.

On that trip, I met many inspiring folks including New York City designer Tony Arcabascio, who I now call a friend. Tony and I continued to write to each other while I was still a design student. His origin story and life has had a big impact on me––so much that I've inadvertently modeled my career on his.

Within a year of my trip, I started planning TDC so that my peers and community could experience the same insights and intellectual upload I received from traveling.

I've always considered my place in the world as one in service to community, and to make lives better. My grandfather taught me this lesson through the way he lived. (He was a special man and I miss him every day.)

This was TDC’s first hybrid event. How did it go? What did you take away from the experience?

If I were to be 1000% honest, I have never worked so hard for such a sustained period in my life. It wasn't that we went hybrid. It's that COVID is so unpredictable, that I had to have a dozen contingency plans in place in order to stay a beat ahead. I had to commit every fiber of my being in order to cover all bases.

Conversely, the love and positive sentiment I received both in person and spiritually took me to another level. I found new ways to overcome old problems. For example, I had to cancel our student event. Yet, in its wake, I was able to launch a program that provided every university, college, and high school with complimentary access to our digital offerings, which expanded our reach exponentially. In total, we had over 75 universities tune in.

Our service provider Orbits reported that our content was the highest-consumed digital content they have ever streamed. 

So to answer your question, it went off (that's Australian for 'It was awesome') and exceeded all expectations.

What inspired you to partner with WeTransfer? 

The fact that WeTransfer is B Corp was the deciding factor. When so much media is focused on what's terrible in the world, someone has to step up and buck the trend. B Corp companies like WeTransfer are taking steps to rectify these issues by becoming a catalyst for environmental change, intergenerational healing, and human equality. As Jacinta Conza says: Let's increase the peace.

WeTransfer is more than a suite of digital products. It’s a family that gives minorities a voice, so that the world can see how brilliant humanity is.

Why did you integrate Paste® and Paper into The Design Conference?

Everyone we work with, whether they're a speaker, sponsor or brand, has to be on the same page. My audience wants to be moved spiritually and emotionally, and Paste and Paper were tools that helped me achieve those moments.

Using Paper, Marie Fauritte sketched our audience members between talks. Marie's challenge was to step out of her comfort zone and try something new, while the audience's challenge was to approach her as a stranger and make a new friend.

Needless to say, she made hundreds of friends and the activation was a massive success. Her sketches were beautiful, and we were able to quickly export them from Paper and share them online and with in-person attendees. 


Using Paste, five up-and-coming creatives collaborated to capture the essence of TDC. They worked on the fly––from their independent studios before and after TDC, as well as during the entire conference. Paste kept everyone in stride and allowed the team to quickly and easily capture TDC behind the scenes as it happened.

What surprised you the most about working with Paste and Paper?

I'm surprised that I didn't start using them sooner.

Thanks for sharing your experience, Matthew. Keep spreading the love, mate.