Design Lecture Series

  • Civilization events…
    are phenomenally generous,
    and I want to come to them.

    — Paula Scher


    The Design Lecture Series aims to connect our creative community, stimulate conversation, and invigorate Seattle’s downtown library by bringing global design legends and our personal heroes to share their knowledge for free. The not–for–profit series, in its fourth season, is completely produced by Civilization, from sponsorship and publicity, to event production and full event design and development. To date the series has featured fifteen legendary graphic designers, including Kenya Hara, Paula Scher, Emory Douglas, Lance Wyman, Experimental Jetset and April Greiman.

    Each season our non–profit Design Lecture Series brings 1800 attendees together to hear free lectures from global design legends at the Rem Koolhaas designed Central Library. Our aim in producing the Design Lecture Series is to stimulate conversation around design, share its rich history and inspire our community. The non–profit series is fully produced by Civilization — from event creation, partnerships and sponsorships, to branding, identity and web design and development. All posters from the series have been acquired by SFMOMA for their permanent collection.


    We chose the Rem Koolhaas designed Central Branch of The Seattle Public Library as the home of the series not only because of its beautiful architecture but also because it is an institute with information that is free for everyone to use. In our eyes, the most impactful graphic design is democratic; it communicates its message in a clear and accessible way, no matter your age, your race or your gender.

    The symbology associated with the series is meant to be a literal play on the usual banality of a lecture series. Most of our studio has backgrounds in music, so we wanted to approach the events more like concerts. Tickets to the series typically sell out in under 1 minute and each lecture has a packed house. Tickets are all completely free for attendees and made possible by sponsors. The iconography for the series is our take on a lecture — a party in the AV room, with fold–up chairs, projection equipment, desks and glasses of water flying through the air.