Design Lecture Series

Identity, Physical, Digital, Environmental





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.


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.

Organization Type

Non–Profit Lecture Series


Make graphic design history engaging, put a face to the craft and educate a new generation of designers about the history of graphic design.


Make the series as accessible to young graphic designers as possible.




2013 — Ongoing


Seattle, WA USA


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.


Graphic Design History, Concerts


Posters from the series have won multiple print awards and are included in SFMOMA’s permanent collection.


“Verbalizing design is another act of design.”
— Kenya Hara

“Civilization events… are phenomenally generous, and I want to come to them.”
— Paula Scher


Concept and Strategy, Event Production, Fundraising, Identity Manual, Print Collateral System, Digital Collateral System, Environmental Graphic System, Promotional Print Materials, Social Media Strategy and Marketing, User Experience Design, User Interface Design and Development, CMS Development

Technical Specs

HTML, CSS, JavaScript, WordPress, Twitter API


April Greiman, Stefan Sagmeister, David Carson, Ken Garland, Lance Wyman, Adrian Shaughnessy, Paula Scher, Karel Martens, Emory Douglas, Kenya Hara, Saki Mafundikwa, Jessica Walsh


Jody Rodgers, Adrian Shaughnessy, April Greiman, Doug Wadden, Marissa Jenae Johnson, Fumi Watanabe James, Charles Mudede, Kate Bingaman-Burt


Moleskine, Seattle Public Library, Umpqua Bank, Mohawk, Design Within Reach, Knoll, Aesop, ReachNow, Legion Paper, Colorplan Paper, Mailchimp, CreativeLive, Vitamin T, Various Projects, Whole Foods, 52 Limited, Olderbrother, W Seattle, Peter Miller Books, Moment, Caffe Vita, Marjorie, Aquent, Theo, Office of Arts & Culture, Black Heritage Society, Seattle Design Festival, MT Tape, Bootstrapper Studios, Stanley, Stack, Rachel’s Ginger Beer, Printing Control, OOLA, Hotel 1000, Gray Magazine, City Arts, Hilliard’s, Structure Cellars, Convention Totes, Arcade, KUOW-NPR

The Design Lecture Series is a self-initiated on-going series which brings world-class graphic designers to the stage to share their knowledge for free. The symbology used throughout its promotional materials references typical objects found at lectures, i.e. folding chairs, projectors, glasses of water, displayed in unexpected arrangements.

Oversized Design Lecture Series programs from the 2016/17 season printed on ColorPlan paper.


Oversized tote from the 2016/17 season.


Custom-Moleskine notebooks from the 2015/16 Season.


Footage from the series shot by our livestream and archive footage partners, CreativeLive.


View or listen to past lectures or podcasts from past speakers.


Centerfold spread from the 2016/17 series program displaying a quote by Kenya Hara originally written for his publication, Designing Design.

( ( SHAKEN ) )