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Top 10 Events in Baltimore for Designers

Mission is lucky to be based in Baltimore, where we are surrounded with industry meetups, clubs, and organizations that offer constant learning opportunities. But with so many options, it can be hard to know what is worth your time and money. 

Here are my top 10 workshops, classes, and events that you don't want to miss! 

1. Baltimore Print Studios Workshops
Cost: $65-$165
Baltimore Print Studios has workshops for screen printing, letterpress, and risograph. The best part is that once you take an intro class you can come back and rent studio time with the equipment!

close up of Mission's Designer Emilee Beeson holding a self made printing

2. Classes at Baltimore Academy of Illustration
Cost: $450-$550
BAI offers full semester illustration classes taught by established and reputable local illustrators. A different mix of classes are offered every year, including editorial illustration, style development, painting, watercolor, and more. 

BAI - Baltimore Academy of Illustration logo

3. AAF Trashy Awards
Cost: $12
The AAF has a lot of great events, but the Trashy Awards is one of my favorites. Agencies enter concepts that were great...but for one reason or another never made it past the pitch presentation. Attendees vote for winners and all the proceeds go towards a scholorship fund. It's a good opportunity to mingle and maybe even vent about your pet projects that ended up in the trash. 

close up of a hand holding a yellow pin that says trashy at the AAF Trashy Awards

4. PCB Production Show
Cost: $30
PCB is another organization with many great events; however, if I could only attend one it would be the Production Show. All the best paper brands and vendors are there with samples and giveaways. I call it "trick-or-treat" for designers. 

close up of a hand holding a black key chain at the PCB Production Show

5. Make a Mark Baltimore
Cost: Free!
Make a Mark is a nationwide event with a newly organized Baltimore chapter. You can volunteer your talents for an intense day-long hack-a-thon to benefit local non-profits that can't afford tradtional agency services. It's great teaming up with new talent and they treat the volunteers food and yoga sessions!

multiple young people sitting at long desks with their laptops at the Make a Mark Baltimore event

6. MICA Public Lectures and Exhibits
Cost: Free!
MICA is one of the best art schools in the country and many of its events are free and open to the public. Hear from one of their incredible visiting artists or see fresh talent at one of their student exhibits. 

people mingling at MICA's public exhibition

7. AIGA Design Week
Cost: $0-$50
AIGA Design Week is a full week of industry events and lectures. They even partner with other local organizations so a wide range of practices are represented. 

people sitting on chairs listening to eight lecturing designers at the AIGA Design Week

8. AIGA Ink & Pixels
Cost: $5 (for students)
Whether you're a student, professional, or something in between, Ink & Pixels has something for you. Attendees can have their portfolios reviewed by industry professionals and make connections with local agencies. Professionals can volunteer as reviewers or panelists and have the opportunity to see fresh talent and give back to their community. 

close up of a green pixel sign in a class room

9. UX Camp DC
Cost: $55-$85
UX Camp is an "unconference" style event where the sessions are led by people in attendance rather than a predetermined speaker roster. You will come away feeling inspired and energized with tons of fresh perspective on design, user experience, information architecture, software, and technology. If you're feeling brave you can even participate as a speaker! 

a women leading a ux camp session in front of a large screen

10. World IA Day DC 
Cost: Free!
This global event is a celebration of information architecture. The DC location hosts a full day of workshops and sessions. The theme this year will be "Design for Difference" focusing on exploring diversity and accessibility in design.  

sketches and crayons on white paper


The events above are my personal favorites, but I'm sure there are more to discover! If you're not lucky enough to be in the great city of Baltimore, your local AIGA, AAF, or art school probably has events of their own. Taking the time to invest in continued education is really rewarding and helps you keep a fresh perspective throughout your career.