A learn-by-doing community for creative professionals.


April, 2014

Design Taco Private 2 Hour Sessions w/ Tacos

We’re really excited about all of the fun events going on during the Design Taco pop-up May 12-18th in NYC, but we’re also offering something really special that we’ve never done before.

Each day of the pop-up we will be running a limited number of private 2-hour classes for up to 10 people from a team. In celebration of the event, we’ve priced the classes at a deep discount compared to our usual rates. Each session costs $750 and includes 2 tacos and a Brooklyn Brewery beer or glass of Uproot wine for each participant.

There has never been a better time to enroll some of your colleagues in creative thinking, or just get an afternoon out of the office for some learning and development that’s actually fun.

They’re going fast, so sign-up soon to not miss out.

Download the Design Taco Menu here.

Sign-up for a private 2-hour class here.


Design Taco Menu

Visual Thinking Resources

Visual Thinking, as you all know, makes you an automatic Ninja. Being able to express your ideas visually makes them more impactful, and more memorable. It’s worth getting better at! That’s one of the reasons we have a Visual Thinking Happy Hour each month, and it’s always fun…but we wanted to make it easy for anyone to recreate the experience anytime, anywhere. We’ve taken what we’ve learned from these sessions and turned them into a sweet, sweet deck of large-format cards for you to play with.

Download the Visual Workpack PDF for $5

Some great resources on the value of doodling and sketching can be found here, in an Ignite talk given by Sunni Brown. It’s only five minutes and totally awesome.

If you want to know the basics, the DNA of drawing, take a gander at Sunni’s Visual Alphabet, here.

Another take is here, from Sunni’s collaborator Dave Gray. It’s really visual AND conceptual…and kinematic! So it’s awesome, basically. At 6:55, Dave discusses some of the finer points of perspective, including why axonometric perspective is awesome.

Some books that are awesome about sketching and visual thinking that I really love:

See What I Mean: How to Use Comics to Communicate Ideas
by Kevin Cheng

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
by Scott McCloud

The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures
by Dan Roam

Sketching is a muscle that gets stronger the more you use it. And just like any skill, it’s highly personal and individual. Getting good at a few basic shapes and items can go a long way to helping you express your ideas quickly to others…and yourself! And see for yourself (here) how simple pictures can tell a great story.

Take a look at this video about rapid sketching…and clothespin man!

Don’t forget: If you don’t write it down (or draw it) it didn’t happen.


Timeboxing and Artifact Making

Right smack in the middle of this video is some solid working-style advice. When I’m truly stuck, I use it. Chunking my day up into blocks, taking out my cellphone and timing those blocks and *not cheating* really helps. The pomodoro technique is one way to do it (there are tons of smartphone apps to help!) But when I’m designing workshops for others to go through I timebox even more assiduously. I’ll break a 2 hour workshop into 5 minute chunks in an excel document I use to track and sum up the time blocks so I know it all adds up. And with each chunk, I ask myself what each person and team will be making, seeing or sharing at each inflection point. That’s one reason why we make so many worksheets here at Design Gym central…getting people to write down their insights on paper can help create clarity and consensus where it seemed impossible a few minutes before. When teams have done their initial research phase and have taken the time to organize and visualize what it all means, we ask people to take a step back and fill out an “insights mad lib”

We thought _______ But we saw _______ Now we realize _____

I’ve used a few variations on that over time, depending on my mood and the goals of the exercise. Often I’ll ask teams to add a visual diagram of their insight. The point is, teams feel all over the place, like they need more time to agree on what they really learned. But when I ask them to sit down and work alone for 5 minutes on their own insights, when they share them out to each other, there is always amazing overlap. Taking the time to timebox and create an artifact will always move the conversation forward and help us see where we are. More time to think and talk seems like a great idea, but taking time to make things is essential.

Design Taco


Design Taco is an idea accelerator and innovation lab that’s disguised as an incredibly delicious taco shop in New York’s Lower East Side on May 12th -18th, 2014.

For one week, an unassuming LES storefront will be transformed into a taco shop meets creative hotspot, hosting panels of radically diverse people and companies, private classes on design and innovation, and coaching for walk-in patrons looking to launch the next big thing. The event is the brainchild of The Design Gym, an NYC community of creative thinkers and problem solvers from across industries and roles who are redefining how we work.

Imagine a place where you can go with your friends and finally bring that side project to life. Or a place where right alongside the napkins and hot sauce rests prototyping supplies or sketch pads. Or where the wait staff is trained and willing to help you learn more about your target customers or refine your start-up’s story. These are all elements you’ll find at Design Taco.

Design Taco is located at 37 East 1st Street in New York’s Lower East Side. It will run from Monday, May 12th through Sunday May 18th from 10:00am – 10:00pm daily. Please check the schedule below for open hours…some sessions are pre-ticketed!


Walk-in hours are available at select times during the week, and all day Saturday and Sunday. See the calendar below for the most updated schedule. This is a great time to come see the space, meet some others, get some ad-hoc coaching on a side project, or just grab some delicious tacos. Snag your tickets below.








Slide2Come solo. Bring your colleagues. Invite your whole team. We accept all for these dynamic workshops. We’ll be offering two separate classes – User Experience Essentials and and Intro to sketching class . You can sign up for each individually, or take advantage of discounted pricing if you sign-up for both. Each ticket includes 2 tacos from Los Perros Locos and a beer from Brooklyn Brewery or glass of wine.






– Daily Private Classes for organizations to bring up to 10 people for a private, 2-hour workshop on topics ranging from group facilitation to introduction to sketching to storytelling for businesses.

– Open Classes for All that offer 2-hour classes on specific topics such as UX, intro to sketching, ideation, and team facilitation.

– Nightly Panels and Events that curate topics and people like you’ve never seen them before, thinking across industries, roles, and sizes to start hitting topics from different contexts.

– Walk In Hours that allow the general public to stop in over lunch, after work, or during the weekend to crank on a side project, get coaching on developing an idea, meet some inspiring people, or just enjoy some tacos and drinks.



We’re offering an incredible opportunity to get your team out of the office for a fun learning session. For just $750, you pick the topic and bring a team of people, and we’ll  provide the 2 hours of teaching and tacos and a drinks for the whole team!











The programming is designed to feature radical mash-ups of companies and people from across roles and industries. These are people you wouldn’t normally find on stage together, but who offer immense perspective on a topic from very different contexts. Speakers include everyone from the President of OXO to the Director of Marketing at the Brooklyn Brewery to the head of customer experience at Bonobos.

Tickets for classes and events are priced at a steal of $35 to encourage a diverse crowd of creative professionals, and each ticket also includes 2 tacos from Los Perros Locos and a beer from Brooklyn Brewery or glass of wine.








This event wouldn’t be possible without our very talented group of professionals and community members who have put a lot of time and sweat into bringing it to life. They mapped customer experience journeys, moderated panels, master PR campaigns, and helped craft the vision.

Kenny Arnold, Founder, Happy Dinosaur

Christina Bullard, Design Thinking Workshop Facilitator

Nidhi Chaudhary, Social Enterprise Strategy & Communications Consultant

Morgan Evans, Software Engineering, NBC Universal

Alex Fiorillo, Principal, Grid Impact

Justine Lai, Project Manager at ICL / Wharton MBA Candidate

Erin Lamberty, Product Manager, General Assembly

Megan Nesbeth, Associate Admissions Producter, General Assembly

Cemi Ozel, Account Executive, SelectNY

Melissa Walden, Packaging Engineer, The Dannon Company

Robert Yu, Asst. Product Manager, DydaComp