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BookMachine Unplugged 2019: Talking Design

13 November @ 6:30 pm 11:00 pm GMT

Can design thinking transform
your publishing strategy?

6.30pm, 13th November 2019 | The Century Club, London
£ 5.50 – £10.00 (FREE for
BookMachine Members)

With thanks to our Unplugged 2019 sponsors:

About the event

Designers as creative thinkers are powerful problem solvers. But traditionally, colleagues in finance, editorial, sales or marketing are promoted to the top publishing jobs. What is lost without the transformative effect design thinking can add to strategy and leadership? How can design thinking enhance management decisions? What can publishing learn from our own and other sectors’ creative leaders?

Join our panel for an intriguing discussion on how design thinking can transform a business. Hear from an organisational behaviour expert on the theory, as well as a Creative-turned-board-member on the practice. And get inspired by the insights from a Creative Director who will show how design thinking really does make a huge difference.

Your Speakers

Sophie O’Rourke (Managing Director, emc Design)

Sophie is Managing Director at EMC Design – a leading publishing design agency with over 25 years of experience in book publishing. Sophie always has an eye on industry trends, and has always ‘just read’ something relevant to any publishing-related topic! 

Follow Sophie on Twitter: @sophie_orourke @emcdesignltd

Dean Johnson, Design, Technology & Innovation Consultant

As an accomplished Design, Technology and Innovation Consultant at Activrightbrain, Writer, Presenter, Host and Futurologist, Dean Johnson is shaping the future for Film, TV, Automotive, Publishing and Music sectors with the emphasis on user experience and engagement. Dean is a Fellow and VP of the Chartered Society of Designers and Mentor for the British Fashion Council.

Dean writes for numerous publications, www.activrightbrain.com and the author of international #1 interactive iBook ‘Digital Publishing: The Next Steps’.

Follow Dean on Twitter: @activrightbrain.

Donna Payne, Creative Director, Faber & Faber

Since graduating in 1993, Donna has worked in most areas of publishing design. Beginning her career as a freelance non-fiction designer of Illustrated Books at Reed and progressing to a Senior Design role in Children’s publishing at Egmont Books. 

Donna joined Faber as Art Director in 2005, creating an in-house team that thrives on delivering consistently excellent work across a range of genres and taking inspiration from Faber’s archive. Donna was made Creative Director in recognition of her work on Faber’s rebrand in print and online.

Follow Donna on Twitter: @SaysDonna @FaberBooks

Belinda Abbott, Head of Faculty, Design Thinkers Academy

Belinda is Head of Faculty at Design Thinkers Academy London, the training arm of DK&A – a design consultancy for change makers.  She started out in marketing and publishing at The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants and NewsUK, then moved into design education via a stint as a graphic designer.  Belinda was part of the team at the Royal College of Art that established a design-led innovation centre and business incubator and launched their Executive Education unit.

Follow Belinda on Twitter: @BelindaAbbott @DTAcademyLondon


BookMachine Unplugged is an event series that aims to answer a simple question: what is happening in the world of publishing right now?

Watch inspiring talks from industry insiders. Meet publishers, editors, marketers, audio publishers, designers, techies and more – the people who make publishing happen. If you crave an explosion of knowledge, ideas, and personal development, all in a strictly social and informal setting, unplug from your desk and join us.   

There will be six events throughout 2019. Each will zoom in on a segment of the publishing industry and feature 3 expert speakers taking to the stage with their insights into what works for their business now.

If you want to learn from your peers, and stay at the forefront of what’s happening, then BookMachine Unplugged is for you.

Event details

Date: 13th November 2019
Time: 6.30pm – 11pm

The Venue

The Century Club

61-63 Shaftesbury Ave
London, W1D 6LQ United Kingdom
+ Google Map
+44 207 534 3080


Who is this event aimed at?

BookMachine is a thriving community for everyone involved in book publishing. We created it for those who crave knowledge, ideas, and personal development, but in a strictly social and informal setting. BookMachine Members are at the heart of the community and can attend all the events for free and benefit from discounts from across the industry.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

No, just show up and your name will be on the door.

Will I get a seat?

You might not get a seat at the event, so wear comfy shoes. This is deliberate as the space has been designed for you to meet as many people as possible in a short space of time, rather than sitting down with your colleague/the same person all evening. The talks section lasts for 45 minutes and there is a cloakroom for any heavy bags/coats. 

Some words about the Unplugged Series…