A conference about design and technology

June 4-6, 2018San Jose, CA

Layers is a 3-day conference during WWDC to talk about design, technology, and eat snacks.

Seriously, look at these people.

  • Samihah


    Samihah is a Product Designer at Lyft where she sits at the intersection of business goals and crafting experiences impacting local communities. Prior to Lyft, she was designing for local commerce at Postmates and crafting high quality patient-facing healthcare experiences at One Medical. Outside of design, she mentors for the State Department's TechWomen program, enjoys powerlifting (seriously!), Arabic calligraphy, and cooking. She wholeheartedly believes in constantly learning, going after your goals, and a good bowl of ramen. She tweets as @samihah.

  • Josh


    Josh is a vocal advocate for Design Leadership, writing and speaking about the challenges of building Design-led companies and products. In his current role as CEO of Abstract, as an Advisor to several start-ups, and an Advisor & Mentor to the Designer Fund, and previously as Principal Designer at Twitter, Josh continues to influence the centrality of Design in early and late-stage companies.

  • Busra

    Modernizing Medicine

    Busra Demirci is an award-winning UX leader who solves systemic complexity to increase the quality of patient care and productivity of healthcare professionals. As an active facilitator for the HIMSS EHRA, she sets national patient safety and clinician experience standards for the health-IT community. Passionate about shaping software, she helps people focus on what they do best: be human.

  • Dylan


    Dylan Field is the CEO of Figma.com, the only cloud-based collaborative design tool. He was inspired to work on design technology after struggling with design software as an intern at Flipboard in 2012. He once lost an entire presentation right before a meeting with Flipboard’s CEO because his (local) design application crashed. He dropped out of Brown University soon after that experience, and started Figma with his co-founder Evan Wallace. Thanks to advancements in browser technology, they were able to build the first “Google Docs of design” -- a performant, web-based multiplayer design application. Dylan champions open, accessible design and believes design technology must evolve for a cloud-based, collaborative world. He tweets @zoink.

  • Angela


    Angela is a UX design lead at Google focusing on designing assistive experiences available on mobile and smart home devices. At Airbnb, she led the first major hosting redesign of their mobile app and spent several years at Apple working on the iPhone team, where she focused on apps like Messages, Mail, FaceTime, and Photo Booth. She is also responsible for co-designing Apple's original emoji set back in 2008. Throughout her time in Silicon Valley, Angela has been awarded over two dozen design patents. She has a BFA in Industrial Design and MFA in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design.

  • Jessica

    Jessica Hische

    Jessica Hische is a lettering artist and author. Her clients include Wes Anderson, Starbucks, Tiffany & Co., the New York Times, and the United States Postal Service. She’s been named a Forbes 30 under 30, an ADC Young Gun, and a Print Magazine New Visual Artist, and her work has been featured again and again in design and illustration publications across the globe.

  • Akil

    Akil King

    Brooklyn Raised. HBCU Educated. Former Apple Developer Relations mage. Currently Start-up Advisory & Independent App Consultant.

  • Tom K

    Tom K Morris

    Tom K Morris is a former creative development executive at Walt Disney Imagineering who guided groundbreaking projects for over 30 years. Highlight projects include the conceptualization of DisneyQuest and the Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster attraction at Walt Disney World, the design of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Paris and creative direction for Cars Land at Disneyland, CA.

  • Katie

    BlackPaint Studios

    Katie Mullen is a brand strategist, artist and writer. She’s also one half of BlackPaint Studios, a Milwaukee-based independent art and design studio whose biggest clients are Planned Parenthood state affiliates across the country. Also a longtime art activist and general troublemaker, Katie leads BlackPaint’s covert mission to challenge the creative industry’s ancient power structure by working to increase the number of women and people of color in leadership roles.

  • Ryan


    Ryan McLeod is a puzzle maker and self-taught designer with a masters in Computer Science. He designs and develops the infamous and infuriating game Blackbox, which won an Apple Design Award in 2017. In addition to being a game, Blackbox has also become a testbed for interaction design and accessibility innovation. Off the computer, he cooks a lot and once accidentally bartended the Nobel Prize after-party.

  • Majd


    Majd Taby is the co-founder of Darkroom, a photo editing app focused on ease of use and creative freedom. He is also the author of Displaced, a comprehensive record of the Syrian Refugee Crisis. Prior, he worked at Lyft, Instagram, Facebook, and Apple shipping iOS and Web apps with a focus on product experience and usability.

  • Pieter


    Pieter Omvlee is the founder and creator of Sketch, the definitive tool for digital designers. From its humble beginnings back in 2010, the team behind Sketch now boasts over 30 members, in seven different countries. Pieter lives in the Hague, NL and, when he’s not working on Sketch, he plays reasonably good piano and bakes excellent pizza.

  • Jonathan


    Jonathan is a designer turned product manager at Adobe. An engineer by degree, Jonathan shares an unbiased passion for design and technology. He started his journey at Adobe working on web authoring tools like Dreamweaver, Inspect and Brackets. He currently works on the Adobe XD team, leading the effort around design and prototyping.

  • Jordan

    BlackPaint Studios

    Jordan Pintar is the other half of BlackPaint Studios. A few short ad agency stints into her career, Jordan knew she couldn’t abide by the industry’s old school office cultures and lack of women in creative leadership. So she quit and co-founded BlackPaint, whose mission from day one was to help change this shit. As BlackPaint’s art director and designer, Jordan’s hallmark is vibrant work rooted in human connection and cultural commentary from a feminist perspective.

  • Heather


    Heather Phillips is Director of Design at Abstract, a design workflow platform for modern design teams. She is passionate about building design communities, which she expresses through her work at Designer Fund, leading programs like Women in Design, teaching in the Design MFA program at CCA, and as author of the Level Up framework. Heather has worked at several fast-growing startups, including Yammer and RelateIQ, and has advised more than 30 tech companies on how to build effective design teams.

  • Litha


    Litha Soyizwapi is a graphic designer and a self-taught iOS developer based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is a creator of the GauRider app, an iOS app for Gautrain, a rapid rail service that connects Johannesburg, Pretoria & OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa. Litha was also a speaker at TEDxSoweto 2014, TEDxJohannesburg 2015 and Release Notes 2016.

  • Daren


    Daren Ulmer is a Media Designer and Creative Director who owns Mousetrappe, a creative studio and media producer that creates complex and immersive experiences for the world's leading theme parks, museums, and exhibits. Specialists in projection mapping, immersive theater and immerging mixed-reality environments, Mousetrappe and Daren do concept, design, production, and installation at locations around the world. Daren previously worked in creative and production for Disney theme parks.

Some of our past presenters include wonderful people such as May-Li Khoe, Susan Kare, John Hodgman, Linda Dong, Jesse Genet, Neven Mrgan, James Buckhouse, and Ashley Nelson-Hornstein.

Can't wait? Check out these awesome videos of our past talks.

The Details

Layers is a 3-day conference in San Jose about design, technology, and all the tasks that lie between. Join us to hear industry champions, push yourself beyond conventional thinking, and eat great snacks.

At Layers, you'll learn about:

  • Building successful products
  • Getting more value from your work
  • New design tools and features
  • Approachable methods for staying motivated
  • Facing project challenges


Across the street from the McEnery Convention Center and right in the middle of the WWDC festivities and community events.

We've reserved a block of hotel rooms for $239/night at the Larkspur Landing Campbell. Please call (408) 364-1514 to book a room, letting them know you're with the Layers Conference. For questions, contact staying@layers.is.

Montgomery Theater
271 S Market St.
San Jose, CA 95113
United States

times, dates, people, places

Monday June 4

Montogomery Theater, 271 S. Market St

  • 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Registration Party! Come on over and pick up your badge, grab a drink and a snack, and meet your fellow Layers attendees.

Tuesday June 5

Montgomery Theater, 271 S. Market St

  • 9:00 am
    Coffee and pastries from Social Policy
  • 10:00 am
    Layers welcome and introduction
  • 10:15 am
    Daren Ulmer
  • 10:45 am
    Akil King
  • 11:15 am
    Snack Session - Vietnoms
  • 11:45 am
    Pieter Omvlee
  • 12:30 pm
  • 2:00 pm
    Samihah Azim
  • 2:30 pm
    Majd Taby
  • 3:00 pm
    Snack Session - Cat Cat's Nom Noms
  • 3:30 pm
    Angela Guzman
  • 4:00 pm
    Tom Morris

Wednesday June 6

Montgomery Theater, 271 S. Market St

  • 9:00 am
    Coffee from Social Policy
    Steamed breakfast buns from SpiceKit
  • 10:00 am
    Busra Demirci
  • 10:30 am
    Litha Soyizwapi
  • 11:00 am
    Snack Session - Taco Mania
  • 11:30 am
    Heather Phillips and Josh Brewer
  • 12:00 pm
    Ryan McLeod
  • 12:30 pm
  • 2:00 pm
  • 2:30 pm
    Jonathan Pimento
  • 3:00 pm
    Snack Session - Rocko's Ice Cream Tacos
  • 4:00 pm
    Dylan Field
  • 4:30 pm
    Jessica Hische


Code of Conduct • Important

Hi, this is Jessie Char and Elaine Pow and we're the organizers of this conference. You may be asking, "Jessie and Elaine, what are you doing in the code of conduct?" and that's a great question. We're here to explain our behavior policies at Layers.


Layers is committed to providing a harassment-free event for everyone. Harassment doesn't only take place as a result of intention; it can also happen when we don't stop to think about how our choices may make others uncomfortable. Let's go over some common forms of harassment:

🚫 Verbal comments that reinforce social structures of domination related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion, etc.
🚫 Bullying of any kind
🚫 Sexual images in public spaces
🚫 Deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following
🚫 Sustained disruption of talks or other events
🚫 Uninvited and/or inappropriate physical contact
🚫 Unwelcome sexual attention
🚫 Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behaviour

If any Layers attendee engages in one or more of the inappropriate behaviors listed above, we reserve the right to take any action we deem necessary. This includes, but is not limited to: issuing a warning, complete removal from the conference without refund, and contacting the appropriate authorities.

In the unfortunate case that anyone is made to feel uncomfortable at our event, notify us or one of our volunteers directly (we'll be highly visible at the conference). Whether it's a full-fledged complaint, or a "hey, that person could have handled this better" comment, we are dedicated to providing a safe space for everyone to discuss their experience. If you are uncomfortable approaching us in person, email us at info@layers.is or submit an anonymous form.

You may be thinking "This isn't as much code of conduct writing as I'm used to seeing. How are these two princess emoji really going to handle a broken conduct situation?" As working women who've experienced all sorts of behaviors directed toward us in professional situations and environments, harassment will not be taken lightly.

💗Jessie & Elaine 💗
👸OFFICIAL princesses and rulers with iron fists of LAYERS👸

Thanks to Geek Feminism for the list of what qualifies as harassment. We welcome feedback on our code of conduct; if you believe we have missed an important qualifier of harassment, please let us know at info@layers.is.

Brought to you by Opening Night

Opening Night was founded in 2015 by Jessie Char and Elaine Pow. Together they produce thoughtful events that draw from their combined backgrounds in design, technology, and retail.

A special thanks to

Opening Night, LLC

@layersconf info@layers.is

Designed By

Grayson Yokota

Coded by

Patrick B. Gibson