From the site chair, 5 things you need to know about SNDLOU

We’re less than a month away from the annual fall workshop and excitement is growing with the release of the official schedule. So I caught up with Ryan Hildebrandt, site chair for SNDLOU and Creative Director for Gannett’s Louisville Design Studio, to get the inside scoop on what makes SNDLOU a can’t miss.


5. The venues are fantastic

Typically, only the opening and closing receptions take place in marquee venues. But, for the first time in SND History, the workshop venue is the main attraction. The Muhammad Ali Center is a beautiful structure overlooking the Ohio River, and attendees get free access to the museum and exhibits.


4. Louisville

First, the horses are running at Churchill Downs before, during and after the workshop. Racing only happens a few times year. We’ll start shuttling to Churchill at 3 p.m. Thursday before the opening reception at the Kentucky Derby Museum. If you want a full day of racing, you can go earlier or a different day.

Also, the food in this town is amazing. Seriously. Original, locally-sourced dining has always been what Louisville does – well before it became a trend. And the bars stay open until 4 a.m. What more can you ask for?


3. The events

The opening reception: It’s a Kentucky Derby-themed event. We’re encouraging attendees to wear Derby-day inspired attire, though it’s not required. For some, Derby day means sitting in the stands dressed up with a fantastic hat sipping a mint julep, for other’s it’s squatting in the infield with your cutoffs, t-shirt and a PBR. Also, the Museum will play some races on the 360-screen in the reception hall. They’ll set up tellers, and for a small buy-in, which benefits the SND Foundation, you’ll receive SNDCash to bet on the races. We’ll have prizes for the big winners.

SND Foundation Lebowski Night: The SNDF Friday night fundraising event is back. We’re theming it “Lebowski Night” in honor of the film and Lebowski Fest, which is a huge event founded here in Louisville. For $30, you’ll get free drinks and bowling at The Sports & Social Club. We’ve moved the event after dinner, from 9-11 p.m., so plan on that being SND central Friday evening. Even if you don’t want to bowl, come have a drink, and help raise money for a good cause.

We’ll have an organized competition on the lanes, and we’ll give prizes to the winners. As I type, we’re forming a team here in the Louisville Design Studio, and hereby officially challenge any other studio, hub, publication or organization to dare step to up to our lane skills. And yes, we realize we’re rolling on shabbos.

The Closing event: We’ll wrap up at the Ice House in downtown Louisville. It’s a beautiful space with good food, and we’ll keep it as entertaining as possible. It’s a fun, relaxed celebration to close out the workshop.  We’ll also pass the torch to SND Frankfurt, the host of next year’s Fall Workshop in Germany.


2. Hacktucky

This is huge moment for SND. Chris Courtney announced the idea last year in Cleveland, and has worked hard to bring it to life. Basically, we’re teaming up developers, designers and journalists to build and create usable digital products from scratch – all in less than 24 hours. We’ll use civic data, much of it related to Louisville and Kentucky. The projects will be unveiled and a winner chosen in the final SND Workshop session.


1. The sessions/speakers

We’ve got a wonderful mix of sessions, and most bridge all platforms. We’ll talk conceptualization, collaboration, user experience, multi-media, responsive design, inspiration, illustration, and art directing. We’re majorly focused on taking news design into the digital age, and yet aren’t forgetting about improving the print products most of still design. And, we’ll help show you how make yourself a multi-platform designer. Building the schedule has been really tough – we have so many speakers I think are must-see sessions that I can’t schedule them without conflicting with others. It’s a good problem to have.

To register for SNDLOU, click here.

About Courtney Kan

is a designer at The Washington Post and the editor of

Leave a Reply