Keynote Spotlight

Hayley Hughes

Design Lead – IBM’s Design Language

Mike Abbink

IBM Brand Experience and Design

Petri Heiskanen

Principal Designer, Idean

Evolving the Design Language at Big Blue

In 2012, IBM, the 105-year old information technology company, set out a bold vision: To flood its ranks with hundreds of designers and train its entire workforce—some 377,000 employees worldwide—to think, work, feel like designers. In this keynote – Hayley, Mike and Petri will share their insider views on the IBM design transformation, organizational obstacles, and the evolving philosophy of their design language system.


Hayley is a Design Lead for IBM’s Design Language. Based in Austin, she speaks to organizations like SXSW, Grace Hopper, Monotype, InVision, IDSA, and Adaptive Path on design. Her work is showcased on IBM’s “26 Innovations by 26 Innovative Women” and she is a certified IBM Design Thinking Leader. When she’s not focused on the language, Hayley works with IBM’s Executive Women’s Council to create awareness of unconscious bias and its impact on business. Working at one of the largest tech companies in the world to solve problems at scale, Hayley cares about how big business can add more diverse design seats in leadership, break down organizational silos, and encourage everyone to care deeply about the details of good design.
Mike is the designer behind IBM’s new corporate typeface, IBM Plex. As the Executive Creative Director at IBM, Mike has more than 23 years of experience in creative direction, strategic thinking and graphic design for brand experience, identity, packaging and interactive media. Before coming to IBM, he’s worked at design studios working with great brands like Nike to develop their Niketown Honolulu Store; at Apple years ago designing packaging for OS X, G5 and the iSight Camera; at Wolff Olins leading the design of the Microsoft Office brand and Belkin logo to mostly recently the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), where he led the design for the Matisse Cut-Outs exhibition.
Petri is Idean’s Principal Designer and member of Design Leadership Team. His mission is to help Idean’s designers around the world reach new heights in quality and creativity. As an enthusiastic member of any creative team, Petri thrives under pressure. A world class creative thinker with a burning desire to keep pushing boundaries, he is in constant pursuit of delivering solutions that exceed client expectations. Petri partnered early on with IBM to help craft and deliver their design language.