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A Hopscotch Design Festival primer 

Whether you treat it as an appetizer for the music festival or a standalone destination, the inaugural Hopscotch Design Festival offers the same overwhelming variety as the original Hopscotch. From CEOs and city planners to entrepreneurs and organizers, a mix of 36 guests speak at more than 25 events Wednesday and Thursday. Here are a dozen must-see talks geared toward general appeal.

ELLE LUNA

This San Francisco painter has built apps, but more interesting is her "livable art," which she described to TechCrunch.com as "paintings you can also throw in the washing machine." (Raleigh Convention Center, Sept. 3, 9:30 a.m.)

SARAH MILLER CALDICOTT

Lots of companies offer corporate innovation training. But only Caldicott's Chicago-based consultancy Power Patterns is helmed by the great-grandniece of supreme innovator Thomas Edison, for whatever that's worth. (Raleigh Convention Center, Sept. 3, 10:30 a.m.)

MITCHELL SILVER & MATT TOMASULO

The former Raleigh Chief Planning and Development Officer, Mitchell Silver was appointed Commissioner of New York City's Department of Parks and Recreation this year. He joins here with Matt Tomasulo, the DIY urban designer behind innovative projects such as Wänder Box and Walk Raleigh. They make for a compelling, contrasting pair. (Clearscapes, Sept. 3, 1 p.m.)

JOHN HOLMES & SCOTT CRAWFORD

Food innovation and sustainability are of vital concern for a growing, changing Triangle, and this Raleigh duo—the developer John Holmes and the chef Scott Crawford—face the problem head-on in new restaurant ventures.

(CAM Raleigh, Sept. 3, 1 p.m.)

BRIAN SINGER

Brian Singer is a design manager at Pinterest and a Facebook alum; consider him qualified to shed light on the mysterious art of making a social network catch

. (CAM Raleigh, Sept. 3, 2 p.m.)

PIERCE FREELON

With producer Apple Juice Kid, the writer and musician Pierce Freelon founded UNC's Beat Making Lab, a mobile music production school that has ranged as far afield as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

(CAM Raleigh, Sept. 3, 2 p.m.)

GARRETT GROHMAN

Garrett Grohman speaks on the panel "Funding New Ideas." An A&R manager at crowdfunding site Indiegogo, he might be considered a folk hero for the indie auteurs around here

. (CAM Raleigh, Sept. 3, 3 p.m.)

ANNIE ATKINS

Annie Atkins worked as Lead Graphic Designer on

The Grand Budapest Hotel, a film that—true to Wes Anderson form—was almost pure design. (Lincoln Theatre, Sept. 4, 11:30 a.m.)

TRISTAN SHONE

Drawing on his background as a mechanical engineer, musician Tristan Shones makes "industrial metal" literal. He uses custom-designed machines and robotics to create his infernal noise.

(Kings, Sept. 4, 11:30 a.m.)

SUSAN K. NUTTER

Under Susan Nutter's directorship, N.C. State's library system has become a national pacesetter, first with the Learning Commons and then with the 2013 opening of the James B. Hunt Jr. Library.

(The Stockroom, Sept. 4, 11:30 a.m.)

CLIFF BLESZINSKI

Not only did "CliffyB" create the powerhouse video-game franchise

Gears of War as a former design director at Epic Games, but he is always good for a provocative, opinionated quote, too. (Raleigh Convention Center, Sept. 4, 12:30 p.m.)

Rob Cotter

Ever wondered what's up with ELFs, those solar-powered bike-pods zooming around the streets of Durham? Rob Cotter at Organic Transit is the man behind them.

(COR Museum, Sept. 4, 12:30 p.m.)

This article appeared in print with the headline "Functional design"

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