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  • History

    Design in Public’s flagship program, the Seattle Design Festival (SDF) was founded in 2011 to celebrate all the ways that design makes life better for Seattle, and to nurture relationships among designers, citizens, city leaders, and future-thinking business innovators. SDF is the largest design-related event in the Pacific Northwest, gathering 120+ partners and over 30,000 attendees to 80+ citywide events for the past 10 years. Past Festival themes have included: About Time (SDF 2020) BALANCE (SDF 2019), TRUST (SDF 2018), POWER (SDF 2017), Design for Equity (SDF 2015), Design in Motion (SDF 2014), and Beneath the Surface (SDF 2011). To learn more about past Festivals, visit our Festival Archive page. 

  • SDF 2021: EMERGE
    This year’s festival theme, EMERGE, seeks to inspire action, addressing the consequences of the pandemic to nurture new possibilities. Emerging is a process of adaptation, of transforming the way we interact, collaborate, and create. How can community-driven design strategies carry us forward? How will we emerge better?
    This year’s festival will happen exclusively outside through our Block Party, a two-day street fair, August 21-22. Pending permitting, the 2021 Seattle Design Festival (SDF) will be hosted at Lake Union Park and will feature Built Installations and Pop-Up experiences from our community partners.
  • FAQ

    WHAT IS THE FIRST STEP IF I HAVE AN IDEA FOR AN EXPERIENCE OR PROGRAM?

    The 2021 SDF Call for Proposals is open until May 7. We invite problem solvers, innovators, and makers of all backgrounds and skill levels to propose an event.  You don’t need to be a professional designer to propose a program or installation for the Seattle Design Festival.

     

    HOW ARE PROPOSALS SELECTED?

    We are looking for proposals that explore what it means to EMERGE into 2021, demonstrate the relevance of design thinking, empower communities to leverage design, and promote a culture of collaboration.

    Successful proposals will:

    • -Highlight the value of the design process
    • -Provide an opportunity for the community to participate in design processes or influence design outcomes
    • -Propose design Solutions to urgent community problems
    • -Inspire action
    • -Showcase and celebrate design and our greater design community

     

    WHAT FINANCIAL SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE TO FESTIVAL PARTNERS?
    Support is available based on need, and the impact of the proposed Installation or
    Pop-Up Experience. To learn more about this opportunity and how to apply, contact Annalee Shum.

     

    HOW MIGHT COVID-19 IMPACT THE 2021 SDF?

    We are optimistic about our plans for an outdoor festival in August and are moving forward with our call for proposals for built installations and pop-up programming. We are also closely monitoring the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to align with what is allowed under the Washington State Safe Start Phases and by the City of Seattle.

    Pending permitting, the 2021 Seattle Design Festival (SDF) will be hosted at Lake Union Park and will feature installations, activities, demonstrations, and performances from our community partners. Updated guidance from the state is likely in early March, and an administrative decision is expected from the Seattle Special Events Committee by May. SDF will continue to communicate any updates with our sponsors and partners. We are also working on the following contingency plans to ensure that we are able to celebrate the Seattle design community and unleash the design thinker in everyone.

    • -Limited/timed entries
    • -Change of venue

     

    WHY ISN’T SDF OFFERING VIRTUAL ENGAGEMENTS IN 2021?

    While SDF is so proud of the pivot our partners made for the 2020 Festival we have made the decision to develop the 2021 Festival as an in-person experience. Festival organizers recognize the strong need to come together and gather. In order to allocate the resources required to deliver a safe in-person Festival, a decision was made not to move forward with virtual programming. However, we are exploring ways to document and capture Festival programs in an online format.

     

    HOW CAN I VOLUNTEER?

    To be added to our volunteer list for short-term opportunities during the festival, sign up on our volunteer page.

     

    HOW ELSE CAN I HELP?

    The Festival is only possible through generous support from local partners.
    Sponsorship Opportunities can be found online.

     

    I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS.

    Contact info@designinpublic.org with any questions.

  • SDF 2020: About Time

    2020 was a big year in many ways– the Seattle Design Festival  turned 10! Our anniversary came at a pivotal moment in time. 2020’s SDF theme, About Time, sought to ponder past, present and future at a unique moment of transition for the city, the region and the world. Instead, it confronted the present reality of a global public health crisis and the need to address and dismantle racist systems. Priorities are shifting, and the way that we collaborate has changed.

    It is About Time for real, meaningful change.

    The Seattle Design Festival still took place August 15-23, 2020 with:

    • – live-streamed webinars and discussions
    • – ongoing virtual programming, available throughout the Festival
    • – physical displays throughout the city that honored physical distancing guidelines
    • a weekly Thinkercyze, a virtual design challenge developed by the Festival planning team

     

    Our Festival partners submitted amazing programming that sought to address the challenges of our communities, inspiring action through design.

    Schedule at a Glance can be found here.

    Year in Review can be found here.