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  • History

    The Seattle Design Festival (SDF), formerly known as Design in Public, 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 11 years. Past Festival themes have included: EMERGE (SDF 2021) 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 2023

    JOIN US AGAIN, THIS AUGUST, FOR OUR ANNUAL FESTIVAL!
    We cannot wait for this year’s celebration of design and the opportunity to showcase some of the amazing designers working to change our world, helping us reach our vision of more thriving and equitable communities.

    WAYS TO ENGAGE
    Volunteer your time in the summer to bring SDF 2023 to life!

    Respond to our Call for Proposals, which will go live in April, to become a Festival partner.

    Sponsor the Festival to demonstrate your commitment to the Seattle design community, and help us unleash the design thinker in everyone to illuminate Seattle’s challenges and ignite action. Be sure to commit before our Call launches in April to make the most of your benefits!

    Check out the 2023 SDF timeline for a high-level overview of what to expect, and when!

  • FAQ

    HOW DO I SUBMIT A PROPOSAL?

    Each year, we release a call for proposals, and our community responds with experiences, events, exhibits, and installations that address it. Our 2023 Call for Proposals will launch in April. On average, we have over 100 program partners a year, including not only designers and their firms, but also community groups, nonprofit organizations, government partners, and students. The most successful proposals come out of partnerships between designers and community groups, creating lasting relationships that live on past the festival and spark change in our city moving forward.

    HOW ARE PROPOSALS SELECTED?

    It’s simple! We look for proposals that directly relate to the theme and demonstrate the relevance of design thinking, empower communities to leverage design, and promote a culture of collaboration. We evaluate the quality and feasibility of each proposal: is it thorough or vague? How will you communicate your design process? Is it design-focused and accessible to all? Is the proposed format engaging and participatory? The Festival planning team reviews all proposals and provides feedback when sending out acceptance letters.

    WHAT SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE TO POTENTIAL SDF PARTNERS WHO HAVE QUESTIONS?

    The Festival planning team hosted virtual and in-person Q&A sessions prior to the close of our call for proposals. Be sure to sign up for the SDF Enews and follow the Festival on your preferred social platform(s)!

    The Festival Planning team has also put together resources to inspire and guide your proposal to be engaging, inclusive, and accessible.

    • Find Your Inspiration

    • Designing an Accessible and Inclusive Seattle Design Festival

    ARE THERE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH PARTICIPATING AS A FESTIVAL PARTNER?

    For-profit businesses are required to pay an entry fee to propose an installation or event. One of the most amazing things about the Seattle Design Festival is that we are able to produce our region’s largest design event, on a mostly free or sliding-scale basis for over 21,000+ attendees and counting, while still being truly community-driven and crowd-sourced.

    WHAT KIND OF FUNDING IS AVAILABLE TO PARTNERS?

    Funding support is available for Non-Profit/Individual/Student submitters only. Applications will be reviewed by the Festival planning committee. Support of up to $500 will be awarded to selected partners, shortly after Festival acceptance, from a total pool of $8,000.
    Special consideration given to:

    • Co-designed proposals that connect to community
    • Accessible experiences
    • First time applicants
    • Participatory experiences
    • Use of repurposed materials
    • Thought-provoking and innovative design
    • Cross-disciplinary collaboration

    HOW CAN I VOLUNTEER?

    To be added to our volunteer list for short-and long-term opportunities for next year’s festival, sign up on our volunteer page.

    HOW ELSE CAN I HELP?

    The Festival is only possible through generous support from our donors and sponsors. Learn more about our sponsorship opportunities and other ways to give.

    I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS.

    Contact info@seadesignfest.org with any additional questions.