unnamed (6)Detroit’s annual citywide celebration of design, the Detroit Design Festival (DDF), launches Sept. 23 with a kick-off party that will set the stage for 20 more events putting Detroit’s creative community on display Sept. 23-28, 2014.
Presented by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3), and supported by the Knight Foundation, the fourth-annual Detroit Design Festival spans all design disciplines and brings together commerce, culture, education, and entertainment with a full, varied program of exhibitions, openings, installations, shows, talks, open studios, fashion shows, product previews, performances and workshops.
This year DDF will also explore the juxtaposition between design and art when the six-day festival intersects with DLECTRICITY Sept. 26-27.
“The Detroit Design Festival is thrilled to join forces with DLECTRICITY this September,” saysMatthew Clayson, DC3’s director. “A collaboration between the Detroit Creative Corridor Center and Midtown Detroit bringing DDF and DLECTRICITY together in the same week was a simple decision. We have an exciting week planned, which will only further reinforce Detroit’s reputation as an internationally well-known center of design.”
With the addition of DLECTRICITY to its schedule, DDF expects a stellar year for attendance. Hundreds of designers and creative practitioners are expected to connect with up to 170,000 consumers during the six-day festival.
This year’s Detroit Design Festival is its most concentrated to date with little more than 20 design events, which will take place in six core clusters at venues along Detroit’s Creative Corridor, from Downtown Detroit to New Center, in Eastern Market and in neighborhoods throughout Detroit.
Highlights slated for the 2014 DDF include:
Tues., Sept. 23: Detroit Design Festival Kickoff Party: 6-10 p.m. (A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education, College for Creative Studies, floor 11, 485 W. Milwaukee St.) DDF’s official kickoff party will include an automotive themed Design Expo that will spotlight Detroit’s world-class design. Featuring local design associations, professionals and business ventures in Detroit Creative Corridor Center’s network, the expo will showcase the significant impact of Detroit’s burgeoning design industry. Enjoy cocktails, appetizers, and live entertainment with 1,000 fellow designers and design enthusiasts at this free event, which is open to the public. Get tickets at
Wed., Sept. 24: The Toyota Lecture Series: 6-8 p.m. (Wendell W. Anderson, Jr. Auditorium, College for Creative Studies Walter and Josephine Ford Campus, 201 E. Kirby) DDF welcomes International Design Consultant Carmela Spinelli who lectures extensively on design, fashion history and the fashion business, to the Toyota Lecture Series. Spinelli has spoken at the Beijing Institute of Fashion, Fashion Forward Dubai, and the Centro de Arte y Cultura in Honduras. She currently holds the position of fashion historian and coordinator of international special projects at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Spinelli has also served as associate chair of the department of fashion design at Parson’s The New School of Design under renowned chair Tim Gunn. The Toyota Lecture Series in Design was established through a generous $1 million endowment gift to the College for Creative Studies from Toyota Motor Company. This event if free and open to the public. For more information, please
Thurs., Sept. 25: Eastern Market After Dark: 7-11 p.m. (Eastern Market). This self-guided evening tour provides a once-a-year opportunity for guests to explore more than 30 creative venues. Eastern Market is often recognized as the food hub of Detroit, bustling with Saturdaymorning shoppers. After dark a different hustle takes over the neighborhood, a creative movement hidden in lofts, studios and galleries in the market. The night tour will open the doors to studios, galleries, artists’ residencies, hacker spaces, shops and letterpress studios. The evening will give guests a chance to explore the market often not experienced. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit
American Institute of Architects (AIA) Detroit: Celebration of Architecture: 7-11 p.m. (Shed 3, 2934 Russell St.) AIA Detroit’s annual architecture awards celebrate quality local design. This year’s event will feature lighting installations, craft cocktails, artisan Detroit food culture tastings, video projections, and architecture-inspired runway fashion shows. This event takes place during Eastern Market After Dark. Tickets are $35 ($15 with student ID) and admission is free after 9 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit
Fri., Sept. 26: DDF Design Crawl: 4:30 to 8:00 p.m. (Downtown) With 32 company relocations to Detroit in four short years, the City’s design community is ripe with bustling businesses. Downtown Detroit is home to a growing concentration of design service providers. Take a ride on the People Mover and enjoy a curated self-tour through Detroit’s hottest design studios, touring events, open houses and installations taking place at stops near the Grand Circus Park, Times Square, Broadway, Cadillac Center, and Financial District stations. Seasoned veterans and the new kids on the block, such as Anya Sirota + Akokai, Kraemer Design Group, Gyro Creative, Workbuild HQ, the Knight Foundation, Skidmore Studio, AIREA, Erick and Israel Nordine, AIGA, Fortress Studio, and Gensler will give festival goers behind-the-scenes tours of Detroit architectural gems, award-winning design studios, and more. DDF Design Crawl is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit
DLECTRICITY presented by DTE Energy: 7 p.m.-Midnight (Midtown Detroit) Detroit’s nighttime festival of art + light, DLECTRICITY will feature 35 world-renowned and emerging artists whose leading-edge works of art will illuminate Midtown Detroit – from the Detroit Institute of Arts to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Thousands of visitors of all ages will be mesmerized by this free, two-night “Nuit Blanche” event from 7 p.m. to midnight Friday, September 26 and Saturday, September 27. At DLECTRICITY’s core, DDF will host a Design Village, which will feature the work of dozens of Detroit’s independent designers. For details, please visit Produced by Midtown Detroit, Inc.
Sat., Sept. 27: Youth Innovation Center: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (College for Creative Studies) The DDF Youth Innovation Center lets kids express their creativity in an open capacity. Open to kids of all ages, the event will house various fun and engaging activities that promote problem solving and teach kids about creative career paths. Featured programming includes: Kidpreneur web design, game development and Minecraft challenges, a comic book workshop, fashion design challenges, a chance to help build a Heidelberg installation, live screen printing and several other exciting activities perfect for the whole family. For more information, please
DLECTRICITY presented by DTE Energy: 7 p.m.-Midnight (Midtown Detroit) Detroit’s nighttime festival of art + light returns for a second electrifying evening. See works of art by 35 international, national and local artists that will illuminate iconic Midtown Detroit for thousands of visitors of all ages during this free, outdoor event Saturday, September 27 in Midtown Detroit.Saturday night also features the DLECTRICITY Light Bike Parade where thousands of cyclists are expected to bike a 4-mile route through Midtown Detroit, adding extra light and energy to the streets. Weekend programming also includes performances and artist talks. The DDF Design Village at DLECTRICITY will feature the work of dozens of Detroit’s independent designers for all to enjoy. For details, please visit Produced by Midtown Detroit, Inc.
Sun., Sept. 28: Light Up Livernois Encore/DDF Closing Party: 12-9 p.m. (Livernois Community Storefront, 19410 Livernois) Entrepreneurs, artists and designers from Detroit are joining forces to present a block party on Detroit’s historic Avenue of Fashion. The afternoon will feature design, art, installations, exhibitions, shopping and entertainment. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit
Detroit is home to the highest concentrations and quantities of commercial and industrial designers of all U.S. metropolitan regions. The Detroit Design Festival was created by DC3 as a vehicle to further position Detroit as a global center for independent design and creative innovation.
In its first three years, the Detroit Design Festival has hosted more than 230 design events, attracting 40,000 attendees to dozens of unique Detroit neighborhoods. More than 300 venues throughout the city were activated for fashion shows, lectures, installations, exhibitions, pop-up retail and other activities. An independent study conducted by researchers at London’s Victoria Albert Museum revealed many participating businesses recorded revenue spikes during the 2012 Detroit Design Festival.
Watch the brief video below to see highlights fromDDF 2013:

Detroit Design Festival 2013 Video
The Detroit Creative Corridor Center is designed to support the growth of Detroit’s creative economy by delivering business acceleration and attraction services and developing signature programming tailored specifically to creative professionals’ needs.
DC3 extends business acceleration services to Detroit’s creative community in partnership with TechTown and the region’s business incubators; helps existing businesses realize the potential of concentrating and growing operations in Detroit’s Creative Corridor through leading business attraction specific to the needs of the creative and design sectors; and develops unique programming that strengthen networks between creative practitioners in Southeast Michigan while reinforcing their essential role as a social and economic change agent.
DC3 is a partnership between Business Leaders for Michigan and the College for Creative Studies. It receives funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan, The Kresge Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Surdna Foundation. It also generates a portion of its revenue through fee-based consulting work.
DDF 2014


DDF 2014
DDF 2014
Images from dPop!, Light Up Livernois and Eastern Market After Dark in 2013. Please click herefor more high resolution photographs from DDF by John Singleton and Mark Hall.