Festival for Detroit's creative community has designs on building on last year's debut
The second version of the Detroit Design Festival arrives next month with a mission similar to last year's — match designers with opportunities — but with locations and events that will be more condensed.
The Sept. 19-23 festival, managed by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center — a partnership between Business Leaders for Michigan and the College for Creative Studies — is a multiday networking event for designers and other creatives in metro Detroit.
The potential benefits, such as connections to venues and businesspeople, are developed on behalf of participating designers by the creative corridor team.
"Introductions are brokered online, and our team helps facilitate those to where they can grow offline, too," said Creative Corridor Director Matt Clayson.
The creatives, who range from graphic designers to musicians, many times are independent and lack resources. They are encouraged to fill out online profiles noting their needs and abilities. The Creative Corridor Center then can pair them with business owners or other people who can use their services.
Success stories from last year include Liz Kerner, who saw her freelance work double as a result of a letter-press printer workshop she held at the 2011 festival.
Despite stories such as Kerner's, last year "lacked the critical mass that it needed because it was so spread out, both in density and over time," Clayson said.
The events will be larger this year, he said. Because the Detroit Creative Corridor Center doesn't ask people to pre-register, an expected head count isn't yet available.
Clayson's team aims to draw 10,000 to 15,000 people and 200 designers. The budget for the festival is about $40,000.
Clayson expects most of last year's sponsors, including Quicken Loans Inc., to return. New sponsors this year include MARS Advertising Inc. and Michelin North America Inc.
Clayson said he plans on plenty of local advertisers attending, including Campbell-Ewald Co., Webber Shandwick, Organic Inc., McCann Erickson and TEAM Detroit.
"It's already on their employees internal calendars," Clayson said.
For more information about the Detroit Design Festival, visit detroitdesignfestival.com.