Design Week is resting, and we’ll be back soon

Dear readers,

Many of you were disappointed when it was announced that Design Week would be closing at the beginning of 2024. We were too! As the developers of the site, we just didn’t feel wild about getting the job of decommissioning the site. During a chat about the closure, a joking comment about making an offer quickly turned serious. We soon asked, “Could you put us in touch with the right people at Centaur because I think we could buy it?”

Then we saw Jeremy Myerson, the founder of Design Week, commenting that “Surely the Design Week brand could be saved and given new life in the era of 24/7 digital communication?” As friends with Jeremy, who also hails from Liverpool, his words solidified the idea in my mind. I remembered my early career struggles and saw this as a rare opportunity. With the right connections, I believed we could make this work.

You could consider this our wildest impulse buy.

You might wonder what qualifies us to publish for the design industry. We operate under two names: Interconnect, known for technology services and coding, and Standfirst, which provides integrated design and development, primarily for the publishing industry. Over the years we’ve worked with publications like The New Statesman, The Spectator and The Telegraph, gaining valuable insights along the way. We believe we can make this work through solid planning and execution.

We’re glancing backwards, but looking forward

We can’t deny the history and value of the Design Week brand. It’s been hugely important to many in the industry and is clearly much loved. However, there were good reasons why it closed. There’s no denying that bringing it back to its glory days is going to be a challenge. It’s also important to realise that the world today is a very different place to the one in which Design Week previously thrived.

So we have a plan.

Strategically our aim is to help designers sell their design skills, and to facilitate the job of design buyers to find that great design. Some of you will be in the business of selling your work as employees of an organisation, and some of you will be selling it as freelancers. Some of you will be running small studios and others big agencies. Buyers may be working at a small business needing a new brand, or with a huge international brand wanting a new design system for managing the implementation of a huge print and digital campaign. All of it matters and connecting the different sides of the buying and selling equation is critical.

We also intend to find ways of boosting individuals from all walks of life who’ve entered the industry, and finding ways for you to shine in an industry where, sometimes, connections can feel like they matter more than skill. If you have skill in design, we intend to find ways of making you shine brightly in the community.

And to help with all of the above we’re about to start recruitment. If you’re a recruiter, we’re already sorted, thanks, but if you’re an editor or a reporter who’d like to work with us we’ll have an online form available soon and will make an announcement very early next week.

But first tell us what you would like to see!

I’ve been trying to write this as a personal letter. Because I want you to know that there are real people here, who care about Design Week and want to see it add real value to the design community. The thing is, if we don’t serve you well, Design Week will just fade away. We need your help to ensure we serve you well.

Our job is to bring people together. But there are many different ways of doing that. Let us know in the comments what you’d be most excited about Design Week bringing to the market. No limits! We’ll read every single comment you leave. This way, you might just help shape the future of Design Week.

Yours faithfully,

David Coveney
Publisher at Design Week

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Comments
  • Nicola Jenkins May 31, 2024 at 5:50 pm

    I love this, let’s champion all designers from all walks of life but I personally get disappointed with the lack of ux and experience content, stories and work displayed out there! Let’s talk about meaningfu, impactful and even the invisible but brilliant user and customer experiences in the world.

    • David Coveney June 1, 2024 at 6:01 pm

      Hi Nicola! Lovely of you to leave a note here. We are *so* about this. As part of our research on this acquisition we read the Design Council’s report on the design economy. It showed that between 2010 and 2019 the digital design sector had grown by 138%. In our research we found that this sector is often somewhat sidelined even though, at £53.4bn in the UK economy, it adds up to more than 50% of the design economy.

      https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/our-work/design-economy/

  • Hon Lam June 1, 2024 at 6:23 am

    Am glad to hear reincarnation is in the works. Design Week has been instrumental with keeping me inspired and informed during rough times and employed with its life saving job boards.

    Advice for entering the market as a grad or a start-up, as well as the return of the annual Design Week awards publication would be most welcome.

    Kindest regards,
    Hon Lam.

    • David Coveney June 1, 2024 at 6:03 pm

      Thank you Hon for commenting. We’re intending to bring back the job boards, but it may not happen immediately.

      I’m hearing you on the subject of advice for startups and graduates. I’m remembering those early years of us going out there as designers and developers and it was tough, and we made lots of mistakes. Mistakes we can hopefully help others to avoid.

  • Matt Case June 3, 2024 at 10:06 am

    I’m sure there are thousands of creatives who will echo the same sentiment about Design Week – we’ve all utilised the job boards to help us get up and running in the early parts of our career, just as we all continue to monitor its fantastic articles and insights as sources of inspiration and knowledge. So to hear it is NOT being lost, means a great deal to many.

    As a small agency owner myself, it would be great if Design Week considered providing a project proposals portal that subscribers could access. I know it is a bit of a taboo topic to talk about free pitching – so a portal that presents businesses who are prepared to pay a small fee for agencies who enter a pitching bid for their work would be a better approach.

    • David Coveney June 3, 2024 at 12:16 pm

      Thanks Matt – I’m glad to hear that Design Week means a lot to you.

      My other job is running a small studio. I feel your pain and I think an untapped need is the facilitation of the connection between businesses who are buying design and those who are selling. Your idea’s very interesting and will be added to the ideas board. Thank you!

  • Carl St. James June 4, 2024 at 11:55 am

    It is great news to hear Design Week is to continue!

    As an educator I always looked forward to seeing the degree show articles as much as the networking events. I had a great time at several industry shows last year and would never have heard about them if not for Design Week.

  • Caroline Collett June 6, 2024 at 1:34 pm

    Having worked with Design Week for 30 years as a publicist, I really feel its absence now as the title that cares about and is informed about practices and agencies from an industry-insider point of view. Its finger-on-the-pulse, cross-market insights in terms of the full breadth of design sectors – latest thinking and innovations in each / who’s doing what – were unparalleled in ensuring we all had a truly current overview. It’s this voice of authority that’s really missed in this period of absence.

  • Murray Leslie June 8, 2024 at 5:13 am

    I too feel the absence of Design Week. Every day I see examples of slap-dash ‘good enough’ design, I enjoyed the insider-view, but I think your plan to showcase smaller, talented shops is an exciting idea! (Please do a parody on Fiverr!)

  • Ana June 11, 2024 at 7:39 am

    If I’m honest as a person who’s interested in the industry but not part of it I just have the need to be informed about the news and exhibitions related to design industry as simple as that, I’m from Mexico and we don’t have this kind of media covering that, or at least not in this scale. So what I am trying to say is that I’m glad for the effort of bringing back such a great space like this. Greetings.

  • Julie King June 11, 2024 at 9:00 am

    That’s great news about Design Week coming back! It’s a shame it had to go, but I’m glad someone stepped in to revive it. I’m curious to see how they plan to adapt the platform for the current design landscape. Especially their focus on connecting designers with design buyers sounds promising. Hopefully, they’ll find a way to recapture the energy and influence Design Week used to have.

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