Design Network North, a hub for innovative design in the North East, is to launch on 27 March.
Funded by regional development agency One North East, Design Network North will assess innovative design projects, provide funding, and act as a broker for designers in the region.
It is hoped that the network will eventually be housed in the £13m Design Centre North in Gateshead’s Baltic Business Centre.
The initiative will be launched by designer Wayne Hemingway and more than 200 delegates from the design and business community.
Design Network North will be co-ordinated by RTC North and supported by the universities of Newcastle, Northumbria and Teesside.
An agreement with the Design Council is set to be signed, which will formalise close collaboration and enhance access for designers and companies to a number of Design Council initiatives in the region, such as Designing Demand and Public Services By Design.
The North East hosted Design Council and One North East initiative Dott 07 two years ago.
David Godber, deputy chief executive of the Design Council, says, ‘The North East is one of the most dynamic regions when it comes to strategically promoting design and its benefits in creating better businesses and more sustainable creative communities.
‘The Design Council is delighted to be a partner in Design Network North and we look forward to helping it grow and thrive.’
Design Network North project director Mike Dowson says, ‘Design Network North has been established to support innovative companies in the development of high-value world-class products, and the regional commitment through investment in a design centre for the North will be an excellent catalyst for the region.’
Malcolm Page, deputy chief executive of One North East, says, ‘The Design Centre North will be a flagship, state-of-the-art facility for business development focused on the use of design, innovation and product development.
‘We know that for this region to realise its full capabilities, businesses across all sectors must embrace design and the benefits it can bring.’