The biennial event was previously known as Design Event Festival, and runs until 20 October in various venues across Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland.
This year’s theme is Create:Digital, looking at how new technologies and ways of working are shaping designers’ practice, materials and techniques.
One of the highlights is set to be Illustrate, a showcase at the Globe Gallery in Newcastle of northern illustrators including Andy Singleton, Drew Millward, Jay Cover, Kristyna Baczynski and Matthew the Horse.
The Globe Gallery, which acts as the Northern Design Festival’s hub venue, will also play host to Design Event MART, a curated selling exhibition of 25 designers working in print, furniture, lighting, product and textile design.
Other hub hubbub will include The Transfiguration, an installation by Matt Pyke (one of the clever guy’s behind the Warp Records and Science Museum collaboration Universal Everything).
This will be on show alongside a generative artwork formed from tweets around the event, and an installation by Deadgood.
Elsewhere, the National Glass Centre in Sunderland will house Create:Digital – an exhibition of work by 25 designers working with digital technology such as 3D printing and coding. Design week faves including Bethan Laura Wood, Dominic Wilcox, Tord Boontje and Timorous Beasties will be showing pieces.
It’s in this space that visitors can see GPS shoes which can be programmed to give directions to your destination, operated through a click of the heels; an LED sign to help form the direction of pray for nuns; and an urn to hold ‘your digital remains’, according to organisers.
Aside from the main exhibition space, the Northern Design Festival also boasts a number of workshops, talks and other events, including the D&AD Creative Brief-In talk and workshop at Newcastle College; the Shipley Late series of talks from the likes of Michael Eden and Drummond Masterton and Realtimelapse animations at Hatton Gallery.
Northern Design Festival runs until 20 October at various venues across the north east. For more information visit www.design-event.co.uk