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SFDW Community Proposals COVID Update

Community Hosts who have already been accepted or are awaiting approval, we’ve put together a quick FAQ below!

We’ve recently made the decision to pivot due to the current circumstances around COVID19 and take the festival online as the world’s first city and region hosting a Virtual Design Week. This is an opportunity to come together to reimagine how we gather, interact, engage and celebrate design in a time of uncertainty. While this was a daunting decision it was the right thing to do for our community under the current situation and we thank you for your patience as we set this plan in motion.

We invite the Bay Area Design and International Community together to offer digital programming, content, virtual tours, installations and exhibits and experiences to respond and reimagine how design can solve problems society faces in this new reality.

While we don’t yet have all of the details worked out, we are in conversation with partners (including Dezeen) and members of the community to find creative solutions. If your company or team wants to contribute skills, resources, ideas, funding or solutions for this transition, please contact us

We believe that as designers, this is exactly the type of situation where we can rise up and show the world what the Bay Area Design Community is capable of! After all, the future started here!


How is SF Design Week transitioning to a virtual event?

We’ve narrowed it down to two options for executing a digital design festival. We are very close to finalizing decisions around platforms and experiences, we just need a few more days to connect the dots and bring all our ideas and resources together under one solution. Keep an eye out for an email in the next 10 days with more specific details. The ultimate goal is to convene under one platform to make it easy for hosts and attendees alike. All events will be live or pre-recorded for the June festival. No fancy equipment needed.

What resources are available to us for making the transition to digital online format?

We’re working on partnering with a platform where all the events can take place online in one place for the best user experience. You won’t need to purchase any equipment, you’ll be able to use what you’re using now for online team meetings such as a laptop or desktop mic and camera.

Until we finalize a solution (we’re close!), plan to host your event using technology readily available to your team such as Zoom, Crowdcast, Oculus as examples or if you have an internal tech or video team you can work with.

If you’re planning a VR or Emerging Technology experience, you’ll need to use your own equipment and technology but we are working on securing a platform where it can be easily accessed by attendees.

I already applied to host an event during SFDW2020. Is my event acceptance still valid?

Yes! If you’ve received an email confirmation, you’re all set. Discuss with your team about how you might transition your event to an online event, pre-recorded video, webinar, virtual reality experience or get creative! We’ll be sending a form in a few weeks to collect info about how you’re transitioning your event to online or virtual experience. You will not need to apply again, we’ll just be requesting additional details.

What if I want to change topics or date/time?

We will be sending you a form in the coming weeks to update any details you’d like to change about your event. We understand that with the change in circumstances you might want to pivot your topic. Most community hosts are keeping the topic they originally proposed so this is only for hosts who are inspired by recent events to change course.

We recently submitted our event proposal, but have not been notified of acceptance.

We have experienced a slight delay in reviewing proposals due to the COVID19 shelter in place, however we are in the process of reviewing your application. We are sending out acceptances this week!

Can sessions be recorded?

Yes! Our plan is to record all sessions and make them available on You will have an opt-out option for proprietary materials or sessions.

Can I still charge a fee for attending my event?

This question is a little more difficult to answer. The short answer is more than likely yes, however the bigger consideration is whether or not during COVID19 the community is able to pay for access to events during this challenging time. This is definitely an area we’d like to hear from you about, so please remember to take our survey at the bottom of this page. One possibility is that online workshops or webinars possibly charge an access fee but panels, happy hours, networking events and lectures be offered to the community for free.

What about the Official Party, Awards and Exhibitors?

We’re reimagining how our large main events will take place with creative virtual solutions and working with partners to realize this year’s vision. We’re looking at VR/AR/XR options and platforms which support live streaming and attendee engagement. Do you have suggestions for format, access to emerging technology, creative ideas or does your design team want to host an experience?

What about studio crawls?

We are working on finalizing a plan to livestream these to transition to virtual in June! Possibilities include assigning a time slot for each studio where you can do a show-n-tell, create an experience, host a DJ for a party like atmosphere, or even a “variety show” to entertain attendees and allow them to get to know your team and capabilities. If your team has ideas around transforming Studio Crawls to a digital platform, please contact us at

What about Press?

As the first design festival to go virtual, we’re already receiving a lot of interest from the press and we will continue to actively promote your events and projects as features! We are also looking for VR/AR/XR experiences and projects to promote to the press as Official Projects to showcase our Virtual Festival and on Dezeen.

Will there be any in-person events this year?

Possibly, but not in June! Depending on city and state requirements, we would consider a series of San Francisco Design Week “Pop-Up” events near the end of the year. Interested 2020 SFDW Community Hosts will be given the opportunity to host an in-person event during that time (once we get the all clear!). These end of year events are not a replacement for hosting in June and only event hosts who have contributed online in June will be considered for pop-ups.

How is SFDW participating with Dezeen and how do we get our event or brand featured?

We confirmed participation with Dezeen a few weeks ago to be featured on their website in June. We will be working with them to select programming from SF Design Week to be featured on their website. We’re looking for Bay Area brands who are launching a project or initiative or who are using VR, AR, XR or other emerging technologies for their SF Design Week event/project! Contact us at if you would like to be considered for the feature!

Our studio is struggling due to COVID19 and we’re unable to make the transition to digital format. What are our options?

We hear you. These are tough times for us all. Consider writing a blog post for with a carousel of your work so we can promote your brand and interview your founder or thought leaders. Contact us at so we can discuss options and find out how we can help each other.

Does San Francisco Design Week need any help?

Yes! We’re a small team and are now facing additional challenges. We are looking for motivated teams and project leads! We’re in uncharted territory but believe together we can do this! We’re talking to the community about options, creative ways to use existing technology and more. If your team has ideas on ways to make this transition successful or virtual project ideas we’d love to collaborate!

We’re a small non-profit and like many, struggling to survive in an increasingly expensive city. We’d like to continue producing this regional festival for the coming years. Does your company have a sponsorship, marketing or recruiting budget and would like to hear more about opportunities for sponsorship or donating to our cause? Contact us here.

What specific projects does SFDW need help with?

A few ideas for Features:

  • Instagram Story Takeovers
  • New Languages: Words/Concepts reframed through playful distortion as a crowdsourced exhibition of graphic typefaces and words/concepts to reveal new layers of meaning. Intentionally distorting language of established concepts to offer new truths – perspectives, or provocative, and unexpected interpretations.
  • AR project that can be printed at home during Shelter in Place which utilizes the Facebook Camera QR code reader.
  • Studio Playlists
  • Generous Intentions / Generative Inventions Digital Exhibition: Daily Objects- reimagined through the lens of generative design
  • Design for Movements or Disaster: Design Sprints
  • Oculus Experiences or other emerging technologies for SF Design Week Attendees
  • Digital Thank You: Design Digital Gifts for Attendees and Volunteers

  • Contact information:

    If you have questions about your event or proposal contact Maria

    If you have ideas or a team who would like to help by offering ideas for going virtual, resources or products which might help or are interested in pitching in on a project or feature, contact

    Please fill out the survey below, we’d like to hear from you! Thank you again for your patience as we pivot. We will keep you updated as details emerge. We’re looking forward to celebrating Bay Area Design with you in June!


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