San Francisco Design Week (SFDW) is the largest design festival in the Bay Area which spans Silicon Valley, the city of San Francisco, East Bay, Marin and beyond. Each year the festival brings together over 50,000 designers, trade professionals, non-profits, entrepreneurs and business leaders for a week-long series of events, lectures, panel discussions, and studio visits. The week kicks off with Studio Crawls and community events and finishes with an Official Party and Design Hub which features exclusive programming, interactive exhibits and product displays.
Basic Information | Call for Proposals or Host an Event | Apply to the Studio Crawl | Design Sights: Retail, Restaurants, Exhibitions, Public Art | Exhibit at the Hub
Application Fees | Planning and Marketing | Contact Us | Application Forms
HOW DO I GET TICKETS TO ATTEND EVENTS? DO I NEED TO REGISTER FOR EACH EVENT?
Tickets go on sale May 2020. You will need to register/secure a ticket for each event you want to attend. Most events sell out prior to Design Week so map out your schedule and grab your tickets early!
WHAT ARE THE 2020 DATES? IMPORTANT DATES TO KNOW:
SFDW will take place June 16–25th, 2020
Design Hub at Pier 27 will be open to the public June 24 & 25th, 2020
Studio Crawls will take place June 16th & June 25th, 2020. We do not accept proposals for regular community events on Studio Crawl nights since everyone is out in the city going from Studio to Studio!
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF SF DESIGN WEEK?
Our goal is to raise public awareness of the impact that design has on innovation and explore the emerging disciplines driving design in San Francisco and around the world. It is an opportunity for the design savvy public to peek inside this creative force, and for creatives and designers to share knowledge with each other. Each year we create a public forum where citizens and designers can engage in a discussion about design and its role in our ever-evolving world.
WHO ORGANIZES SF DESIGN WEEK?
SFDW is organized by AIGA San Francisco, the professional association for design in partnership with IDSA, the Center for Architecture and AIA, SFFAMA, SEGD, SDN, IXDA, local consulates, design universities, neighborhood associations and museums.
WHO GETS INVOLVED?
SFDW has grown to represent a diverse and vibrant industry across many design disciplines. Each year the list of participants grows to include design studios, in-house design teams, galleries and art organizations, construction, local retail and restaurants.
WHAT IS CALL FOR PROPOSALS AND COMMUNITY HOSTED EVENTS?
SFDW is a community driven event and we have an Open Call for Proposals so you can host your own Official SF Design Week event or exhibition! A selection committee will review your proposal/application to make sure your offerings are in line with our mission. If approved, we will add your event to our official calendar, promote and market and manage registration for you. There is an application fee which covers the expenses affiliated with Call for Proposals. Events that are not approved will receive an application fee refund.
WHAT TYPE OF EVENTS TAKE PLACE?
The annual festival program contains over 225 events including workshops, exhibitions, panels, Studio Crawls happy hours, dinners, and open studios. The Design Hub at Pier 27 that features two days of exclusive programming as well as the Official Party.
I’M NOT A DESIGNER, BUT I WANT TO INVOLVE MY BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION, IS THERE A WAY FOR ME TO GET INVOLVED?
ABSOLUTELY! Consider submitting your business or organizations to our Design Sights Feature or submit a proposal to host an event that engages the design community.
Call for Proposals
Applying to Host an Event
WHAT IS THE DEADLINE TO SUBMIT A PROPOSAL?
March 15th, 2020
WHAT IS THE DEADLINE FOR EARLY BIRD SUBMIT A PROPOSAL/APPLICATION FEES?
February 15th, 2020
WHAT DATES ARE AVAILABLE TO HOST MY EVENT IN 2020?
Monday June 15th
Weds June 17th
Thursday June 18th
Friday June 19th
Saturday June 20th
Sunday June 21st (Fathers Day, get creative with Family Events!)
Monday June 22nd
Tuesday June 23rd
What dates are NOT available? June 16th, 24th, and June 25th are blackout dates and we do not accept proposals for events on those dates.
CAN I APPLY TO HOST MORE THAN ONE EVENT?
Absolutely! Take into consideration your teams bandwidth and the time and resources will be needed to produce an event. Ask yourself if one stellar event will have more impact than 2 or 3!
CAN I HOST MY CONFERENCE DURING SF DESIGN WEEK?
SF Design Week is a conference/festival in itself. Attendees enjoy the nature and purpose of our event and being able to attend many events throughout the week. Any proposals for conferences or multi-day events that limit attendees from attending other events will not be accepted.
WHAT INFORMATION DO I NEED BEFORE SUBMITTING MY APPLICATION?
To get started, review the application form and make sure that you have all the details before submitting. We ask that you only submit complete events as the information will be used to populate your online calendar event listing. Changes to your listing after submission may incur an Editing Fee
WHAT IF I STILL HAVE DETAILS TO FINALIZING BEFORE SUBMITTING MY APPLICATION BEFORE THE DEADLINE?
The deadline is crucial to give our team enough time to finalize your event details, create event ticketing pages and properly promote your event, as well as give attendees enough time to register and plan their week. We consider applications with date, location/venue, start/end time, description of your event and event image complete. If you’re still finalizing your panelist names fill in TBA and contact us after submitting your application firstname.lastname@example.org.
WE CAN ONLY HOST OUR EVENT ON A VERY SPECIFIC DATE BUT DON’T HAVE OUR EVENT DESCRIPTION. SHOULD I SUBMIT MY APPLICATION ANYWAY?
We need to review all the event details to make a decision about acceptance and to be able to properly promote your event. Partially submitted events will not be accepted.
Our overall strategy is to spread out topics throughout the week in order to create a rich experience for our attendees. For example, if multiple UX events are scheduled on a specific night, we may spread them across several days so that interested attendees can go to all of them, rather than have to choose just one.
Your application will be reviewed by a selection committee on a rolling basis. If the committee has questions about your application, you will be contacted via email so please make sure to include a contact name of someone available throughout the process.
Approved applications will be notified within 2 weeks of submission, at which time your application is considered “Approved” and changes should not be made or might incur edit fees.
We will work with you if there’s anything in your application that needs resolved so it’s more in line with our mission. Applications that are not approved will be refunded the application fee.
CAN I SUBMIT AN EVENT HOST APPLICATION IF I HAVEN’T SECURED MY VENUE YET?
We ask that you only apply once you have a venue in mind. In most cases you can place a “soft hold” on venues if they are held somewhere other than your studio, and confirm with the venue once your application has been approved by our selection committee.
DOES SFDW COVER MY EXPENSES FOR HOSTING AN EVENT?
Community Event Hosts who are accepted into this years program are responsible for all their own expenses. If providing such items is a financial burden, we encourage you to find donations from your clients, partners or sponsors whenever possible. You keep 100% of your event ticket sales, minus Eventbrite fees, so price your tickets accordingly to cover all your expenses.
DOES SFDW PROVIDE VOLUNTEERS OR STAFF FOR MY EVENT?
SFDW does not offer logistical support for your event. Community hosts are responsible for all logistics for your events which include check-in, set-up/clean-up, food/beverage, security, etc. You will be responsible for finding your own volunteers or utilizing your own staff. NOTE:Studio Crawl participants receive one contractor to work check-in and door security.
EVENT TITLE: NAMING YOUR EVENT
Event titles that are clear and direct tend to be the most successful as attendees will initially only see the event title on our calendar page. Titles should be short/brief: long titles get cropped on the SFDW site, so avoid being too descriptive and/or abstract.
CREATING YOUR EVENT DESCRIPTION
Like your event title, your event description should make it clear in the first paragraph what attendees will experience at your event, what they’ll get and why they should attend. Don’t bury the lead and make sure attendees know what your event is about in the first few sentences. Supporting information outlining schedule (when do doors open? when does the panel begin? is there a networking portion?), are you giving attendees branded gifts when they arrive? Will food or beverage be offered?
Keep it simple. Due to the responsiveness of our website, images should not include text or logos because it will get cropped off. If your event topic is interior design, use an image of a great interior. If your event is a bit more abstract, simple colors and patterns can work really well or illustrations. Remember, SFDW is for designers, so a strong, well-designed image is important. Don’t use the image to explain your event, use the description in the body copy of the page (see ‘Creating your event description’ above)
PREFERRED DATES & TIMES
SFDW is a highly curated event and each years festival has hundreds of events throughout the week. We do our best to give event hosts their preferred date and time, but sometimes we have to make adjustments based on the overall curation of the week.
A few things to keep in mind when thinking about your preferred event dates and times:
- Thursdays often have the most events to compete with. If you’re worried about competing events avoid Thursday night!
- You can also host an event earlier in the evening so that attendees can attend multiple events by stacking them. For example, if you host an event at 4:30 pm and end at 6 pm, attendees can make it to events that begin at 6:30 pm and 7 pm.
- Mornings, lunch events or afternoons are a great way to stand out from the evening events, and can be as simple as hosting coffee with your design team. We also welcome more structured events earlier in the day such as workshops and lectures.
- We recommend that you submit a few dates and times so that we can make sure you’re event isn’t scheduled against another event of a similar nature. Ultimately, we’ll always try to give you your top choice.
LENGTH OF EVENT
We recommend creating a sample schedule to determine the length of your event. For example, if you’re holding a panel discussion, consider both the check-in process, as well as discussion afterward and factor both into the total length of time of your event. Include a schedule in your event description on your application.
TICKETING DETAILS: FOR HOST APPLICATION
Ultimately you are responsible for setting your own ticket prices and keep all proceeds minus Eventbrite fees. If you want to discount for students or educators or have ticketing tiers, just include that information in the “Ticket Details” section and we’ll be sure to set that up when we create your event listing. You can also include information about your venue in this section. For example, if attendees will need to sign an NDA or check-into your event with a photo ID, please include these in your ticket details so we can properly communicate to your attendees when they register.
TICKET PRICING: FOR HOST APPLICATION
We highly recommend charging a minimum of $10 for your event as it helps cut down on the number of no-shows. Priced events have an average of 25% no-shows, while non-priced events have an average of 50% or more.
NUMBER OF TICKETS AVAILABLE: FOR HOST APPLICATION
Please indicate the actual number of tickets available. All events have a percentage of no-shows so we will add additional tickets into the registration system to make sure you hit your goal. For example, if you want 35 attendees, we will make 45 tickets available and you will have 35 attendees on the day of your event. If you have a very small space or are planning a dinner we won’t add additional tickets.
PRESS + VIP TICKETS: FOR HOST APPLICATION
We can set aside a number of “hidden” tickets for VIP and press. Check the box on the application form which will signal to us to set aside tickets for press + VIP requests
TICKETS FOR YOUR GUESTS: FOR HOST APPLICATION
This is your event! You can invite as many friends, colleagues, clients to your event as you’d like! Simply add them to your registration list (since you will be managing your own check-in)
DONATING YOUR TICKET SALES: FOR HOST APPLICATION
If you would like to donate your ticket sales to SFDW, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, simply check the box on the application. Donations allow us to continue to host the festival year after year in an expensive city that becomes more and more difficult to operate a non-profit. When you donate ticket sales, you’ll be given a sponsorship package for donated ticket sales with additional promotional benefits!
TICKET SALES PAYOUTS: FOR HOST APPLICATION
Hosts are given the opportunity to register for a direct payout a few days after your event is completed from Eventbrite, but must be set up before tickets go on sale and we highly recommend this feature. Hosts who do not set up their direct payout will receive a check mailed 30-60 days after the completion of your event because our team needs to process each payment. Set up your direct payout info and you’ll have your ticket revenue in a more timely manner!
Questions + Answers: Ticketing For Host Events
WHO HANDLES TICKETING FOR MY EVENT?
SFDW handles ticketing for your event through our Eventbrite system so that the ticketing process is consistent and streamlined for the user. Our team will set up an Eventbrite page for you under the SFDW umbrella to make it easier for attendees to register, however you will be given full access to your event registrations, attendee information and your ticket revenue.
DO I GET TO KEEP THE REVENUE FROM MY EVENTS TICKET SALES?
YES! You keep 100% of your ticket sales, minus the Eventbrite fees. Don’t need the cash? Hosts often donate their ticket revenue back to SFDW or donate it to a charity of their choice. If you would like to do so, simply “yes” box in the application when prompted.
HOW CAN I BE SURE THAT I WILL HAVE ATTENDEES?
Each year SFDW events tend to sell out quickly. Once your event is live, share the event to your network and with your organization. You can monitor your ticket sales through your Eventbrite page. We will add tickets to your listing to “oversell” in order to make sure that seats are filled. When filling out the host application, include your target amount of attendees. We will calculate available tickets based on historical no-show rates. Free events are not well attended so consider charging some sort of ticket fee. We offer free tickets to attendees where cost is a barrier.
I WANT A FULL HOUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE TO COME TO MY EVENT, SHOULD I MAKE MY EVENT FREE?
It may seem counter-intuitive, but free events tend to struggle the most in regards to attendance. Attendees get excited about events and register for the free events for free of missing out, but then flake. We highly recommend charging for your event to ensure a healthy turnout. Remember, you can donate your ticket revenue to SFDW or a charity of your choice!
Apply to be a Studio Crawl Host
Studio Crawl is a highly curated event produced by SF Design Week. The selection process is fierce so get your game on if you’d like to convince the selection committee you should be on the map and garner one of the coveted slots. Chosen studios will be assigned a night based on which neighborhood they are located in. For example, if you’re studio is in the Dogpatch, you’ll be assigned the same evening as all studios in that neighborhood. No exceptions as it detracts from the “crawl” experience and it’s easier for attendees when they can easily get to more than one studio.
We will coordinate the route, take care of promotion/marketing and send a contractor to manage check-in and security at the door. Your team is responsible for offering attendees an enjoyable experience once they step foot into your space!
Our goal is to focus attendees on very specific neighborhoods with the most studios within distance of each other so they can enjoy going from studio to studio. At this time, only studios within San Francisco will be considered. If you’re studio is outside of the city of SF, such as Oakland or South Bay, you can still host an open studio [link to open studio section below] as an independent event! (However, you will not be able to participate in the organized Studio Crawl due to distance constraints.) If you can gather enough studios to host a crawl, send us an email at email@example.com and let’s see what we can create together!
WHAT IS THE DEADLINE TO APPLY TO BE INCLUDED IN THE OFFICIAL STUDIO CRAWLS?
March 15th, 2020
WHAT ARE THE DATES OF THE STUDIO CRAWLS 2020?
Tuesday, June 16th, 2020
Thursday, June 25th, 2020
WHAT DOES SF DESIGN WEEK OFFER? WHAT AM I RESPONSIBLE FOR?
For the Studio Crawl, our goal is to provide at least one volunteer or contractor to manage check-in for your event. You are responsible for having staff or your own volunteers manage other aspects of your studio crawl like setting up/clearing out, entertaining your guests, etc.
WHY DOES SF DESIGN WEEK CHARGE ATTENDEES A TICKET FEE AND WHO GETS THE REVENUE FROM TICKET SALES?
Studio Crawls are a fundraiser for SFDW and the ticket sales are used by SF Design Week towards festival expenses. In return for participating you get exposure for your studio and are contributing to the local design community by giving attendees a peek into your behind the scenes. Many studio hosts use this as a recruitment tool to meet possible candidates face to face and gain interest in becoming a part of your team.
HOW ARE THE STUDIO CRAWL ROUTES PLANNED AND ORGANIZED?
We plan the Studio Crawl based on the locations of the majority of participating studios. Studios located in the same area will be assigned the same date.
WHAT IF MY STUDIO IS LOCATED OUTSIDE THE CITY OF SAN FRANCISCO OR IN A NEIGHBORHOOD WITHOUT OTHER PARTICIPATING STUDIOS?
If your studio is located outside San Francisco (East Bay, North Bay, South Bay) or in an area where there might not be many studios participating, you are not eligible to participate in the Studio Crawl at this time due to travel distance in between studios. We advise that your studio participate in an alternative design event or a dedicated Open Studio during SF Design Week.
HOW DO ATTENDEES GET AROUND TO EACH STUDIO?
We do our best to organize each Studio Crawl around neighborhoods that are accessible by public transportation, as well as by foot and by bike. Attendees will be moving from studio to studio so keep in mind that attendees will be coming and going throughout the evening. SFDW does not supply transportation.
HOW WILL VISITORS FIND OUR STUDIO?
Studio Crawl maps will be published a few weeks before SFDW begins and are available on the website for download. Each Studio will be provided with a SFDW poster to alert attendees that they’ve arrived at a Studio Crawl location. We encourage you to find innovative ways (banners, signs!) to let attendees know they’ve arrived!
WHY DOES MY STUDIO HAVE TO PAY A FEE TO APPLY TO HOST AN EVENT DURING SF DESIGN WEEK?
As a a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we rely on registration fees (admin fees), sponsorship, donations and the goodness of others to produce SFDW. The fees allow us to properly plan, organize and promote your event which includes processesing your application, publishing your event to our official calendar, marketing and attendee customer service. Thank you for your support!
To encourage timely registration, those who register early will receive a discounted fee, so make sure to register early! Preferred dates and time are awarded to applicants who submit complete applications on a first-come, first-served basis. We reserve the right to schedule events in order to avoid overlapping events with similar or competing topics.
IS THE APPLICATION FEE REFUNDABLE?
Application fees are non-refundable once an application is accepted. If your application is not accepted, 100% of your fee will be refunded.
We understand that sometimes changes are out of your control! Edits to an application that has already been approved by our selection committee will incur an editing fee. Fee’s start at $50 and there are additional charges for major edits.
I REPRESENT A NON-PROFIT, DO I STILL HAVE TO PAY AN APPLICATION FEE?
We offer a discounted registration fee for all non-profits to cover our admin costs of publishing and promoting your event. While it was previously waived completely for non-profits, growing costs have impacted our ability to operate in such an expensive city. If application fee or cost is still a barrier, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss options.
IS COST A BARRIER FOR YOUR ORGS PARTICIPATION?
As a community driven event, we want everyone to be able to participate in SFDW regardless of their economic footing. Thanks to our sponsors, we have a few spots reserved for those experiencing financial hardship, please fill out this application.
I WANT TO SUPPORT SF DESIGN WEEK AS AN OFFICIAL SPONSOR, HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?
If you’re interested in being an official sponsor of SFDW, please fill out the sponsorship form and a member of our team will set up a discovery call!
Exhibit at the Design Hub at Pier 27
WHAT IS THE DESIGN HUB AT PIER 27?
The Design Hub is two-days of exhibitors, programming, official party, awards and morethat reflect the years theme.
WHO ATTENDS THE DESIGN HUB EVENTS?
The attendees are a broad mix of people from creative, business, technology, media, education, and design-aware communities, and the general public from the Bay Area, national and international.
IS THE EXHIBITOR FLOOR OPEN TO THE PUBLIC?
The exhibitor floor is open to the public and free during the day on June 24th and 25th, 2020. The Official Party will be held on the evening of June 24th and is a ticketed event. Individual events that take place at the Design Hub are also ticketed events.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR PAST EXHIBITORS AT THE DESIGN HUB?
Past exhibitors have included Airbnb, Casa Castiglioni from Milan, Italy, Heavy Projects, StubHub, Salesforce UX, Galanter & Jones, Groupon, LOCZIdesign, California College of the Art & SJSU.
DOES MY EXHIBIT NEED TO ALIGN WITH THIS YEARS THEME?
It does not but many exhibitors curate their exhibit based on the theme.
WILL THERE BE PRESS AT THE EVENT?
Yes, we have an extensive press list and we will alert them of all participating exhibitors. If you have additional press you would like to invite, please send an e-mail to email@example.com
WHAT IS THE EXHIBITOR SPACE LIKE AND WHAT COMES WITH THE EXHIBITOR PACKAGE?
All exhibitor footprints are either against a wall or island configurations. There are no walls installed for the exhibitors (shared or otherwise), furniture or flooring. Each space comes with 500/watts of power and lighting. If you need additional lighting or wattage, rigging or other features there is an additional fee. Please note that the generator will be set up in the first few hours of load-in so power and lights may not be available right away.We work with an outside vendor for lighting, electrical, audio and rigging. Exhibitors may order additional services directly through our contracted vendor.
DO I NEED EXHIBITOR INSURANCE?
Each exhibitor is required to have a COI for $1,000,000.
WHAT SECURITY MEASURES ARE IN PLACE AT PIER 27?
We will have a security company at the venue throughout the duration of our rental.The doors will remain locked outside of event times. Only vendors and exhibitors will be allowed in with their badge. If you have electronic items at your exhibit (laptops, iPads etc.) they should be locked down and during open hours your space should be properly staffed to make sure your valuables are secured.
IS THE DESIGN HUB SIMILAR TO OTHER DESIGN FAIRS?
It’s less of a trade show vibe and more of an interactive, community event. You will be responsible for designing your entire exhibit along with any signage, flooring, walls or display including any hand outs or swag for attendees.
WILL I HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR PHOTOS/VIDEO?
If you wish to get specific shots of your exhibit we recommend hiring your own photographer.
WHEN IS LOAD-IN/SET-UP?
Load in is on June 23rd from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm. Our coordinator will work with you to schedule the best time for you to unload and set-up based on your plan as we can only have a few trucks loading in at a time. All exhibitors must be finished with their install by 8:00 pm on June 23rd. Exceptions will be granted with pre-approval but all set-up must be complete on the 23rd.
WHEN IS STRIKE?
Strike will begin at 4:30 pm on June 25th. Everything must be cleared out by 11:59pm. Due to venue policy, nothing can be left in the space after midnight or it will be disposed of and you will be charged a fee based on the number of items left.
WHAT TIME DO I NEED TO HAVE REPRESENTATIVES IN MY EXHIBIT BOOTH?
It’s best to be at your space for the duration of the Official Party June 24th from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm, and during peak hours on June 25th, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
DO YOU PROVIDE BOOTH SIGNAGE WITH MY COMPANY NAME?
No, most companies prefer to display their own signage to reflect their brand. You are welcome to bring your own signage from small plaques, pop-up banners, posters or step and repeats as long it fits within the specs of your space.
WHEN WILL I RECEIVE MY EXHIBIT ASSIGNMENT?
Design Sights Feature
Restaurants, Exhibitions, Retail
Design Sights showcases retail, restaurants, exhibitions, installations and public art that prove that San Francisco is one of the world’s preeminent design-driven cities. Submit to be listed on this years feature page and help us create a city-wide experience for the over 50,000+ attendees eager to interact with the city through the world-class design that can be found in coffee shops to sidewalk murals.
INSTALLATIONS & EXHIBITIONS
If you’re an artist, designer or an organization who wants to engage with SFDW this year there are opportunities to do so through art installations, window displays, or public projects. Installations can be specific to SFDW, or works that already exist that you believe will interest the design community.
RESTAURANTS, BARS, COFFEE SHOPS & RETAILS
If you’re a coffee shop, restaurant, bar, or retail shop, this is a great way to engage with SFDW and attract new people to your location. Each year thousands of people attend SFDW and we want to direct them to the very best that the city has to offer. Consider showcasing something design related on your menu, in your window or team up with a local designer to draw people in.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOSTING AN OFFICIAL EVENT AND THE DESIGN SIGHTS FEATURE?
Community Event Hosts is an approved event proposal which is published on our online calendar. The Design Sights locations are published and promoted through the online Design Sights feature page.
Planning & Marketing
WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND I CAN DO TO MARKET MY EVENT?
While we will be publishing your event on our official calendar, marketing on social media and distributing your event details through our digital newsletters, we advise you also help spread the word to your network! Promote your SFDW presence in advance via social media #sfdesignweek. Tweet/Instagram about the date of your event as soon as this information is available. Make a post about your SFDW week participation in your blog or on your Facebook page. Create an Instagram competition with free giveaways to increase the number of followers. Send out an email blast and invite your studio’s friends to join or spread awareness.
Once your application is approved, we’ll give you permission to use our identity to promote your event! To actively join the conversation and help us promote your brand, we encourage you to use SFDW’s handles, hashtags, and logo in your communication on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram:
Twitter Handle: @SFDesignweek
Still have questions? Contact us!
Read through all the FAQs but still have questions?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org