About Design Philadelphia


With over 120 events over nine days, this year’s DesignPhiladelphia festival is jammed packed with so many incredible exhibits, talks, and parties – it will be hard to choose – but it will be easy to navigate with our new DesignPhilly App.  So grab your phone and download it TODAY! 

The festival will kick off October 3, 2018 at Bok in South Philadelphia, which will serve as a central hub for curated exhibitions and programming with a focus on shining spotlights on Philadelphia designers and companies. The kick-off party ticket includes a 4p.m. keynote with Paula Scher from Pentagram in the Bok auditorium.  Immediately following her talk, guests will experience the DesignPhiladelphia Exhibit Gallery and later enjoy delicious food, drinks and views on the iconic Bok Bar rooftop. Get your tickets here! Check out the Schedule for everything you need to know about who, what, when, and where.  Here are a few highlights about what's new this year.

FESTIVAL CAMPAIGN:  Design Purpose.  

This year we partnered with the incredible team at Cohere to create a campaign for this year's festival: Design Purpose focuses on the intention, process, and the functionality of design. One of the most compelling aspects of DesignPhiladelphia is that we collaborate with our design schools, and highlight the extraordinary young talent and innovation happening right in our own backyard. As a result, the content is always aspirational, civically inclined and focused on designing with purpose. That’s why it’s a design festival and not an art festival – there is a purpose beyond aesthetics.  As we continue to roll out more content digitally, in print, and at Bok and the Center for Architecture and Design -- the campaign will illustrate different projects and statisics that provide opportunities and a call to action for the design community to use their talents to actively participate in solving some of the most critical problems facing our city, our region, our country, and our world.

DesignPhiladelphia Exhibit Gallery @ Bok

One of our strategic efforts is to highlight Philadelpha designers during DesignPhiladelphia -- it's not all we do, but this year we tried to do it more than ever before -- hence we curated the DesignPhiladelphia Exhibit Gallery and filled the Girls Gym on the first floor of BOK with interactive design installations and programs throughout the duration of the Festival. The Girls Gym and adjacent hallways will also serve as a display hall for student and faculty exhibitions from a mix of departments from title sponsor Jefferson; Temple University, Tyler School of Art Architecture Department; Drexel Product Design; University of Pennsylvania Integrated Product Design; and the newly reorganized University of Arts Design Department.  In addition to the school exhibits, attendees will learn about Philadelphia designers across all disciplines, including the winner and finalists of the inaugural “Best in Design” Competition.  Bok will also be home to such other Festival highlights as a 3D-printed hanging light installation by new Philly designers Budmen Enterprises, which attendees can walk through; towers featuring AIA Philadelphia’s member architecture projects; a special exhibit by Mexico City architects and industrial designers, Mecate Studio and NextFAB; “lightening talks” from emerging Philadelphia designers presented by Haworth; displays by several designers who have studios at Bok; and much more.  

AIA Philadelphia's regional conference, the Forum on Architecture and Design to Coincide @ Bok

Coinciding with the kickoff of the DesignPhiladelphia Festival is the Forum on Architecture and Design, the AIA Philadelphia’s newly renamed regional interdisciplinary conference, which will take place at Bok on October 3 – 5. Programming includes signature keynote presentations featuring big names in the design and architecture space, who have worked with Coca Cola, The City of Newark, New York University, MoMA and others. 

We are delighted to bring this eclectic and supremely talented group of premiere designers, planners, innovators and architects of national and international acclaim together to showcase and discuss their respective creations and ideas with the public.  This all-star lineup is truly a celebration and reflection of what DesignPhiladelphia aims to do through creativity, collaboration and community.



As the oldest design festival of its kind in the country, DesignPhiladelphia highlights the work of thousands of local designers, architects, and creative professionals to demonstrate Philadelphia’s reemergence as a 21st century city shaped by thoughtful design, collaborative business practices, and community engagement.

Over the course of ten days each October, places such as universities, cultural institutions, civic associations, city agencies, retailers, manufacturers, and startups across the city participate in over 100 engaging events including panel discussions, fashion shows, participatory workshops, studio tours, book signings, professional development classes, design exhibitions, and imaginative celebrations.


Philadelphia is a unique environment with a strong history and tradition in design, manufacturing, and architecture. The days of being called “the workshop of the world” are in the past, but Philadelphia’s identity as a hub for creative activity never vanished - instead it was transformed. The opportunities for design exploration and innovation through the wealth of cultural institutions, universities, and an expanding entrepreneurial base are endless. In this setting, the DesignPhiladelphia Festival emerged in 2005 to identify, celebrate and raise the profile of this city’s creative economy, all 50,000+ of them. In addition, DesignPhiladelphia demonstrates Philadelphia’s reemergence as a 21st century city - one shaped by design, technology, and collaborative business practices. DesignPhiladelphia is the signature event of the Center for Architecture and Design.


DesignPhiladelphia’s mission is to make Philadelphia a hub for design excellence, support economic opportunities for local designers, and demonstrate to the public the impact of design on our everyday lives.


The steering committee is an interdisciplinary team of designers, educators, thought leaders, and professionals that are guiding the future of DesignPhiladelphia. As the Festival enters it’s 13th year with new leadership, the insights and vision from the Steering Committee are helping to shape the growth of the DesignPhiladelphia festival and programming in a thoughtful and strategic direction.


Rebecca Johnson | Executive Director
Elizabeth Paul | Communications Director
Erike De Veyra | Community Outreach and Program Manager
Tiffany Mercer-Robbins | Communications and Creative Design Manager