Jun 19 2013

Northern Design Festival, 10th – 20th October 2013

northern design festival 2013

Previously known as ‘Design Event Festival’, the biennial Northern Design Festival is back this year and taking place from the 10 – 20 October in venues across the North East of England. As usual the festival will be celebrating creativity and design from across the region, country and globe.

Whilst this will be the first festival running under the ‘Northern Design Festival’ name, festival organisers ‘Design Event’ have been successfully running design festivals for eight years now, and so the Northern Design Festival is already firmly on the industries calendar and is expected to be one of the UK’s most innovative festivals.

In 2013 the Northern Design Festival has chosen to focus on an issue very topical within the industry at the moment; the ever-increasing prevalence of digital technologies within the design industry and the impact this is having. Therefore running under the theme Create:Digital, this years festival features a whole host of events, exhibitions, talks and workshops exploring these issues .

Such a dynamic and challenging topic deserved an equally dynamic brand. Off the back of their successful work with Design Event in 2011, Newcastle based creative agency Wonder Stuff Studio were set the challenging task of branding the event. See the work of Wonder Stuff Studio, including their branding for the 2011 Design Event Festival, at

Wonder Stuff Studio’s Creative Director, Paul Alderson said, ‘Given the broad scope of this years Northern Design Festival we wanted to create a brand that was as equally dynamic and engaging as it was bold and eye-catching. It was also important to us that the branding had a conceptual link to the overall festival theme.

With this in mind we came up with a range of possibilities for the festival branding, of which one really excited us.’

Generative Art is a concept whereby artwork is created as the result of a set process. At its most basic this is just colour by number, but over the past few years a coding language known as ‘processing’ has developed which can create incredible images from any given set of data.

‘We’d seen the results processing can bring and this seemed the perfect opportunity to put it to practical use. However after reading up, we knew we’d need some help in realising our concept.’

Paul and his team at Wonder Stuff Studio called upon the expertise of the industry leading Zenbullets aka Matt Pearson, a coder and a generative artist based in Brighton. Author of several books in his field, Matt’s works include; “100 Abandoned Artworks” — one hundred open-source generative art sketches, live visuals for Groove Armada amongst others, various music videos, generative branding, and numerous interactive art pieces. To learn more about Matt’s work visit,

The Northern Design Festival 2013 has expanded to take place over 10 days this year, with a whole host of events taking place across the region enabling visitors to attend more events, exhibitions, workshops and talks than ever before. However in 2013 there are three flagship events; Design Event MART 2013, Illustrate and Create:Digital.

Design Event MART 2013 will run from 11 – 20 October 2013 with its preview opening and awards ceremony taking place on 10 October. As at previous Design Event MARTs, this curated design exhibition will showcase the work of 20–25 designers from the North of England working in the fields of furniture, surface, textile, lighting, product, jewellery, fashion accessory and print-based design. All products featured will be available to buy during the event.

Illustrate: An exhibition of work by leading illustration practitioners based in or hailing from the North of England. Artists include; Andy Singleton, Drew Millward, Jay Cover, Kristyna Baczynski, Matthew the Horse, Monsieur Cabinet, Nicholas Saunders, Paul X Johnson, Switchopen and Sara Ogilvie. This will include previously unseen original artwork, prints and objects and there will be the opportunity to buy some of the work on show.

Create:Digital presents the work of ten internationally significant designers who combine creative impetus with digital technology. The exhibition explores the potential of digital materials and manufacturing processes in the creation of entirely new types of product.

The exhibition will include innovative pieces from designers including Dominic Wilcox, Interaction Research Studio, Michele Gauler, Silvia Weidenbach and Timorous Beasties. The exhibition will include; product, furniture, surface, jewellery and fashion design pieces created using a range of digital processes. Processes used include; 3D printing, coding, computer aided design, CNC, digital printing (2D) and laser-cutting.

Full details of the Northern Design Festival programme will be published at over the coming months.


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