Call for Submissions: Participate in the 15th Annual DesignTO Festival, January 2025

Celebrate DesignTO’s 15th birthday with us! Present an independent project, host a creative project at your venue, or submit to a DesignTO-curated project. Keep reading to learn more about each opportunity.

The DesignTO Festival brings people together to celebrate contemporary design across the city January 24 – February 2, 2025.

DesignTO Festival is Canada’s largest annual design festival celebrating design as a multidisciplinary form of thinking and making, with over 100 exhibitions and events forming Toronto’s design week each January. Since 2011, the DesignTO Festival has welcomed over 1 million visitors, showcased the work of over 6,500 artists and designers, and reached over 2 billion people through print and digital media.

1. Call for Independent Projects

Independent Projects are exhibitions, events, and window installations that are wholly created and executed by an individual or organization during the DesignTO Festival at a venue of their choice. DesignTO welcomes all who want to present, discuss, demonstrate, or exhibit design in any field and related disciplines.

Exhibitors include artists, designers, design firms, businesses, academic and cultural institutions, and students. Exhibitors are responsible for arranging their own venue in Toronto. We also welcome online events and exhibitions.

October 11, 2024
Apply by August 31 to get $25 off.

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2. Venue-Designer Matchmaking Program

Do you have a space that you would like to see activated with design during the Festival? Do you have a project you want to present at the Festival, and need a place to show it? Let us be your matchmaker! Through the Venue-Designer Matchmaking Program, DesignTO pairs designers with a venue to host their project during the 2025 Festival.

Potential venues include shops, galleries, studios, cafés, schools, lobbies, and more.

Host Venue Deadline
July 12, 2024

Guest Designer Deadline
Rolling deadline, with final applications due September 16, 2024
The Call for Guest Designers will open on July 22, 2024.

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3. DesignTO Youth: Story Story

‘Story Story’ is the sixth edition of DesignTO Youth, a program that provides youth with access to creative disciplines and professionals. This workshop series will consist of 5 virtual sessions of group activities geared at exploring storytelling through art and design.

DesignTO invites you to apply for our FREE program to help enhance your creative process, inspire your creation, develop skills, and build an application for an exhibition opportunity as part of the DesignTO Festival.

Participating youth must be between the ages of 18-29 and a resident of Ontario at the time of application. No prior art or design experience is necessary.

September 6, 2024
Applicants will be admitted on a first-come-first-serve basis, so apply early!

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4. Prototype Exhibition: Surface Impressions

Going into its tenth year, ‘Surface Impressions’ is the latest edition of the annual prototype exhibition organized by DesignTO in partnership with Umbra.

‘Surface Impressions’ is an exhibition highlighting the dynamic interactions between a material’s physical properties and the results of creative techniques applied to it. This exhibition invites designers to explore how materials can respond to different processes, leading to unexpected outcomes and applications.

‘Surface Impressions’ will run January 20 – February 21, 2025 at the Umbra Store, Toronto. All selected prototypes will also be considered for addition to Umbra’s growing roster of quality products, to be manufactured, distributed, and sold through the Umbra brand, with royalty.

September 27, 2024

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5. Thematic Exhibition: REVIVE

DesignTO invites submissions from artists and designers working in all mediums and formats to submit to ‘REVIVE’, a thematic group exhibition exploring endangered creative practices and materials.

In the midst of rapid technological advancement, relentless globalization, and the forces of colonization and capitalism, we are at a critical juncture where certain artistic and material practices face the threat of extinction. ‘REVIVE’ is a call to action to preserve and celebrate sacred and vulnerable creative practices and materials, as it is crucial that we recognize and safeguard them, ensuring they continue to thrive and inspire future generations.

Going into its eleventh year, ‘REVIVE’ is the latest edition of the annual thematic exhibition curated by DesignTO. The exhibition will run January 24 – March 30, 2025 at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto.

September 27, 2024

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6. DesignTO Talks: Net Positive

DesignTO invites designers and thinkers to submit to speak ‘Net Positive’, a one-day event exploring design responses to the climate crisis from a perspective of abundance.

Design and its adjacent industries are integral forging a path toward a healthy and thriving planet. As is often cited, the building and construction sector creates approximately 40% of annual carbon dioxide emissions. However, current “green” strategies are proving insufficient. It is urgent that we shift design goalposts from doing “less bad” to doing “more good.”

Talks may be about current research or case studies, new products or technologies, spaces or experiences, speculative design or strategies, or new processes or policies.

This in-person event runs one day during the DesignTO Festival, January 24 – February 2, 2025, date TBC.

September 27, 2024

Learn more

DesignTO Festival logo

For more information, please contact:

Michael Madjus, Head of Marketing, DesignTO

Image credits:
Dying.exhibit 2024, part of the 2024 DesignTO Festival. Image courtesy of the Dying.series collective.
Future Matters, the 2024 DesignTO Thematic Exhibition. Photo by Christine Lim.