SF Design Week Host Welcome Kit

San Francisco Design Week (SFDW) is the largest design festival in the Bay Area from Silicon Valley to the East Bay and beyond.

It’s a way to reach out to a diverse community of over 50,000 design professionals, entrepreneurs, design-savvy public and tourists.
SFDW’s 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. We are creating a public forum where citizens and designers can engage in a discussion about design and its role in the modern world.

SFDW is organized by AIGA San Francisco, the professional association for design in partnership with YBCA, SFFAMA, SEGD, SDN, IXDA, Italian Cultural Institute, IDSA, Contemporary Jewish Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Center for Architecture and Design and AIA. Last year it attracted over 50,000 visitors.

Our main events are targeted at designers, trade professionals, the general public and more. The festival program contains over 200 events yearly and has such highlights as workshops, exhibitions, runway shows, and Open Studios.
The events during design week take place in a variety of spaces around the city and beyond—from the official Hub, design studios, boutique shops to tech companies and startup HQs. Morning, noon and night: a wide variety of events will be taking place across all schedule blocks throughout the week—be sure to check out what’s available.

Schedule Rundown

Here are some of the main events that take place over the course of Design Week. Note that other Design Week events are not permitted to occur during these events. (Remember to check back as we get closer to the event as additional details will become available.)

Evening of June 14th, 2017:

San Francisco Design Week Opening Night

The largest gathering the entire week with over 4,000 attendees. We’ll gather to discuss which events we’re attending and other points of interest unfolding during the week. The party will include live entertainment, installation, exhibits, activation’s and libations.

June 21st & 22nd, 2017:

Studio Crawl

Doors open across the city for tours at studios, at the same time, firms and startups spanning a variety of design disciplines. A map will be created with all the Open Studios for both nights so attendees can walk or ride their bikes from place to place.

Planning Tips

When your company applies to participate in a SFDW event, you are committing to delivering experiential relevance and value to hundreds of industry influencers including press, creatives and their thousands of collective followers. Visualize this partnership through the eyes of our attendees! Programming will showcase the authenticity of your company and will result in greater recognition. Ideally, experiences created during events will resonate long after the week. Here are a few things to note when planning for an event:


Promote your SFDW presence in advance via social media. Tweet about the date of your event as soon as this information is available. Make a post about your SFDW 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.


The most important thing you can do is create meaningful programming and make it engaging. Remember, successful events are about the experience you offer attendees—location and appetizers are not everything. Be creative. Don’t rely on nice interiors and atmosphere. Be proactive: demo your products and share your work, offer giveaways, create a photo booth or organize a raffle, provide interactive experiences unique to your culture.

Recognizable Stewards

It’s impossible to engage visitors of your organization if no one knows who works there. T-shirts with your company’s logo or name tags will help guests find the hosts. Remind your employees to spark conversations with guests. Design Week is about fostering dialogue and making new, unexpected, and vibrant connections.


We want your guests to remember you. Promotional merchandise is a useful way of keeping attendees interested in your studio after an event. However, meaningful takeaways don’t always come in the form of swag and we encourage you to focus on the total experience.

Design Week FAQs

Who comes to SFDW Events?

We welcome a growing local and international audience every year comprised of over 50,000 design professionals, design lovers, students, entrepreneurs, tourists and more. If you want to attract a certain type of attendee, plan an event that targets a certain demographic or even list it in your description: “This event is best suited for mid-career UX designers” for example, or “This event is best suited for students or emerging designers”.

How can I be sure that I will have attendees?

Each year SFDW events tend to sell out quickly, due in part to the support and promotion of our event hosts. Once your event is live, share to your network and within your organization. You can monitor your ticket sales/registrations through your Eventbrite page.

Where does my registration fee go?

SFDW is organized and run by AIGA San Francisco, the professional association for design, a 501(c)3 non-profit. Any registration fees go towards expenses affiliated with marketing your event, coordination and resources needed to continue producing SFDW.

When does registration end?

Early bird registration ends on March 1st, 2017. We are accepting applications thru April 15th, 2017 with an increased registration fee.

Is the application fee refundable?

Application fees are non-refundable once an event application is accepted. If your application is not accepted, your fee will be refunded 100%.

How do I know if I’m an eligible non-profit for a waived fee?

If your organization is non-profit registered with the government, we will waive your application fee and you’ll need to apply with the non-profit application form. If you are unsure, email us at hello@sfdesignweek.org.

Will you provide volunteers?

You will be responsible for production and managing your own event, including finding your own volunteers, unless you are participating in the organized Studio Crawl event. For Studio Crawl, our goal is to provide 2 volunteers to manage check-in for your event. You are responsible for having staff or your own volunteers managing other aspects of your Studio Crawl. For all other events, we recommend sending out tweets to our hashtag that you are looking for dedicated volunteers to help.

Who handles ticketing?

SFDW handles ticketing through Eventbrite, but give you full access to your event registrations. Our team will set up an Eventbrite page for you under the SFDW umbrella to make it easier for attendees to register. You will have access to your own event page which includes attendee information and financial data for tickets sold. You keep 100% of your ticket sales! (minus Eventbrite fees). Some hosts donate the ticket revenue back to SF Design Week. If you’d like to do so, please check the “yes” box in the application form.

Do you cover any costs of my event production?

Community event hosts are responsible for their own event expenses. You keep 100% of your events ticket sales (minus Eventbrite fees).

Can I host an event if my venue isn’t confirmed yet?

We encourage you to fill out the application to the best of your ability, but we understand that it can be a chicken-or-egg scenario. If that’s the case, email us at events@sfdesignweek.org to give us a heads up.

What if I can provide a venue, but have no leads for hosts?

If you are offering your venue as a resource, please reach out to us at hello@sfdesignweek.org. The events team can make the introduction if a host has an event, but no venue. SF Design Week is not responsible for negotiating terms between a potential host and venue.

What if I still have details to work out before finishing the application?

At the absolute least, it is crucial to determine what type of event you are hosting (coffee with a designer, panel discussion, etc.) so we can determine if the content of your event is appropriate and whether we can schedule it. Also note that you will have the opportunity to revise your event’s content at a later time.

Are you sure I cannot apply beyond April 15th?

Although the application deadline is two months before SF Design Week (June 14th–22nd, 2017), the Design Week team needs that time to finalize event details with hosts, create event ticketing pages so we can sell tickets to your event(s), and properly promote events, as well as give people enough time to sign up and plan their week.

FAQs: Open Studio Tour Hop

Whats the difference between Studio Tours and Open Studios?

In the Studio events are independent events hosted on any day during SF Design Week. These events typically include a look inside the studio and special programming. Studio Crawl is a concentrated group of studios—curated by our committee—who open their doors on the same evenings (June 21st and 22nd). Attendees go from place to place at their leisure and see as many as possible!

How do you plan a route?

We plan Studio Crawl based on the geography of the studios. Studios located in the same area will be assigned the same date. If the studio is located outside of San Francisco (East Bay, North Bay, South Bay) or in an area where there might not be many studios participating, we would invite your studio to participate in an alternative Design Week event. 

How will visitors get around?

We’ll do our best to choose neighborhoods that are accessible to use MUNI, BART, ride a bike or walk between open studios. Transportation is not supplied.

How will visitors find us?

Information about Studio Crawl will be published a few weeks before Design Week starts. Maps of the studios will be available on the website for download. SFDW posters will be available to let visitors know they’ve arrived at a Studio Crawl location.

Promoting Your Event

More than just selling tickets, SFDW leverages an extensive partnership network to increase visibility and engage audiences year-round. Amplify your involvement through branding your event and social posts:


[Download] SFDW Logos (EPS & PNG)


Twitter @sfdesignweek
Instagram @sfdesignweek

Please help get the word out about your event by utilizing your social media channels with our hashtag!

Sample Tweets:

  • Join us at (your event name) June (date) at (host’s handle) HQ for a talk with _______ about (topic) #SFDW #SFDW17
  • Don’t miss your chance to attend/see (your event name/speaker name) at (location/handle) (date) for a talk about (topic) #SFDW #SFDW17
  • We’re excited to discuss/showcase (topic) at (event name/location) (date) for #SFDW! Be sure to get tickets before they sell out! (shortened URL)
  • Get inspired (date/tomorrow/tonight/today) at (your event name)! We’ll be talking about (topic) with (person(s)) (shortened URL) #SFDW
  • We’re looking forward to the @sfdesignweek #SFDWcrawl of (studio’s handle) (tour date and time)! RSVP here (shortened URL)

Sample Facebook Posts:

  • We’re on the #SFDWcrawl (date and time)! Stop by to meet our team and learn more about our (creative process/projects/culture/topic of choice). (shortened URL) #SFDW
  • Join us at (your event name) at (event location) (date and time). We will discuss (topic) with the talented (person(s)) and as part of @San Francisco Design Week. RSVP/visit (shortened URL) for details and tickets. We can’t wait to see you there!
  • Have you gotten your tickets to (your event name) yet?
  • Don’t miss your opportunity to attend/to join the discussion about (topic) with (person(s)) during @San Francisco Design Week (date and time). Tickets are selling fast, so buy your tickets today!/RSVP/Learn more at (shortened URL).
  • We’re excited to discuss/present/showcase/host (your event name) during @San Francisco Design Week this year on (date and time). Join us for an inspiring talk/afternoon/evening of (topic). For tickets and details, please visit (shortened URL). We hope to see you there!