NYCxDesign, the city’s first design week, is an initiative to promote design as an economic driver.

Led by Christine Quinn, the festival is being planned by a coalition of designers and advocates. Base Design created the logo and identity, seen here on a tote bag.

The stencil-style "X" logo is adaptable and recognizable at the same time.

That’s important, according to designers at Base, because it’ll be tailored to fit hundreds of different events.

“What we thought was really interesting about the X is that it represents a crossroads between designers and the city,” said Creative Director Min Lew.

NYCxDesign will begin on May 10.

Co.Design

How Do You Brand NYC's First Official Design Week?

A first look at Base design’s branding for NYCxDesign, which hopes to cater to the city’s 40,000 design professionals.

New York has a fashion week, a restaurant week, and an Internet week—hell, we’ve even got a social media week. Conspicuously absent, of course, is design. Though the city teams with design professionals, there’s never been a single, all-inclusive event promoting design in New York.

That’s all about to change. This morning, the city launched the official web presence of NYCxDesign, a 12-day festival celebrating every conceivable niche of design, that will begin on May 10. "We have more designers in New York City than any other U.S. city, but we do a terrible job promoting them in their totality," City Council Speaker (and rumored mayoral candidate) Christine Quinn told The New York Times. Quinn, who broached the idea of a design festival last year, is heading up the effort to promote design in the city. "We’ll grow our design sector by stealing an idea from the fashion industry!" she tweeted after mentioning the festival in a speech.

The idea behind NYCxDesign is to make design visible to people who don’t normally think about it, and to bring together disparate industries like graphic design, product design and manufacturing, landscape architecture, and more. The event is being planned by Fashion Week founder Fern Mallis, who is leading a group of more than 50 designers, entrepreneurs, and journalists involved in the event’s inception. According to Mallis, the goal is to give design a leg up in American culture. "In Italy and France, it’s a part of the culture from the get-go," she told The New York Times last year. "There have been hundreds of years of caring about those disciplines. It’s not an American thing. It needs to be."

NYCxDesign will be a cocktail of exhibitions, open studios, a design film festival, and (of course) parties, preceded conveniently by Frieze New York art fair and followed by the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. The festival identity comes courtesy of local shop Base Design, who worked with New York’s Chief Creative Officer, Willy Wong, on the project. According to Base’s Creative Director Min Lew, the x in NYCxDesign offered an obvious and flexible logomark. "What we thought was really interesting about the x is that it represents a crossroads between designers and the city," she told me. "It symbolizes multiplicity and celebrates the diversity of design." The stenciled x was also chosen because it remains recognizable even when it’s tailored to fit a particular designer’s work or a certain event. Lew also mentioned that the x will find its way into the physical world, as screening at events and in storefront displays.

For now, we don’t know much about NYCxDesign beyond a handful of events listed on the website, but more details are sure to emerge as it draws closer. For now, it’s exciting to see powerful figures like Quinn throwing their weight behind design as an economic powerhouse in New York City, even if promotional festivals aren’t the most pressing issue on the docket. It is an election year, after all—there are more than 40,000 design professionals living in this city, and according to one study, design jobs have increased by 75% over the past decade in New York.

Check out NYCxDesign for a list of events.

Add New Comment

8 Comments

  • Kthomas06

    It's interesting to read the rationale behind the logo mark. Initially when I saw it, I read it as NYC by Design (reading the x as a multiplication sign). I think this works to the flexibility of the design too. 

  • houseofcakes

    I think it's a great idea, but I see it devolving into an elitist snob fest, unfortunately. Design is for everyone and that's part of why it's part of "culture" in many countries...but not in the US.

  • Guest

    Do we need another celebration of design in New York?

    Technically this may be the first week that the city of New York has chosen to brand as "design week" but clearly it's not NYC's "first official design week."
    Since 2006 the Cooper Hewitt has hosted Design week in New York, culminating in the National Design awards ceremony.

    There's also Creative Week New York.

    The's also the national and regional NYC chapter of the AIGA, and the multitude of events and lectures they host that continuously celebrate the role of design throughout the year.

    The Brand New conference.
    The Wired conference.
    The DMI conference.
    The Fast Company Innovation By Design awards.

    And lots of others.

    So let's be honest - it hardly seems likely that design is "conspicuously absent" in New York...

  • b$tunna

     Instead of criticizing the formal recognition of Design Week, consider celebrating that more credit is given to highlight the work and ideas of the city's designers.

  • Alberto

    I thought that there has been a week for years surrounding ICFF called "Design Week" in NY, complete with city wide design related events.