Design Week Portland: What's Happening and Where to Go

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Break out your tote bags and Moleskins everyone, it’s time for Design Week Portland!

It’s every designer's favorites\ week of the year, when we gather around each other's studios and office and talk about what we love most, design. Portland Design Week brings together some of the greatest minds and ideas in our industry, and we absolutely love it.

Now in its seventh year, DWP has once again stepped up its offering of amazing events, installations, and open houses. A great change this year is open houses sorted by the city quadrant they are in. That means you can hit more events and agencies every day, and for that, we’re pretty excited.

Check out a list of what we’re most excited about this year. Hope to see you there!

Saturday

Opening Party

Who doesn’t love a party? Join the Harlo team at the Design Week Portland opening party for drinks, snacks, and good tunes. From the listing:

Take in installations curated by Kamp Grizzly, including collaborations with Craig Winslow, DOA (Department Of Art), Matchless, Neon Distributors, and Ways & Means, plus many more of your faves in town.

Grab a drink or two from Merit Badge, who will be slinging beer from Dirty Pretty, wine from Cooper's Hall, and beautiful spirit pairings brought to you by Townshend's Distillery + Q sodas. Drinks are for purchase, but we'll have delicious free snacks from Garden Bar and Ellenos Greek Real Yogurt. Not feeling the healthy vibes? Ash Wood Fired Pizza will be parked on the premises in case you need cheese + carbs.

Sunday

Portland Bridge Walk

What better way to spend a Sunday than walking through the city you live in. It looks like it may rain, but come on! This is Portland. From the listing:

“Portland Bridges: survey the design, construction, and history of the bridges of "Bridge City". Learn what historical forces led to the construction of the bridges, why they were built the way they are and where they are. Consider how our bridges have shaped Portland's growth and continue to impact our urban environment.”

Monday

Northwest Portland Open Houses

New this year are open houses organized by Portland’s quadrants. Monday kicks off the open house events with a collection of Northwest agencies, stores, and galleries hosting events. It’s an awesome opportunity to check out incredible spaces and imbibe in some tasty beverages.

Some of the businesses participating include AdPearance, CMD Agency, Goby Walnut, Jones Architecture, Moovel, PNCA, Pensole Design Academy, RACC, Second Story, ThinkShout, and Work & Co.

The Power of Color in Design

As designers, color plays a huge role in everything we do. This event is a chance to learn from some of the best on the importance of color and how it informs design decisions. From the listing:

“Color is a critical element of design. When we look at something we make a judgment within 90 seconds and up to 90% of that assessment is based on color alone. Hear from Kristin Van Buskirk, owner of the color-obsessed local home goods shop, Woonwinkel, and former Nike Color Director on the power of color to capture a consumer, transform an environment, and grow your bottom line.”

Tuesday

Southwest Open Houses

Southwest Portland is home to Portland’s proper downtown, but it’s also home to a whole bunch of creative businesses. Beyond that, this year’s open houses stretch all the way down Macadam to the south waterfront John’s Landing. Go see what the far reaches of Portland’s creative community have to offer!

Participating businesses include Aesop West End, Borders Perrin Norrander, Coates Kokes, Crib Design House / Trove, .Design Domain, Gensler, Hinge, Muji, Otak, Pollinate, Portland State Graphic Design, POW, and Team Studio.

Leveraging Disruptive Content for Your Brand

We believe in content and content first design. It lets us make informed design decisions based on the stories are audience will actually see. We’re pretty stoked to check out this event and see what XPND Interactive has to say. From the listing:

“Come learn how big brands use design to engage their audience and how your brand can apply similar strategies. Welcome Danny Tawiah, Chief Marketing Officer of WeAre8: The People's Platform, and social media guru, Marlynn Schotland from Urban Bliss Life, in a panel discussion about disruptive content in design across social media and advertising.”

Wednesday

North/Northeast Open Houses

Wednesday the open house events head across the river to explore Portland’s Eastside. Starting in North/Northeast, agencies and businesses will be hosting designers for discussions on design, the creative industry, and a number of other stimulating subjects. There’s even an event in Vancouver, which is definitely not Portland.

Some of the businesses that are opening their doors include 52 Limited, Axiom, Chocolate Craft Studios, Latitude, Manifesto, New Found State, oddfellows, Portland Fashion Institute, R/West, Sockeye, Studio DAD, The Brigade, and Tillamook Road.

ART IN THE OPEN: Live art installation + conversation

How could we not check out this event? Not only do we love live art installation it’s also put on by one of our favorite clients, Killian Pacific. Developers of some of the best buildings in Portland, you can be sure this event and installation are going to be something to behold. Join us as we take in the art, and take part in the conversation! From the listing:

“Our built environment is a canvas for artistic expression, providing opportunities for artists that extend beyond the confines of gallery walls. How can we advocate for and broaden the understanding of public art in our city?

Join us for a live art installation and dynamic conversation as we explore these questions and the role of public art as a vital part of our evolving city.”

Thursday

Southeast Open Houses

Last but definitely not least we have the Southeast Open Houses. Any creative professional in Portland can tell you that Southeast Portland is home to some truly incredible creative people and spaces, and now is your opportunity to check them out. We’re not sure which ones we’re most excited about, but we’re sure they’ll all be stellar.

Some of the Southeast business taking part include 11:11 Productivity Tools, Office 52, Archrival, Assembly PDX, Blast Studio, Bullseye Glass, Cinco Design, Creative Drive, Flat Blak Gallery, Graybox, Happy Finish, IPRC, Looptworks, Nelson Cash, OMFGCO, Portland Leather Goods, Sasquatch, The Perlene, and Urbanite.

Gameday

What can we say, we’re huge Blazer fans. As a group of designers and developers that have been watching the Blazers for decades we’re super excited for their upcoming playoff run. What better way to celebrate than an event showcasing their gameday poster series. From the listing:

“IDL and the Trail Blazers present Gameday, a poster series showcase benefitting the Trail Blazers Foundation. Throughout the season, the Trail Blazers teamed up with local artists who created unique poster designs for each home game. Only 100 copies of each limited-edition print were produced. Celebrate the intersection of sports and design at IDL’s 5th annual DWP event, where you can view this season’s gameday posters, purchase or bid on exclusive art pieces by poster artists, get a live screen printed custom poster and more.”

Friday

Pretty with Purpose: How to be real, be strong, and make an impact

If you’re only going to go to one event on Friday, make it this one. This day long lecture series is packed full with some of the smartest design, marketing, and technology thinkers around. We speak from experience when we say that hosts HUB Design know what they’re talking about. They’re one of our digital partners and just an overall great group of creatives. From the listing:

“HUB is bringing together six dynamic speakers sharing stories, inspiration, and tips for how to find your purpose, own your story, forge your own path, make people care and find personal fulfillment along the way. How can we balance doing our best work and showing up genuinely, while making the world a better place? Each of the 15-minute talks will focus on a different aspect of the challenge many creatives are looking to solve.”

Saturday

Walking Tour: Gentrification by Design, Albina

After a long week of mingling in agencies and art galleries you could probably use some fresh air, so we’ll suggest finishing off Design Week Portland the same way we suggested starting it, with a walking tour. This one is especially informative for anyone who lives in Portland. Understand the history and context of the city you live in. From the listing:

“Albina: Design, Development, Displacement. Founded in 1872 and primarily home to European immigrant communities the once independent city of Albina transitioned into the heart of Portland's African American community especially after the VanPort Flood of 1948. Today it is the epicenter for citywide issues of gentrification, displacement, and development as well as home to some of the city's most innovative and controversial architectural designs. This walk will explore this rich and problematic history.”

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