Lighting Installation by Concord Custom Lighting. Part of the 2019 DesignTO Festival. Photo by Steve Chan.

DesignTO brings people together to design a better future.

We curate exhibitions, presentations and educational programming to increase the public’s knowledge and appreciation of design and its role in creating a sustainable, just and joyful world.

Through our public programming, we aim to embolden all Canadians to participate in designing a future where people and the planet are thriving again.

We accept applications in all design disciplines, including but not limited to:

  • Architecture
  • Craft
  • Design Education
  • Design Thinking
  • Experience Design (UX)
  • Fashion
  • Furniture Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Industrial Design
  • Installation
  • Interior Design
  • Landscape Design
  • Lighting
  • Service Design
  • Urban Design

DesignTO accepts applications from designers at any level of their career, including students, emerging, mid-career and established. We accept applications from individuals, collectives, businesses and institutions.

We may accept applications in fine art disciplines (including but not limited to photography, drawing, sculpture, installation) if the content relates to design or if the applicant is trained or working as a designer. 

DesignTO embraces an expansive definition of design; we welcome unconventional and transdisciplinary practices. We use the terms “artist” and “designer” interchangeably. In order to ensure the consistency of our audience’s experience, we reserve the right to decline applications that do not align with the context of a design festival. 

DesignTO is committed to fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion. We commit to programming that is inclusive and respectful. DesignTO will not tolerate, ignore, or condone discrimination or harassment and is committed to promoting respectful conduct, tolerance and inclusion. We adhere to the City of Toronto’s Human Rights and Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy:

All Festival submissions must adhere to the eligibility criteria specified within the application process. However, DesignTO acknowledges the existence of systemic barriers within the wider arts community and we recognize the need for flexibility when interpreting these criteria. We are committed to regularly reviewing our selection process and developing strategies to reduce barriers for equity seeking groups. For further information, please contact us.

DesignTO encourages submissions that align with our organization’s mission to increase the public’s knowledge and appreciation of design and its role in creating a sustainable, just and joyful world.


DesignTO is committed to a fair selection process. All submissions that meet eligibility requirements outlined above are presented to and considered by the Programming team. Some of our programs also engage external reviewers.

DesignTO receives an overwhelming number of submissions. At this time, we are unable to provide feedback if your work is not selected. We appreciate the time and effort put into the submissions and we encourage all artists to submit again next year.

DesignTO accepts submissions for projects that will be presented in any language. Applications must be submitted in English. Please contact us if you require assistance submitting an application.

No, there is no fee to submit an application to the DesignTO Festival. If your Independent Project or Host Venue application is approved, there is a registration fee for the program.

No problem! Projects can be from any year, however we encourage applicants to prioritize projects that have not been publicly displayed in Toronto before. 

Yes, DesignTO volunteers and staff can apply to the Independent Projects and Venue-Designer Matchmaking Program. Staff may not apply to projects curated by DesignTO (what we call ‘DesignTO Projects’), which includes DesignTO Talks, Prototype Exhibition, Thematic Group Exhibition, and DesignTO Youth Program. 

DesignTO recognizes design excellence in the Festival each year with the DesignTO Awards program. A project must be registered with the Festival in order to be considered for an Award. Click here to learn more about our Awards program and how to apply.

No. However, in-person projects must take place in the Toronto area. Participants in the Independent Projects program are responsible for securing their own venue. If you need help securing a venue, then you may want to apply to our Venue-Designer Matchmaking Program. DesignTO also welcomes applications for online events and exhibitions.

Contact Robyn Wilcox, Head of Programming, at [email protected] if you have any questions or require any clarification.