If you would like to be notified when registration opens for the 2025 DesignTO Festival, click here to join our newsletter, ensuring you select the option for DesignTO Calls for Submissions: Exhibitions, Talks, Installations, Venues.

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 almost 2 billion people through print and digital media.

Here are three ways you can participate in the Festival:

1. Independent Projects

Independent Projects are exhibitions, events (e.g. tours, talks, workshops), and window installations that are wholly created and executed by an individual or organization during the DesignTO Festival at a venue of their choice (in-person or online).

This is for you if:
You are a designer, organization or venue that has an online or in-person event, exhibition, or window installation you want to self-produce and register with the Festival.

The Festival’s role:
The Festival provides a promotional platform for Independent Projects as part of Festival Week. Independent Projects are listed online, included in general festival marketing, and provided with Festival-specific signage (e.g. window cling). Additional marketing may also be provided based on media interest.

Fees:
There is a registration fee, based on the size of your organization. Apply by August 31 to receive $25 off your registration fee.

Call Opens:
May 21, 2024

Deadline:
October 11, 2024

2. Venue-Designer Matchmaking Program

This program pairs designers with a venue to host their project. Projects include exhibitions, events (e.g. tours, talks, workshops), and window installations that are wholly created and executed by an individual or organization during the DesignTO Festival at the host venue. Host venues provide their spaces free-of-charge and pay the registration fee.

This is for you if:
You run a shop, gallery, studio, café, school, cinema or other venue in Toronto that you would like to see activated with design during the Festival.

– OR –

You are a designer that wants to present an exhibition, event or window installation during the Festival, but you don’t have a venue.

The Festival’s role:
The Festival acts as a matchmaker to pair host venues and guest designers. The process starts by the Festival seeking host venues through an open call for submissions. A list of confirmed venues is shared through an open call for guest designers. Designers submit their proposals and select their top three venue choices. Based on characteristics and fit of the project with the venue, the Festival makes matches.

(Successful matches become Independent Projects, with the designer as the main contact. See above for details.)

Fees:
Host Venues: There is a registration fee, based on the size of your organization. You can also opt to provide the designer with additional support.
Guest Designers: You are responsible for all costs associated with the creation and execution of your project.

 

Host Venue Dates:
Call Opens: May 21, 2024
Deadline: July 12, 2024

 

Guest Designer Dates:
Call Opens: July 22, 2024
Deadline: Rolling deadline, with final applications due September 16, 2024
***Matchmaking will take place on a rolling basis. Guest designers should apply early to increase the likelihood that they will be matched with their preferred host venue.***

3. DesignTO Projects

DesignTO Projects are exhibitions and events at the Festival curated and executed by DesignTO. Participation in these projects is through a combination of open calls for submission and by invitation.

For 2025, we have five calls for submission:
DesignTO Talks: ‘Net Positive’
Thematic Exhibition: ‘REVIVE’
Prototype Exhibition: ‘Surface Impressions
DesignTO Youth: ‘Story Story’
Group Exhibition: ‘Hurry Up and Wait’

This is for you if:
You are a designer, artist, architect, curator, educator, or researcher whose work is relevant to the themes outlined in each call for submission.

The Festival’s role:
The Festival curates and executes these exhibitions and events in their entirety, sometimes in partnership with other organizations.

Fees:
There is no fee to submit to the open calls for submission. DesignTO pays exhibition and speaking fees to successful applicants.

Calls Open:
June 10, 2024

Deadline:
Youth: Rolling deadline, with final applications due September 6, 2024
Talks, Thematic, Prototype, Group: September 27, 2024

Key Dates
2024

Tuesday, May 21

  • Call for Independent Projects Opens
  • Call for Host Venues Opens

Monday, June 10

  • DesignTO Talks – Call for Submissions Opens
  • DesignTO Thematic Exhibition – Call for Submissions Opens
  • DesignTO Prototype Exhibition – Call for Submissions Opens
  • DesignTO Youth Program – Call for Submissions Opens

Friday, June 21

  • DesignTO Group Exhibition – Call for Submissions Opens

Friday, July 12

  • DEADLINE: Call for Host Venues Closes

Monday, July 22

  • Call for Guest Designers Opens, Rolling Submissions

Thursday, August 31

  • DEADLINE: Independent Projects – Early registration discount

Friday, September 6

  • DEADLINE: DesignTO Youth Program – Call for Submissions Closes

Monday, September 16

  • DEADLINE: Call for Guest Designers Closes

Friday, September 27

  • DEADLINE: DesignTO Talks – Call for Submissions Closes
  • DEADLINE: DesignTO Thematic Exhibition – Call for Submissions Closes
  • DEADLINE: DesignTO Prototype Exhibition – Call for Submissions Closes
  • DEADLINE: DesignTO Group Exhibition – Call for Submissions Closes

Friday, October 11

  • DEADLINE: Call for Independent Projects Closes

Friday, October 25

  • DEADLINE: All Projects – Event Listing Due
2025

Sunday, January 12 & Monday, January 13 – TBC

  • Festival Window Cling Pick-up

Friday, January 24 – Sunday, February 2

  • DesignTO Festival