Design West Michigan explores and advocates for design as an economic building block for the region.
It builds on the legacy of renowned West Michigan companies that grew through design innovations. Design West Michigan believes our region’s future depends on developing and promoting a ‘Creative Community’ and that ‘Design’ is a key to renewed growth.
Design shapes our environment, our services and our products through architecture, interior design, industrial design, engineering, packaging, digital and landscape, fashion, exhibit and graphic design. Good design can re-shape existing situations and generate whole new markets.
Design West Michigan started in partnership with the region’s economic development groups; The Right Place and Lakeshore Advantage. It has evolved into an organization with over 700 members now in affiliation with Kendall College of Art and Design. A regional advisory group of design professionals provides input and represents the area’s major furniture companies, design firms, independent designers, manufacturers, colleges and other leading employers. A group of nationally recognized design luminaries ranging from curators to magazine editor-in-chiefs provide additional advice to the unprecedented organization.
The effort is being led by Executive Director John Berry, a senior consultant with more than 40 years of experience in design, internal and external communications, public relations and brand management.
“It’s time for the design disciplines to collectively help demonstrate the value of good design and bring new work and expansion to our area. This includes gaining a shared understanding of design and comfort level with non-traditional ways of business planning and measurement,” says Berry. “Design is an integral part of the West Michigan economy. And, while there are good local examples of business success through design, there are many more opportunities to expand our regional economy through enhanced use of the full-range of design services.”
As a collective, Design West Michigan aims to help educate non-designers on design thinking, advocate for design evaluation as part of business strategy, be an on-going catalyst for the region’s design network, bring key design thinkers into the region for public presentations and demonstrate the value of design through case studies and business and design interactions, and help promote design thinking experiences in K-12 education.
Design West Michigan has defined what it means to be Design Centric and works to be the model for how design can support regional economic growth.