Design Toolkit is a non-profit, design-oriented organization headquartered in Thessaloniki, Greece. Its mission is to help create and promote a Greek community centered around design and the applied arts, and to encourage collaborations and partnerships between this community and the international field of design. Its main activity involves the organization of informational, educational and promotional events on design and the applied arts, with a special emphasis on engaging students and young professionals, and encouraging interactions between them and accomplished members of the field.
A brief history
Design Toolkit was born from a shortage and a decision. Two of the organization’s founders, experienced professional graphic designers living and working in Thessaloniki, often found themselves discussing the shortage of any design-related events in their city. Having noted this shortage, they were led to a decision: to do something to amend it. In Thessaloniki and in Greece in general, there are numerous successful professionals in all areas of design, whose work has both national and international impact. Their ranks are continuously renewed with new generations of students and graduates of related schools, who are keen to create. At the same time, however, there is a remarkable lack of events pertaining to design – informational, educational, or promotional. Design Toolkit was created to fill this void.
We believe that the collective progress of any creative field depends on the technical training and knowhow of its members, but primarily on fruitful dialogue, interaction, and creative competition between them. The goal of Design Toolkit is to create a framework for the organization of activities and events that will provide training for young designers, space for the exchange of knowledge and the creation of knowhow in the field, and the promotion and recognition of the creative output of both newcomers and established designers. Design Toolkit fosters the creation of an active community of design professionals – a community that will interact, exchange knowledge and experience, recognize achievements, and promote healthy professional competition. And above all, a community that will gather often, within the context of different events, in order to improve through creative interaction.
Design Toolkit has already organized a series of events in Thessaloniki, under the “Toolkit” brand. Despite the level of competence of design departments and schools in our country, young people wishing to work as professional designers often lack practical tools and knowledge – and more importantly, they lack the connection between their formal skills and the exigencies of the market. Toolkit events are intended to bridge this gap. They include talks by accomplished professionals in various areas of design, specialized workshops that provide instruction and guidance in selected design applications, and several exhibitions of poster art, both from Greek designers and in collaboration with renowned international organizations. Design Toolkit also hosts an annual, international poster design contest, Poster Battle, open to design students from all over the world.
Following the high attendance and great feedback garnered by the first Toolkit events, the 2016 event will be held in Thessaloniki in October. Every year, the scope of the event is broadened, to include more areas of design and the applied arts. We are also exploring the potential to hold Toolkit events in other cities, both in Greece and abroad. At the same time, we are working on inviting and hosting noteworthy design exhibitions from abroad, and in forging international collaborations with organizations with similar goals, in order to enhance the dialogue and interaction between the local and international design communities. We are open to ideas and proposals from people in the field of design, but also from the arts, culture and education sectors, to design new activities for youths and other audiences, which will promote our goal for the creation, maintenance and continuous renewal of a creative, vibrant community of design.