Want to submit a proposal for Austin Design Week? Here are some tips.

Members of our Advisory Board share why they’re excited for this year’s theme, along with advice for submissions.

Submission season is upon us! We hope the announcement of our theme “Open Doors” started turning the gears in your brain.

When putting together your proposal, you might be thinking, “What do these people want from me, anyway?” We’re all about transparency, and want you to submit the best proposal possible. So, we asked some members of this year’s Advisory Board to share their thoughts on the theme, along with some advice to those of you who want to submit a proposal.

The Advisory Board curates Austin Design Week, which involves reviewing and selecting submissions. In other words, they’re the people you want to impress. Here’s a chance to take a peek into their heads, and get a feel for how they’re thinking about Austin Design Week this year.

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Erin Pitts

Co-Founder/Creative Partner, The Label Collective

Why are you excited about the theme “Open Doors”?

In our industry, the biggest hurdle we have to cross is helping the general public gain an understanding of how design is not just about beautiful artwork and photo manipulation skills.

Our final product is completely subjective; it is just as much craft as skill, and it challenges people to think differently about the world we live in. The impact our work has on their every day interactions may be so subtle, it is unnoticeable. And therein lies the problem; every good design solution is built over time, with careful consideration and research, so that the simplicity of the execution often gets lost in the noise. The visuals simply bring the solution to light.

What advice do you have for people who want to submit a proposal?

I encourage everyone to take a minute and consider how they would open doors to those in their community with this understanding. How do we invite those who are curious into the fold in a way that recognizes long-term solutions in a short presentation window? How do we help them understand design as an investment vs. a paid service? And, how do we help people understand the subtlety in a world that constantly screams visuals at them? I look forward to seeing your thoughts!"

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Adrian Armstrong

Co-Founder, Brown State of Mind

Why are you excited about the theme “Open Doors”?

I am so excited that the ADW18 theme is “Open Doors” this year! Opening doors to new collaborations, opening doors to new opportunities, and opening doors to new ideas.

What advice do you have for people who want to submit a proposal?

I encourage everyone that submits to think outside of the box. My favorite ideas are those that are ambitious, unique, and creative! And of course, clearly articulate how your proposal “opens doors” within the community!"

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Beau Frail

Principal Architect, Activate Architecture

Why are you excited about the theme “Open Doors”?

I’m elated that the ADW18 theme is Open Doors! For me, open doors for our design community is epitomized when we leverage our collaborative spirit to unlock opportunities through creative action. I hope this will inspire many unique and creative proposals for events.

What advice do you have for people who want to submit a proposal?

I’m especially hoping there are many submissions in the “other” category. I encourage those considering submitting to embrace the “otherness” category and get creative with your proposals. My favorite events from ADW are those that embrace their uniqueness and offer something freshly inspiring for attendees."


Randy Gregory II

Design Strategist, IBM Watson

Why are you excited about the theme “Open Doors”?

I'm really excited for the theme this year, because I see it as an opportunity to open the doors of design to all competencies. We provide a space to learn from each other, and the result of that can be fantastic for our careers, our practices, and the community we serve.

What advice do you have for people who want to submit a proposal?

For your submission, clearly articulate why your submission matters to the Austin community. In a world where self-promotion is extremely easy, we want you to really hone in on the intent of your submission.”

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Victoria Dianne O’Dell

Program and Communication Manager, Capital City Innovation

Why are you excited about the theme “Open Doors”?

Design is a practice that extends across industries and communities. It is intentional interaction that shapes the way we move through and view the world and the world of others. This year's theme "Open Doors" challenges the Austin community to collaborate with others by exploring and inviting them into the siloed spaces we sometimes create.

What advice do you have for people who want to submit a proposal?

For this year's submissions I want to encourage folks to come forward with proposals that bridge industries and communities. Share stories of success, community, and failure that have the potential to inspire collaboration and sharing across Austin.”

Feel ready to tackle your proposal? Submit it here.