Starting without much idea of what was to come, we built the the online infrastructure and web presence for the first annual

Vancouver Design Week


Where We Started

We met Jennifer Cutbill, VDW’s lead instigator, just as she and Cause+Affect’s Jane Cox were bringing together a seed group of designers to share their vision for Vancouver Design Week. Ideas and offers of help started to flow, and we stepped up to offer our help with the online presence for VDW. As the inaugural year, nobody was quite sure what shape things would take. But there was clear excitement in the room for the potential, and a willingness to find out by going for it.

What We Did

Without much information to start, the intial period involved setting up an online infrastructure of email and services like Typeform, Eventbrite, Google Apps and others to solve certain first-year problems around event coordination, registrations, and payments before having a proper website and bank account.

We built the website itself in serveral iterations, starting from a simple, colourful page with a newsletter subscription. When Cause+Affect’s Carling Borne brought a comprehensive and exciting brand design to the table, we were able to grow into a multi-sectioned, responsive site. As further details firmed up we kept adding, removing, merging and splitting sections, showing that one-pagers can be highly versatile. Event and promotional information was changing daily, and we ended up writing a small event schedule publishing system, which you can read about in Tylor’s blog post.

The Results

It was chaotic and exciting to define a web presence on the run with a big wave of activity. The website saw great traffic (about 35% mobile), driven along with well-run Instagram and Twitter campaigns, as well as traditional press and blogger outreach.

Vancouver Design Week’s first year was a total success, with endorsement and support from city hall and participation from designrs of all stripes, as well as interest from the general public. We capped out at 84 events, many of them selling out, and as many noted, Vancouver Design Week is a funny name for something that ended up being 14 days long. We attended quite a few events, meeting designers of all kinds and finding a great kinship and enthusiasm for working in Vancouver.

We’re looking forward to seeing where we can take this seed of a digital platform for Vancouver Design Week next year, and to seeing more of the great design work of all kinds happening here.

Services Used



We can do this for you

Vancouver Design Week was a testament to how swiftly and elegantly a modern website can come to life. If we can create an online presence before something is even defined, we can probably do something good for you: