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.

Our Evolution

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 Ken Krayer, an independent design consultant and adjunct professor of industrial design.

Our Objectives

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.