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Regional design groups like New Kind collaborate, innovate

I wanted to share a recent article from the influential design blog Core77 that adds New Kind to a growing list of influential regional design groups building on the efforts of the U.S. National Design Policy Initiative (NDPI). On a state and regional level, independent design groups seek to address the lack of federal funding for design- and innovation-based initiatives. One goal, among many, is to give young designers access to resources so they can create and innovate — seems elementary, but these resources have been sorely lacking to date.

In early 2008, Matt Muñoz traveled to Europe with MASS LBP Principal Peter MacLeod, visiting think tanks Demos and Involve, as well as design organizations Participle and Kaospilots, among others. While there, he saw first hand the support young thinkers receive in countries like England and Denmark, where national programs provide funding and infrastructure to emerging ideas and talent. Muñoz and partner David Burney were inspired by this level of commitment to design and innovation, one thread which compelled the formation of New Kind in 2008.

In her article, Lisa Smith of Core77 writes that companies like New Kind, Design Industry Group of Massachusetts (DIGMA) and Design West Michigan “seek to organize state officials, design industry leadership, and educational institutions to promote design as an agent of economic growth and social change in those regions.” Hear, hear!

Beate Becker, Founding Director of DIGMA, invited Muñoz to attend the launch in Boston this summer, and he hopes that an ongoing conversation between groups like New Kind and DIGMA, the first state-level design industry group, will help lay the groundwork for effecting change on a regional level.


Smith’s Core77 article provided insight into the challenges and opportunities facing the changing landscape of design. Through her efforts with the Chicago-based Object Design League, Smith and co-founder Caroline Linder embody this new way of thinking about design and collaboration. New Kind is honored to be mentioned alongside such inspirational groups.

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