Looking for designers to start a Design Community Facility

Hello all,

Can emerging design firms work together to create a
facility where common resources are shared?

I think yes!

I am proposing a building where young (at heart also) designers can
afford to start their own business.

Facilities, machine-shop, technology, and administration
will be shared among all designers.

This organization will rely on many interns from many departments
(industrial design, architecture, crafts, graphic design etc…)
from many local universities and colleges in Philadelphia
to infuse the facility with soon-to-be graduates.

Mainly, the emerging design firms will form an in-house
community that will critique each other, help each other, cross
employ each other, and engage as much as possible with
local residents and local government.

This proposal is in its initial phase.

I would appreciate your input.

Leran Schwartz





How idealic this sounds, but in reality will not work. There are many reasons why, I will state two big ones.

Design firm owners are liable for maintaining the confidentiality of the projects they are working on. If something slips, the firms can be shut down and owners fines/jailed depending on state laws. Add the fact that their are multiple design firm employees in the model shop, and the risk is drastically increased. Most likely large clients would be very leary of working with such firms. I have personally had potential clients tell me that when we were located in an office building, " We do not feel comfortable working with a firm who cooccupies a building. The chance that sensitve material be seen by outsiders is too great".

Competive Nature:
You are setting thes firms up to begin compeating with one another to maintain clients, or steal clients from one an other.

just another naive young fool with communal communist world-peace dreams.

get a real job and stfu.

no, it’ll NEVER happen. unless the untalented clump together. much like the outcasts and losers in high school, who banded together for the only common denominator of being outcasts and losers.

good luck with world peace.

hey retard, better hope next Columbine won’t get you…

A Design Co-op is an interesting problem to execute. I wouldn’t discount it so easily. There are succesful Co-ops in housing, Partnerships in Architecture and Law, why not in Design?

I know of a few designers who do have the relationship where they share studio space and infrastructure but do not share clients. They have been doing this for quite a while and with a lot of success. While their economy of scale is not that of an Astro or a Continuum nor are their clients as high profile as Microsoft and such, but they do deal with a large amount of tech work, medical products and overseas manufacturing along with having intimate knowledge and relationships with of some of the big box retailers. Now they are not fully working together in a co-operative way, they have their own private spaces and are basically sharing expenses and facilities, but they do provide insights into each others work, and have been known to pass work back and forth on a subcontracting basis.

That confidentaility risk is easily mitigated with an NDA. Simply put everyone who walks in the door at most consultancies signs one. Everybody. That way you and your client are completely and legally bound to confidentaility. A good lawyer can write one up in 15 minutes. That said, it is incumbent on a designer to protect their clients work from prying eyes. If you don’t have a way to do it and convince your client easily you have problem.

The competion problem is moot IMHO. How much business sense do you have if you share a space with someone who is actively competeing against you or if you allow them to compete against you rather than with you?

The Co-op while being a socialistic construct does have its merits if its exploited well and has unifying plan that all parties agree to or better yet a board or steering committee that definesa some kind of direction. Traditional consultancies accomplish multiple projects for multiple clients under one roof from ID to fabrication to graphics and packaging all at the same time; but they often have a leadership position or unifying purpose that holds them together. Why not in a Co-operative way?

Just Like Communism In Russia worked…O-Yeah it colapsed due to corruption and greed.


Yes, designers can work together, however as you point out we are human beings. Thus we are suseptable to greed and disception. Clients (Large fortune 500s) would never go for such an enviroment, as the risk far outways the benifits. As for the NDA, these are obvious, however they become quite complex and rarely enforceable when dealing with competitive companies as any design firm is. I have delt with this personally as I have worked with the engineering divison of another ID firm, some of the information from our engineering was leaked to a competitor who their ID department was working for. Big legal hassle for both presidents and subsiquently both firms lost each off their clients. Even the client who benifited from the slip left…“If they let that slip they will let our information slip”.

What you suggest would be idealic in providing benifit for mankind, but little to no profit in the real world. And frankly from the idealic nature of this post, and the “cool” vehical comment I beleve you to be a recent or pre grad with little exposure to the workings of the design world outside of the imagineary one protrayed by your professors.


Look through the previous posts. This is an old topic, nearly all under-talented grads/neargrads have had this idea. (Looks of your port you fall into this realm) Though it sounds promising to the unemployed, you need to pay the bills. Their is no way a client who is willing to pay for design will hire such communal firms. As pointed out the risk of information leak is far to great, and NDAs in this enviroment are a MOOT point as they are basically non-enforceable as previously mentioned. This is the reason most thriving firms are offering wholistic design, research through production release.

Design firms are companies and thus have a legal obligation to make money for thier owners, and investors. without clients this does not happen and you end up working at Wal-Mart.

Most large university’s have subsidized business incubators to turn research into dollars (with a kickback to the U should anything develop).
You could try offering services to any applicable project, and eventually set up shop in the incubator.


So are you proposing this as a way for individual designers to work on personal design projects, or are you proposing this as a way for Design Firms to work on client programs?

If individuals working on individuals projects, then it is entirely plausable, and is happening throught the world. Groups of designers (Friends) do this all the time bouncing ideas for proprietaty products off each other. I know some who even have a group office where the 5 of them go to freelance as a conglomerate of tallent, but fully list themselves as one design entity.

If you want this to work for small firms working on clients programs, no it can not work, at least in a capitalist ecconomy. Why becuase the seacrecy around products is there for a reason. Corporate spying is an astonishing problem. For instance I shred all documents, and have redundant passwards and firewall setup at my office (required by one of my fortune 50 clients). Yet I still had a competitor (1200 miles away) hire a local individual to pilfer through our paper shreds to find information on what clients we were working for, and who our contacts with in the organization were. Would have never known about this is the police wouldn’t caught him.

Open Source in design is one of those ideas that have been thrown around under many different names since I was in college 15+ years ago. Good for designers, and reduces redundant products. However puts your clients out of buisness.

Really? Some of my freelance clients have no idea I work out of the back bedroom in my house, or take a dremel tool to some plastic out on the back porch. My biggest client does, however. I think I am getting this work because of my experience, talents and my connections - not because of what my office environment is like. And, I don’t have the overhead of a large firm.

There are opportunities out there - don’t waste time making excuses for yourself!


<<<< doin this the satellite way.
The most interesting thing and generating thing in design is the idea, the one (or many ) lightbulb that lights up ,
but this idea in logic is the solution to a problems, unless that it is more like art. Let us say, u create a wonderful graphic, but for whom, unless u , make in on someone’s cue, it is more like art that u have made it on your own fancy but not designed to someon’s need.
but in order to answer someone’s need we (designeres) more than often take it as what we would like cos we think not from another designer or critics brain.
why not start a forum in which we can share all our ideas on a problem (a need) any opf our clients have posed for us. this way we can share insights and get aother perspective.