DESIGN FORWARD RI is a comprehensive strategic and leadership development skills training program for designers in Rhode Island, presented by DESIGNxRI. Through, DFWD Advance, Emerge, and Explore, we invest in designers at different stages of their career and advance skills, expand colleague networks and mentorship, grow design businesses and add to the design ecosystem in Rhode Island.

The Advance program works with mid-level career designers by offering strategic design skills and adding know-how and new strategies to already successful design careers.

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The Emerge program is for recent design graduates launching their design careers - and their Rhode Island employers. The DESIGN FORWARD RI Emerge Cohort program supports the growth and development of fresh design talent through workshops and peer-to-peer networking.

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The Explore Design! program is an exciting summer session for RI youth ages 14 to 18. Introductions to graphic design, industrial design and architecture are the focus of this six-week summer camp!

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The DFWD Workshops are modeled after the Advance and Emerge cohort sessions, and includes a mix of strategic design advancement with professional and business development tools.

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The DFWD Resiliency Design Challenge is a Back to Work RI initiative that will accelerate a dynamic learning process, adding value to designers and companies, and creating a more resilient skill base for growth. It will further catalyze the design process towards reimagining how we engage in business and our community in a post-COVID world.

Applications are now open for designers, entrepreneurs, and creative sector businesses to join this 6-week intensive program!

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Funding for the DESIGN FORWARD RI program is provided by Real Jobs RI and covers employer-sponsored participation for a designer living and/or working in Rhode Island. This program includes project partners Downcity Design and a diverse group of design employers throughout the state. Additional professional development offerings, including individual workshops and dedicated client programs, are available through DESIGNxRI on a fee based per person basis. Contact us at