Turning 20 in 2020, ByDesign Festival explores intersections of design, architecture, the built environment, and the moving image. The program celebrates artists who combine forms and disciplines to transform our visual culture. Each edition features an array of guest artists, film screenings, performances, hands-on generative workshops, panels, and presentations that illuminate the roots, currents, and future of design in motion.

ByDesign is hosted and produced annually by Northwest Film Forum in collaboration with community partners.

The 20th edition of ByDesign Festival, held March 20-22, will be curated and promoted in close partnership with Design in Public, a strategic initiative of AIA Seattle dedicated to unleashing the design thinker in everyone. The festival integrates NWFF and DiP’s core missions and visions, by focusing on societal growth and community-building—as viewed through the lens of design-centered thinking.


An independent film and arts nonprofit located in Seattle, Northwest Film Forum incites public dialogue and creative action through collective cinematic experiences. Each year the Forum presents hundreds of films, festivals, community events, multidisciplinary performances, and public discussions. A comprehensive visual media organization, the Forum offers educational workshops and artist services for film and media makers at all stages of their development. More information is available at nwfilmforum.org.

- Short and feature films highlighting a broad definition of design forms, facets, and disciplines are eligible.
- ByDesign does not require festival premiere status.
- English subtitles required for all non-English language films.

Please be aware that submission fees help NWFF cover fees associated with screening, programming, and exhibiting ByDesign. Your nominal submission fee helps us support our continued work in presenting the best design and architecture films to our community.

A limited number of waiver codes are available to those from communities that have historically lacked access or equitable representation in media. Please contact rana@nwfilmforum.org for details.

ByDesign will inform all entrants no later than January 31st whether their film has been selected for the festival.

360 video and VR180 projects that are narrative, documentary, or experimental and under 10 minutes in length will be accepted. Minimum preferred resolution is 2K. If you are interested in submitting a VR piece that falls outside of these parameters, please send a message to vivian@nwfilmforum.org.

NWFF is able to screen feature films in a wide range of formats: 35mm, BetaSp-NTSC, DVD, DigiBeta (NTSC), Blu-ray, and Quicktime H.264 files. DCP is accepted for feature films only and must be accompanied by a Blu-ray or DVD backup. Short films must be sent to us as Quicktime H.264 files.

Short films fall under 40 minutes; anything above that length would qualify as a feature film.

Please direct all submissions inquiries to rana@nwfilmforum.org.

Overall Rating
  • Tom Strnad

    Thank you ByDesign Festival for selecting our film and for creating an online virtual festival during the COVID-19 pandemic. Amazing organization and communication, proud to have been a part of the 2020 ByDesign Festival.

    March 2020
  • The festival was held on the inconvenience of the COVID-19 pandemic and they quickly adapted to the situation by showing the films virtually. It was a great job that they did and earned my recognition and admiration. Congratulations!

    March 2020