** COVID-19 UPDATE: As the state of film exhibition and physical gathering remains uncertain during the pandemic, ByDesign will take place in March as scheduled. While we are planning for a hybrid festival, NWFF will continue adapting to evolving recommendations to protect the public from COVID-19. Whether we gather online, in-person, or some hybrid variation of the two, community, dialogue, and education through media arts WILL persist, during ByDesign’s 22nd year serving the design & architecture filmmaking community! **

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 21st edition of ByDesign Festival, held March 19-28, 2021 was 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.


Founded in Seattle in 1995 as an independent film and arts nonprofit, 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. As 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 costs 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 February 7 whether their film has been selected for the festival.

Short films fall under 30 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