Clerkenwell Design Week: Using Creativity as a Tool for Progression | KHWS

Clerkenwell Design Week: Using Creativity as a Tool for Progression


A small area of London named Clerkenwell is home to more creative businesses and architects per square mile than anywhere else in the world. To celebrate this rich and diverse community, Clerkenwell Design Week has created a showcase of leading UK and global brands presented in a series of showroom events, exhibitions and installations that take place across the area. Every year, CDW embraces the character of the area by utilising its public spaces, galleries and venues within the ‘CDW Presents’ programme. Companies, sponsors and creative studios showcase projects that define the festival’s programme and marketing campaign.


This year, residents of Clerkenwell and outside visitors to the event will be celebrating its tenth year. Since its inception in 2009, the award-winning CDW has firmly established itself as the UK’s leading independent design festival attracting the international design community to London for three days of events. 2018 was its most successful year, with 34,060 attendees and over 300 exhibiting brands. Over half of the agencies and speakers who have graced showrooms and stages have gone on to create truly ground-breaking designs. Every year, some of the most ergonomic co-working spaces, eco-friendly buildings and contemporary interior design, have been exhibited here first. Pretty neat, right?


Our move to the agency’s current home in St. John’s Lane, firmly placed KHWS at this epicentre of creative activity. Now entering a full decade of CDW, we’ve been lucky enough to watch it grow and expand into London’s leading force in connecting people to creative design disciplines.


As a creative agency in our own right, how have we come to be inspired by CDW? That comes from simple aligning principles. The event is all about people and how design can improve lives and enhance experience. Every single year, guest speakers discuss how design rises to the challenges presented by modern-day life. Designers are programmed to resolve these problems in interesting and novel ways. Not only does this provide useful short-term solutions, but great design can offer insight into how similar problems might be tackled in the future. Similarly, the creative marketing solutions that we implement are designed to enhance the user experience and convert people’s interactions with a brand into transactions. Shifting digital and marketing landscapes require comprehensive knowledge of your customer. It is essential to keep evolving your practice, change your perspectives and increase the quality of your deliverables.


CDW inspires people to approach design with a different perspective. CDW’s growth has flourished over 10 years, working in synergy with the natural growth of Clerkenwell as an area full of creativity. It is also an incredible draw for creatives; over 60% of last year’s attendees were fellow designers and architects. Professional creatives engaging with the public discussing new design and how they can tackle even greater challenges, will see CDW become even more important over the next decade.


Elliot Brook, Co-Founder and Director of ‘Deadgood’ states “CDW’s success has been its ability to create a platform for independent British Design brands to be seen and heard within the UK furniture industry. From the off, the event enabled younger companies to pitch up alongside established industry players in order to challenge the pre-conceived conceptions of what commercial furniture should look like. Our Deadgood brand is now flourishing at the very same time that CDW is becoming the internationally recognised brand that it is.”


It’s 26 years since KHWS was founded, and whilst we remain a fiercely independent agency, we consider ourselves to be at the forefront of delivering considerately applied, cutting-edge marketing. Seeing how effectively CDW explore different tangents of design, encourages us to recognise how we place consumer purchase behaviours and insights at the very centre of every project we take on. Put simply, understanding people needs is the central tenet of consistently creating proficient, cognitively stimulating work. The ethos of using creativity as a tool for progression is at the heart of the Clerkenwell community and it’s why we too, consider ourselves to be very much a part of that.


Written by Jack Greenwell