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Guest blog: Cardiff Design Festival 2011

By Angharad Pocock 

Cardiff Design Festival turns seven this year, but it is the second time that I will be taking part. This year, my participation is in response to my own experiences in the past 12 months: setting up a small business.

I started setting up my own interior design company, Streamline Interiors, at the end of 2010 and it has been a very steep learning curve. As well as the fact that it is a tough market out there within the design and construction industries, there is just so much to learn and be responsible for when running a business.

The experience got me to thinking that the Cardiff Design Festival would be an opportunity to offer advice to, and share experiences with, others in the same situation as me: setting up a small business within the design sector.

I think that making a success of my business has been all the more challenging being located in Cardiff. Cardiff — and Wales as a whole — are perceived as being a long way away, both geographically and creatively, from London, the hub of the UK’s design industry. It was the perceived lack of publicity and coverage given to Welsh design in the major design publications and UK wide events that motivated, Olwen Moseley, the festival director and director of enterprise at the Cardiff School of Art and Design UWIC, to establish the Design Festival. .

The festival has grown considerably in the past seven years. This year, the talented designers and design thinkers in Cardiff and across Wales have put together an eclectic and diverse range of events that will promote, provoke, educate and celebrate design.

The events range from the Design Wars contest and illustration exhibitions, to a cycle tour of Cardiff exploring hidden places around the city, and a pub quiz on all things design.

As a designer, I think it’s important that I take inspiration and learn from as wide a range of creative sources as possible. This is why playARK’s series of events appeal to me. They will discuss the impact and possibilities of developing systems and ways of thinking through games and play in business, education and society as a whole. This includes a unique mix of digital games, retro games, board games and physical games that are played in everyday spaces.

Games are the theme at this years finale party. Designers like me get to show their lighter side and creative prowess. As I was born in the late ’70s, I think I shall have to design a party outfit inspired by the first computer games such as Donkey Kong and Pacman.

The closing party is also the time to announce the winners of the ‘Best of Welsh Design’ awards. This celebrates the wealth of talented designers and design-thinkers across Wales.

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