LOCATION: Raleigh, NC
OPEN FOR BIZ: 1995
SIZE: just right (8 people)
Since 1995, we have been involved in launching products, brands and experiences for clients around the world. We began as Gamil Design as a product and graphic design firm. In 2003, we created Designbox as a collective space for Gamil and other independent creative professionals to work, share ideas, motivate and inspire each other. 2014 marks the beginning of merged efforts, with all design and invention consulting folding into Designbox as a collection of services rather than splitting the entities between the space itself and the project work therein.
MISSION: Launch technologies, products and brands that help the world to be a better place and help us to be better in the world
The economist, EF Schumacher, stated that Good Work is essential for society and depends on three characteristics: creating useful products and services, perfecting our individual talents, and deeply collaborating.
To do Good Design, you must first be focused on Good Work. It has intentionally not been a straightforward journey, but over the past 10 years we have developed our secret sauce on just how to do this. We call it Inventive Culture. Built upon powerful theories including Open Source, Starfish Organization, Design Synectics, Living Systems, Biomimicry, Network Chaos and combining them with hard core Manufacturing Engineering and Design Intent, we have created a mix of skills and philosophies that breeds innovation. If you are ready for a comprehensive approach to doing Good Work, join us.
Designbox is a place, a network of powerful talent, and a breeding ground for design innovation. Located in Raleigh’s Warehouse District, our space has been featured consistently in both regional and national publicity, including multiple times in the NY Times! Our community involvement has won numerous awards and honors. Our collaborations with leading designers have been nominated for a Grammy and exhibited at the Louvre. We have dozens of consumer products in the mass market gaining market share and increasing profitability. Meanwhile we’re not afraid to put our own revolutionary ideas on Kickstarter and create successful brands.
From cartoonists to architects and web geeks to mechanical engineers, Designbox is a key node in the creative network. Whether you find the talent residing in our space or cleverly linked around the globe, we focus on creating the perfect team for each challenge, matching the right skills with the right projects.
CULTURE IS ACTION
Festivals & Events
Over the years, Designbox has been heavily involved in fostering Design Innovation and Inventive Culture in home town, Raleigh NC, and around the world. A core focus for nurturing Inventive Culture is the belief in the power of creative community as both an economic force and a lifestyle enhancement. These beliefs motivated the creation of SPARKcon in 2006, an annual open source creative festival that began with a few hundred people and has continued to grow each year, with 2013 estimated at 50,000 enjoying and participating in it.
As community leaders, Designbox has enabled solutions to citywide challenges through creative process and ideation facilitation (and some times mediation!). Many of these challenges have involved politically or culturally sensitive topics. Designbox planned the public forums and facilitated a creative process amongst decision makers and the public. Results?: always unexpected design direction and solutions, powerful consensus building and positive public impact. These sessions included the design for City Plaza (Raleigh’s downtown center), the marketing strategy for the City of Raleigh economic development and it’s new Convention Center, and even planning to deal with excess construction dirt to enhance a natural park instead of destroying it.
In the creative process, the Designbox philosophy always involves exploration and collaboration. The design and client team is intentionally without hierarchy throughout the initial concept phase in order to promote true innovation and freedom from preconceived worn out paths. The project criteria is to inform the stated objective rather than predetermine the solution. It is through this trust in process and release of fear and control that design breakthroughs, new intellectual property, and world-changing impact can happen. If you are ready to open your project up to these possibilities, please join us.
Raleigh . Bali
Our world never stops teaching us. We just have to be open enough to take it in and then give back.
The Designbox mission is built upon a global perspective. We bloom where we are planted by being inspired by our local community and being involved in its evolution, but we also find inspiration and unique skill sets from traveling and participating around the world. We have significant ties to Asia in the manufacturing and product development arenas, and have worked with designers throughout Europe.
We have also been involved with the IDEAS NETWORK, a coalition of international designers who study color and product trends. IDEAS showcases trend forecasting at the ISPO tradeshow in Munich Germany each year. Designbox has participated in ISPO and Ambiente, two of the largest trade shows in Europe.
Aly Khalifa (owner) was named as a 2012 Eisenhower Fellow, which is an international leadership exchange to promote peace through knowledge and understanding. Through this fellowship, Aly and his wife Beth travelled to Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines to study modern craft in design, creative culture, and on-demand small manufacturing approaches. They continue to be inspired by everything they learned during that investigation.
The Designbox team works on sustainability projects, manufacturing and fair trade, and base of pyramid efforts with communities around the world.