Design Network North was established in 2007 with the aim of...

‘increasing the contribution that design makes to the economy’

We firmly believe that great design can improve any product, service or business. If you’re a business who needs some design input to develop a new product or to improve something you do already, we can introduce you to someone who can help - as well as make a contribution to the cost.
  • Succorfish
  • Hyperdrive Innovation
  • LDT Design
  • Safinah and Drone Ops


If you’re a designer of any persuasion, we can help you raise your profile through a listing on our design portal and through our monthly networking events. We’re often asked by companies to help them find a designer, so we let us know who you are.


Our monthly Rise and Design events cover a huge range of topics, all the way from Internet of Things to Branding. They bring together anything up to a hundred businesses to hear expert speakers, share ideas, discuss projects and chat over a coffee and a bacon sandwich. They’ve been running for nearly seven years, and every month someone will tell us that they met a new client they can work with.

It's not just us that think our Rise and Designs are great...

"Fantastic event, great place to get insight into a wide range of areas and a great place to meet like-minded people."- Simon Briton, Quantify R&D Ltd
"Absolutely love it! Full of interesting people and inspiring content. Great turn out, the room was buzzing!" - Ann English, Sheridan Design
"Very well respected event with a laid back feel which brings delegates back month on month." - Ian Farrar , Far North Ltd
"Great opportunity to meet new people without it being forced. Each event is tailored well and so you'll meet a variety of people with different skills" - Danielle Mowbray - Freelance Writer


If you want to grow your business there are lots of ways we can help you - market research, workshops, design and product audits, assistance in finding a supplier or a buyer, tender alert send outs, or we can just work with you to explore new opportunities. And we have a 3D printer for hire if you need to make anything in a hurry!


Terry McStea

Terry Mcstea

Terry has been part of Design Network North since it’s launch in 2008.  While not a designer himself, he firmly believes that ‘design is for anyone who wants their products, services or businesses to be brilliant’.

On the second Friday of each month he can be found hosting the Rise & Design event, as well as the annual Design Means Business conference.  He also leads on the Design for Business programme, running workshops with companies to help them to reach new customers, identify new markets and improve their innovation processes.

Prior to DNN he was part of a technology marketing team within RTC North, and co-ordinated the regional Foresight programme, Foresight North East.  A physicist by trade, he spent ten years as a research scientist with ICI, before joining RTC North in 1998.

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0191 516 4400
Polly Westergaard

polly westergaard

Polly was born in South East London, leaving the capital to study Three Dimensional Design in the North East at Northumbria University. She has remained in the region, setting up her business Westergaard Designs a home and gift product design company. Whilst continuing to run her business Polly has joined the DNN team to look after the membership side of things. So if you want to sign up as a member of the network then Polly is the person to speak to.

With her creative background Polly explores new ways to expand the DNN offering making sure that what we offer meets the member’s needs. With a background as a Designer Maker, Polly also organises a string of events to support like-minded creatives within the membership, such as ‘Meet the Buyer’ events and ‘Pop up Shop’ opportunities.

0191 516 4400
Jenny Hristova

Jenny is from Bulgaria originally, leaving the Balkan country to follow a bachelor degree in Journalism at Sunderland University in 2011. Following graduation, Jenny remained in the North East to fulfil a graduate internship with the University where she supported the HR team to develop their new website.

Prior to working at Design Network North, Jenny spent some time working in the public sector, where she received most of her experience and enhanced her skill set. Jenny has a passion for writing as well as all things digital, new media and the ever-evolving online world.

Jenny’s role at Design Network North is to spread the word about the many exciting things that we do. She looks after content writing for all platforms that we utilise including our website, social media as well as advertising events that we organise through Eventbrite. Jenny also looks after mailing activity so if you find an email from us in your inbox, it’s most likely Jenny will have sent it to you.

If you have any news about your organisation, she can help spread the word – be it in the form of a press release, a case study or a 140 character tweet, she can put that together for you.

0191 516 4400

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