Associate Professor Rebekah Matheny Co-hosts the First Annual Retail Design Fest

February 2, 2024

Associate Professor Rebekah Matheny Co-hosts the First Annual Retail Design Fest

Graphic from the Retail Design Fest

In November, Associate Professor Rebekah Matheny co-hosted the first annual Retail Design Fest, an event organized on behalf of the Design Research Society’s Designing Retail & Service Futures group. This student-focused educational event brought together over 600 design students globally. The twelve speakers representing Asia, Africa, Europe, and the US ranged from Adam Brinkworth, founder of Brinkworth in the UK, to retail trend forecasting from Gensler, and sensory immersion research from Landor Fitch.  Students participated in a global classroom exercise, directly engaging in digital discussions on presented topics and brainstorming wicked problems facing the retail design industry. 

Ohio State Design Seniors reflected on the experience: 

“I thought it was really interesting to see how retail has shifted from a product focus to a human-focused design, such as a skate park design in the Supreme stores. I feel like it’s shifted more into the user experience and sustainability focus than trying to show/sell as much product as possible,” said Kortney Allen. 

Averi Wolf shared, “I was inspired by how much intentionality and craft goes into designing a human-centered retail space. The focus on sensory and experiential design as key drivers of decision making was eye-opening as a young designer entering the field.” 

Abbi VanHoose added, “I found it really interesting hearing how companies like Supreme will integrate their stores into the culture of the community that they are entering rather than having the same exact overall design in all of their locations.”   

In addition to Ohio State, the Fest was co-hosted by UHASSELT, University of Johannesburg, University of Lincoln, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, VIA University College, and Ahlia University Bahrain. The Department of Design at Ohio State was proud to represent the US as the only school from the states participating. 

Image of Rebekah Matheny
Rebekah Matheny

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