About the Design Marathon


The Design Marathon is an event created by Alloy Workshop & the Charlottesville Community Design Center  involving teams of local designers who provide a full day of pro-bono design services to Charlottesville area non-profit organizations. From 2008-2010, the Design Marathon generated over $95,000 worth of pro bono professional design services to benefit 32 deserving local non-profit organizations.

In 2013, Design Marathon 4 will be held at CitySpace on April 12th from 8 am – 6 pm in partnership with the Tom Tom Founders Festival, AIA Central Virginia and Piedmont Council for the Arts. Interested local designers and nonprofits are encouraged to participate. Potential projects include branding, brochures, advertisements, schematic building or space renovation drawings or conceptual site plans.

Applications will be considered from any Charlottesville area non-profits. For-profit, political or religious organizations will not be considered. Organizations will be chosen for the Design Marathon based on their needs, type of project, ability to follow through on the project, and positive impact the project will make in the community.

The organizations that are chosen will be responsible for any advance work in preparation for the Design Marathon including one mandatory client meeting with the design team. Other advance preparation may include refining the goals for the project, writing copy, gathering photographs, information or drawings, or encouraging community members to participate.

Organizations chosen to participate in the Design Marathon will be announced on March 4th. Client meetings should occur in advance of April 1st.


Applications and Work Sample Pages will be accepted from any local/regional designer or student pursuing a design-related degree. You must be able to commit to be at the Design Marathon for the duration of the Design Marathon.

The Work Sample Page is as important as the application itself.  (Designers who have participated in the marathon before do not need to submit a Work Sample Page). Please create a single-sided 8.5 x 11 sheet that will act as your portfolio for the selection process.  Include as much work as you feel will best describe your abilities to contribute to your project. The page will not be returned. No work submitted on the page will be reused/reprinted without your consent.

We understand that allowing your designers to participate takes them away from billable time. We appreciate your willingness to contribute to this community effort and will acknowledge you as a sponsor of the event and will highlight your firm in the Design Marathon exhibition.

Even if you aren’t part of a non-profit or can’t draw your way out of a paper bag, there are still a lot of ways to be a huge part of the success of the Design Marathon. We have a list of services and materials as you can see to the left, and we are open to any other ideas you may have to make the Design Marathon even more awesome.


4 Responses

  1. Is the application for 2009 on the website? — I don’t see it.

    So I’m not sure if the dates above were for 2008 or if they are for 2009


  2. We are in the process of updating last year’s application and should have this year’s version posted toward the end of June. We will also post deadlines applicable to 2009 DM soon. Stay tuned!

  3. I am interested in participating in an architectural project. Do we apply individually or should we assemble our own design team?

    • We prefer for designers to apply as individuals, and we will assemble teams for each of the selected projects based on designers’ interests and experience. Multiple designers from a single firm are encouraged to participate; however, they may not be assigned to the same design team.

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