The Northern Design Quest

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Discover the design stories behind iconic Northern products – then come up with your own idea to launch.


Northern Design Quest website

Products, brands and beautiful objects feature heavily in our everyday lives but have you ever stopped to think about how they were designed?

Join us on a journey through the creative process that allows you to be the designer and your product to be the end result.

Start your design quest at Great North Museum where you’ll receive your brief and be inspired by a display of great Northern design.

Get creative at Northumbria University, find out about all of the different designs that were thought up for the humble cats eye, and see if you can come up with as many ideas for your invention.

Learn about how Joseph Swan created the light bulb in Gateshead, and the importance patents in protecting his invention and research your own ideas at Newcastle City Library.

See how Mamas and Papas put the customer at the heart of their design at the Toffee Factory, and pick your best product idea to create a storyboard about, and learn how to build your own prototype with the story of how Meccano was created.

Hear about the evolution of the Barbour brand and take part in our branding quiz at Northern Design Centre before creating a brand for your own product, and finally you’ll get the chance to showcase your creation alongside iconic Northern products including Meccano, Mamas and Papas and Barbour.

You can complete the whole quest in one day, experience it all over a couple of days, or use our handy online guide to do some bits at home before you visit!

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Venue: Great North Museum

Accessibility Information

  • 3 points of access, 2 of which accommodate with an accessible ramp.
  • 4 Blue Badge parking spaces available.
  • Lifts to all floors all of which have voice announcers and Braille indicators.
  • Accessible toilets available on ground floor, 1st and 2nd.
  • Assistance dogs welcome.

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Venue: Northumbria University Campus

Northumbria University Campus

Accessibility Information

  • Ramped access at the front.
  • Lift access throughout.
  • Accessible toilet on each floor.
  • Hearing assistance available at certain locations.

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Venue: Newcastle City Library

Newcastle City Library

About this venue

Accessibility Information

  • Level access into building with automatic doors.
  • Fixed loop system in place.
  • Lift to all floors.
  • Accessible toilets within the venue.
  • Baby changing facilities.
  • Regular supply of audio format and large print books.

Venue: Toffee Factory

About this venue

Accessibility Information

  • Toffee Factory has limited on-site parking facilities set aside for disabled parking.
  • Visitor and staff parking is a short walk away at Ouseburn South Car Park.

Venue: Northern Design Centre

Northern Design Centre

Accessibility Information

  • Northern Design Centre is fully DDA accessible.