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Montreal Quartier International, home to the Icograda Secretariat

The International Council of Design (ico-D;[1] formerly known as International Council of Communication Design or Icograda, which was formerly an initialism for International Council of Graphic Design Associations)[2] is a world organisation for design professionals. ico-D was founded in London in 1963 and celebrated its 50th anniversary on 27 April 2013.[3][4] According to Icograda's website, it is a non-profit and non-partisan organisation and a "member-based network of independent organisations and stakeholders working within the multidisciplinary scope of communication design and expanded media."[3]

Icograda members include professional design organisations, design promotion bodies, design media, design education institutions, and corporate organisations and individuals with a vested interest in professional communication design. Design media are affiliated through the International Design Media Network (IDMN). Individuals and corporate partners are affiliated through the Icograda Friends Network which was established in 1991. The Icograda Education Network (IEN), established in 2002, brings together the worldwide community of design educational institutions.[3]

International affiliations and alliances

Icograda coordinates best international practices for communication design. It maintains affiliations with other international organisations such as Cumulus Association,[5] IFRRO,[6] ISO,[7] UNESCO, UNIDO, WIPO, and ECOSOC.[8]

Icograda is a founding partner of the International Design Alliance (IDA), a strategic venture between international organisations representing design. The alliance was created by both Icograda and the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid), and ratified by their respective General Assemblies in September 2003.[9] In September 2008, the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI) joined the IDA as the third member organisation. The alliance is based on the desire of its partners to "do together what they cannot do alone", concentrating on opportunities arising from multidisciplinary collaboration.[9]

Founding history

Peter Kneebone proposed the idea to establish an international organisation for graphic design and was involved in Icograda's founding.[10] The Society of Industrial Artists (which changed its name in 1963 to the Society of Industrial Artists & Designers, and is now the Chartered Society of Designers, or CSD) set up a working group under the chairmanship of Willy de Majo, to promote the creation of an organisation to represent internationally the many professional graphic design associations throughout the world.[11] No such organisation existed. The profession was rapidly growing in importance, and also attempting to clarify its identity and objectives.[12] It was involved in increasingly complex social and technological situations. National associations were developing, but international dialogue and action were intermittent and uncoordinated. It was important to create links between the professional associations in all countries, and between the profession and the rest of the world.[13]

The inaugural conference of Icograda took place at Watney House, London, from 26–28 April 1963, attended by delegates from 28 associations in 17 European countries.[14] The meeting was chaired by H.K. Henrion and supported by Kneebone as secretary. On 27 April, the meeting agreed to formally establish Icograda. Proposals that were ratified include the development and drafts of a Code of Ethics and Professional Practice, a Code of Contract and Conditions of Engagement for Graphic Designers, Rules and Regulations for International Graphic Design Competitions, an International Directory of Organizations Concerned with Graphic Design and the publication of a News Bulletin.[15]

The first Executive Board was elected at the meeting in London, composed of Willy de Majo (Great Britain, President), Wim H. Crouwel (The Netherlands, Secretary General), Martin Gavier (Sweden, Treasurer), Peter Hatch (Great Britain, Vice President), Hans Neuburg (Switzerland, Vice President), Jukka Pellinen (Finland, Vice President), D. Stojannovic-Sip (Yugoslavia, Vice President), John Tandy (Great Britain, Member), Pieter Brattinga (The Netherlands, Member) and Paul Schwarz (The Netherlands, Honorary Treasurer). This Executive Board served from 1963 to 1966.[16]

At the same meeting, the first Icograda Congress and General Assembly in 1964 in Zurich was called in order to establish the aims and structures upon which the future of the organisation rested.[17]

On 27 April 2013, Icograda celebrated its 50th anniversary and its 25th General Assembly.[4][18]

Events and activities


The first Icograda Congress and General Assembly took place in 1964 in Zurich.[19] It was attended by about 200 designers from 17 countries and 23 associations. The theme of the Congress was Commercial Artist or Graphic Designer".[14] The Congress opened with the reading of a message by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh who wrote: “Every day designers of all kinds are becoming responsible for a greater proportion of man's environment. Almost everything that we see and use that was not made by the Almighty has come from some designer's drawing board. This is a very heavy responsibility and every effort by designers to improve standards, to encourage proper training and to develop a sense of social awareness is to be welcomed.”[20] At the General Assembly, delegates Icograda's aims and objectives, and it was further agreed to establish an audio-visual archive and library, to publish a news bulletin and to award student scholarships. Jenny Toynbee from Edinburgh School of Art won the first student scholarship. Ernest Hoch's[21][22][23] proposals for a unified system of typographic measurement was accepted for further development.

In 1965 Icograda establishes the Signs and Symbols Commission. It first collaborates closely with the International Chamber of Commerce and then with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). In the same year Icograda publishes Graphic journalism: Catalogue of Magazines and Annuals of Graphic Design and Allied Subjects featuring around 300 journals from 30 countries.[14]

In April 1966 the first Icograda International Student Project was judged in Belgrade. The theme was 'Public information signs' and the jury included Abram Games, Josef Muller-Brockmann, Paul Rand, Masaru Katzumie and Ivan Picelj.[24] The second Icogarada Congress, 'Graphic Design and Visual Communication Technology', and General Assembly were then held from 11–16 July 1966 in Bled, then in Yugoslavia.[25] R Buckminster Fuller was one of the main speakers at the Congress. At the General Assembly, four key policy documents were ratified: Rules and Regulations for International Graphic Design Competitions, the Honorarium for Judges of International Competitions document and the revised Code of Ethics and Professional Practice, and the Code of Contract and Conditions of Engagement for Graphic Designers. Knut Yran, head of design at Phillips[26] in Eindhoven, was elected President and Pieter Brattinga from the Netherlands, Secretary-General.[16] The first student seminar was also held in Bled from 11–13 July 1966 and the theme was 'Breaking the Language Barrier with Signs and Symbols'. In addition, the production of Equality of Man, a film project for students and young people in support of the United Nations Human Rights Year, was the first of several Icograda collaborations with International Animated Film Association (ASIFA)

The third Icograda Congress 'Design Destinations in a Changing World' was held in 1968 in Eindhoven.[19] An exhibition of Belgian graphics was organised by Michel Olyff at the same time and the entire congress decamped to Brussels for a day. "Sachez que tout en ce monde n’est que signes et signes de signes" (beware that all in the world is only signs and signs of signs), were the words of Marcel Schwab quoted by Alderman van der Harten in opening the congress. Der Harten went on to make observations about communication, information systems, symbols, codes and signals, "but away from the congress there were different signs that could not be ignored. A government minister failed to appear to make an address on the third morning of the congress; he was in an emergency cabinet meeting."[27]

Icograda has always been totally non-political but the 1968 Congress coincided with the end of the Prague Spring. As the tanks rolled in to Czechoslovakia the congress paused in a moment of silent respect. As the crisis deepened over the next few days Netherlanders offered hospitality to those wishing to stay on in the country for a few days, and many of the delegates marched, protested and petitioned their embassies as military repression threatened the freedoms of friends and colleagues.[27] Whilst the SIAD had facilitated the inaugural meeting in London five years before, it must be remembered that most of the founders of Icograda were central Europeans, an assortment of Yugoslav, Austrian, German, Polish and Hungarian political émigrés who had made their home in the UK to escape persecution.[27] The response of the Congress was therefore only to be expected. Some presentations from Teunissen van Manen, Richard Gregory, Benno Wissing, Jerome Gould, and Massimo Vignelli, were thus overshadowed by political events.

At the 3rd Icograda General Assembly FHK Henrion was elected President and Pieter Brattinga re-elected Secretary-General.[28] In addition, the book ICOGRADA The First Five Years[29] by Wynkyn de Worde, was published and Icograda was commissioned by UNESCO to produce their first series of slides on graphic design.


In 1970 the fourth General Assembly was held in Vienna, John Halas was elected President, and Marijke Singer Secretary-General. The newly established President's Trophy was awarded to Peter Kneebone. In 1970, the congress and exhibition 'The Visual Communicator and the Learning Industry' took place in Vienna. Despite a raft of excellent speakers, there was considerable dissatisfaction with the way in which the event had been organised, in particular the commercial nature of the exhibition, and the congress effectively turned on itself for half a day with an open discussion about how matters should be arranged in the future. Memorably Herb Rohn from Carbondale, Illinois, standing on a table, demanded metaphorically that "the windows of the Hofburg be thrown open to let some fresh air into this place where there has been none this week."

The first issue of 'icographic', Icograda's biannual magazine, was published in 1971. Founded by John Halas it was edited by Patrick Burke. The complete ten-year cycle was tapped out on an IBM Selectric typewriter, with many idiosyncratic but significant design issues being presented to a widening design audience.

In 1972 Icograda achieved consultative status with UNESCO in Paris. The fifth General Assembly and the Symposium 'Towards a Working Congress on Education' were held in London. Kurt Weidemann was elected President, Marijke Singer Secretary-General, and the President's Trophy awarded to Patrick Wallis Burke.

In 1973 the first Icograda Student Seminar was held in London, chaired by FHK Henrion. The London seminars were a regular feature of the design calendar until 1999. After Henrion died in 1990 the event was chaired by Alan Fletcher, and for the last three years by Mervyn Kurlansky.

In 1974 the sixth Icograda General Assembly took place in Krefeld, Germany. Walter Jungkind was elected Icograda president, the first non-European resident to hold the office. He was also the first whose main career was in design education. Marijke Singer was again elected Secretary-General and Ernest Hoch won the President's Trophy. The assembly was followed by the 'Edugra' Congress held in Neuss, outside of Düsseldorf. The theme was 'Graphic Design Education'.

In 1975 the Icograda Edugraphic '75 International Conference was held in Edmonton with the theme 'Education for Graphic Design/Graphic Design for Education'. In 1976 a symposium 'Design for Need', jointly sponsored by Icograda and ICSID was held at the Royal College of Art in London. Following a study undertaken for UNESCO an Icograda travelling exhibition 'The Image of Women in Advertising' opened first in Eindhoven.

The 1977 Zurich Congress − 'Graphic Design for Social Communication' − was complimented by an entire issue of Graphis magazine devoted to the Congress exhibition held at the Kunstgewerbe Museum Zurich. ICSID president Kenji Ekuan was one of the keynote speakers. The congress was followed by a seminar in Lausanne − 'A Town and its Image' − and the General Assembly at which Flemming Ljorring was elected president and Peter Kneebone Secretary-General. The President's Trophy was awarded to Kenneth and Shelagh Adshead for their work on the audio-visual archive.

In 1978 Icograda met at Evanston outside Chicago for the 'Design that Works' congress devoted to design evaluation; how designers could prove the commercial and social value of what they did. Speakers included Josef Müller-Brockmann, Milton Glaser and Massimo Vignelli. The eighth general assembly took place the following year in Paris at the Centre Pompidou. Peter Kneebone was elected president, Keith Murgatroyd Secretary-General and Bob Vogele was awarded the President's Trophy for his work organising the event in Chicago. The assembly was preceded by a seminar − 'Is Graphic Design a Reflection of Society or a Factor in its Evolution?'


In 1980, Mauro Kunst organised the first Icograda Latin American conference in Guadalajara, Mexico. In the same year, World design sources directory 1980 = Répertoire des sources d'information en design 1980,[30] edited by Centre de Creation Industrielle, was published on behalf of Icograda and Icsid.

The first Icograda, ICSID and IFI Joint Congress took place in Helsinki from 1–8 August 1981, an event that had been under discussion since 1977. The theme was 'Design Integration'. Three separate general assemblies followed the congress. At the 9th Icograda General Assembly, Stig Hogdal was elected President, Marijke Singer was once again elected Secretary-General and the President's Trophy was awarded to Geoffrey Bensusan for his work on the Icograda News Bulletin. The first Icograda-Philips design award was made to Benoit de Pierrepont and S S Satie focusing on the theme The design of instructions and warnings, and the related problems of society in any area of human activity. Also in 1981, Icograda organised a poster competition on behalf of UNESCO to celebrate the International Year of Disabled Persons.[31][32]

In 1982 the first of six issues of icographic/volume 2 was published on behalf of Icograda by Mobilia Press, with Jorge Frascara as associate editor. Each issue was devoted to a single theme and abstracts were included in four languages. Also in 1982 Haig David-West organised the first African regional meeting in Port Harcourt, Nigeria and in 1983, Haig David-WestIn (the first ever elected Icograda Executive board member from Africa)[28] edited the publication Dialogue on graphic design problems in Africa, based on this meeting.

In 1983 the 10th General Assembly and Icograda Congress Design Interaction were held in Dublin.[25] The keynote address was given by Erskine Childers from the United Nations. In one of the most remarkable addresses ever made to an Icograda congress, Childers mixed thousands of years of history with personal experience as he set out examples where "I can tell you that again and again down the years I have confronted communication needs for which graphic visuals were indispensable - the only answer".[33] Setting out a powerful argument for the potential of creating "rapid economic and social development through a major effort in endogenously researched and programmed use of the visual media leading to - but in that order - literacy"[33] he called on the delegates to "offer and apply your centuries-evolved skills and sensitivities to help humanity see - literally see - both its marvelous capacity for progress and its primeval capacity for error, inhumanity, social neglect, even apocalyptic destruction".[33] Admitting that he was presenting the delegates with challenges that were 'especially heavy' Childers said "I never knew a good graphic designer who did not explode with creativity and blossom when faced with an ostensibly impossible task... History will once again make its awesome judgement of you - but from now on with greater respect because you cannot any longer be underestimated. You help all of us perceive and place ourselves in life. Now you must help all of us understand so that we can more wisely and assuredly manage all our futures".[33] Raymond Kyne was elected President[28] and Robert Blaich won the President's Award for his promotion of Icograda-Philips design award.[34] The number of member organisations had grown to 50. A multidisciplinary design competition on the theme of Shu/Collectivity, held under the auspices of Icograda, ICSID and IFI, and sponsored by the Japan Design Foundation, was won by Charles Owen from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

In 1985, the 11th Icograda Congress The place and influence of graphic design in everyday life was organised by Philippe Gentil[28] in Nice, the first time that there were major presentations from India ('design without designers' by people whose needs were too urgent to await intervention by professionals) and Australia (from boomerang to bicentenary); from the design of books in China to street signs in Buenos Aires, and provocatively 'the backside of design' - what happens after the consultant has moved on to new, more rewarding problems. According to Stephen Hitchins (Icograda board member 1987−1991),[27] Ivan Chermayeff[35] made a long presentation totally devoid of visuals stating that he "wanted graphics to grow up" - comparing much of it "to WC Fields' definition of a virgin: a child about four years old, extremely ugly". So much of the pleasure Chermayeff claimed that he gained from graphic design was from process rather than product, "a sensation of feeling something is still wet long after it's dry". Improvisation, accidents, speed, freshness, and individuality were what mattered to him. Even without pictures, he won many delegates over. At the 11th Icograda General Assembly (also in Nice) Jorge Frascara was elected president. The President's Trophy went to Jan Railich, the chairman of the Brno Biennale.[34] Also in 1985, the World Directory of Design Schools and Programmes was published jointly by Icograda, ICSID and IFI, and edited by Maarten Regouin, secretary of the Icograda Education Working Group, which also coincided with Icograda's establishment of the Design History and Design Management working groups chaired by Michael Twyman and Abe Rosenfeld respectively.

In 1986 Icograda Excellence Awards were made for the first time at the Brno and Warsaw Biennales. The recipients were Christof Gassner and Henryk Tomaszewski.[36]

In 1987, Amrik Kalsi, Jorge Frascara and Peter Kneebone organised the Graphic Design for Development Seminar on behalf of Icograda and UNESCO. It was hosted in Nairobi, Kenya, from 6–10 July and attracted 91 participants from 14 countries.[37][38]

The 2nd Joint Congress of Icograda, ICSID, IFI Design 87 − with as its theme 'Design Response' − was held in Amsterdam from 16–20 August 1987.[25] At the 12th Icograda General Assembly which took place from 21–22 August (also in Amsterdam), Niko Spelbrink was elected president and Mary V. Mullin became Secretary-General (and Director of the Icograda Secreatriat – a position she held until 1999).[28] Susumu Sakane was awarded the President's Trophy.[34] Uwe Loesch won the first Icograda excellence award to be presented at the Lahti Biennale. Icograda published the History of Design Bibliography edited by Victor Margolin,[39] and Projects in Graphic Design Education[40] edited by Jorge Frascara.

In 1988, Nils Tvengsberg organised a special event in Oslo, from 13–15 May, to mark the 25th anniversary of Icograda.[25] All 11 presidents from 1963-onwards attended together with many former board members, partners, friends and supporters. It coincided with Norway’s national day and according to Stephen Hitchins, "it was one of the more remarkable Icograda events in a history of remarkable events".[41] Notably, Nils Tvengsberg[42] was the first person to serve on the boards of both Icograda and ICSID simultaneously. His goal was to look at the possibility of joining their common interests. It would be over 20 years before this partnership, today's IDA, that now also includes IFI, would all be headquartered in Montreal, and contemplating its first joint congress in 2011.

In 1989 the 13th congress took place at Tel Aviv University, chaired by Abe Rosenfeld.[25] The theme was 'Graphic Design Through High Technology?' At the General Assembly Simon de Hartog won the President's Award,[34] and Helmut Langer became President.[28]


In 1990, Graphic Design, World Views. A celebration of ICOGRADA’s 25th Anniversary,[43] edited by Jorge Frascara, designed by Niko Spelbrink, cover by Grapus, published by Icograda and Kodansha was a major book on graphic design in celebration of Icograda's 25th anniversary.

The Icograda Foundation was established in 1991 for the advancement of worldwide understanding and education through the effective use of graphic design. A limited company, the Foundation is a registered charity funded by corporate sponsorships, individual donations, legacies, and various fundraising activities. Mary Mullin received the President's Award for her work in establishing the Foundation.[44][45][46]

In 1991 the 14th Icograda Congress and General Assembly took place in Montréal, from 25–29 August, attended by around 2,000 delegates.[25] AT the Icograda General Assembly (30–31 August 1991), Giancarlo Iliprandi was elected president.[28] Highlights of the Assembly include: the hosting of the 3rd Marijke Singer Memorial Lecture presented by Margaret Catley Carlson, entitled Images for the Next Century; the Icograda President’s Award were bestowed on Mary V. Mullin for the inauguration of the Icograda Foundation and the Friends of Icograda;[34] establishment of the Icograda World Graphic Design Day;[47] establishment of Icograda Steering Committee for the International Design Archive and Research Centre Project; and the establishment of Icograda Friends[48] with seed donations contributed by 68 Japanese founders from Japan, chaired by Hiroshi Kojitani. In the same year, the first Icograda/Ifi/Icsid Joint Newsletter was published.

In 1993 the 3rd Joint Congress of Icograda, Icsid and IFI was held in Glasgow, Ireland from 5–9 September.[25] Stephen Hitchins chaired the organising committee and there were 101 speakers and over 1,000 delegates. Rick Poynor writing in Creative Review in 2007, said it had been “the most sophisticated and future-orientated discussion of design in the UK for 15 years”. Jeremy Myerson called it "a watershed event, one of those rare occasions when the design community comes together and presses the pause button, and stops to reflect on what designers do, how things have changed, and where design practice could go in the future... It explored the limits of design. Yet it also opened up new horizons". To quote Christopher Frayling who rounded off the event, "Two moments from Design Renaissance will stick in my mind for a long time. One is Victor Papanek quoting in discussion Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who said, 'there is no hope in honest error, none in icy perfection'. The other is Yuri Soloviev's story about persuading Eduard Shevardnadze not to go ahead with a town planning scheme in Georgia, while swimming out into the Black Sea, on holiday. I guess the moral of the tale is: if you are up to your neck in it − keep talking, keep persuading, grab the moment when it comes, have a healthy disregard for bureaucracy, and be a strong swimmer. Oh, and as you are swimming, try not to lose your bearings and always remember that the word 'utopia' means 'of no place at all'."[27]

As with all Icograda events, it was an invigorating experience, and it swam out into some uncharted waters.[27] At the 15th General Assembly held in Glasgow immediately after the Congress, Philippe Gentil was elected President.[28] Hiroshi Kojitani received the President's Award for his work in establishing Friends of Icograda.[34]

From 23–27 July 1995, the 16th Icograda Congress and General Assembly took place in Lisbon, Portugal. The theme of the Congress was Shifting Frontiers. At the 16th Icograda General Assembly, Jose Korn Bruzzone[49] from Chile became president and the Icograda President’s Award was presented to Marion Wesel-Henrion and J. Brian Davies,[50] jointly awarded for outstanding work for the Icograda Foundation and the organisation of the Poster Auction.[34] Icograda hosted the International Poster Auction managed by Sotheby’s London in May 1996.[51][52][53]

In 1996, Icograda released a policy document Digital Immortality: Encapsulating the Work of the World's Top 20th Century Designers for an Icograda Archive in digital form aimed to establish a comprehensive archive for Icograda and the work of leading graphic design masters. In the same year, Icograda participated in a meeting of the Icograda/Icsid/IFI working group founded to develop closer working relations between the three organisations which took place from 7–8 December in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The 17th Icograda Congress and General Assembly took place from 21–23 October in Punte del Este, Uruguay.[25] This was the first Icograda Congress to be hosted in the Southern Hemisphere and attracted ±1 000 delegates. The Congress theme was INTERCAMBIOS/EXCHANGES'. At the 17th Icograda General Assembly in Punte del Este, the Icograda Assembly joined the Icsid and IFI General Assemblies to unanimously pass a resolutions which called for closer contact between three sisters, paving the path towards the formation of the International Design Alliance (IDA), which was eventually established in 2005.[54] Guy-A Schockaert from Belgium became president and Mary V. Mullin was again elected Secretary General.[28]

In early 1999, Mary V. Mullin resigned as the Icograda Secretary General and Director of the Icograda Secretariat after serving 12 years in the position. The Secretariat relocated from London to Brussels under the new leadership of Thierry van Kerm[55] who was appointed as Icograda Director in June of the same year.

Sydney Design 99: Viewpoints in Time, the 4th joint Icograda/Icsid/IFI Congress took place from 26–29 September in Sydney, Australia.[25] Around 1 400 delegates from 45 countries attended the event. The 18th Icograda General Assembly followed immediately after the Congress, 30 September-1 October in Sydney. At the Assembly, David Grossman from Israel become President and Martha Bateman from South Africa was elected as Secretary General (Bateman was only the second person from Africa to serve on the Executive Board and the first to serve in a senior position). At this GA the Council officially separated the positions of Secretary General and Director of the Secretariat (paid position) functions.[56] In addition, the GA ratified a Joint motion of Icograda, Icsid and IFI to establish Design for the World and the Icograda President’s Award was presented to Federico Mayor, Director-General of UNESCO for the organisation's long track-record in supporting Icograda's activities.[34]


At the 17th Icograda General Assembly a motion was ratified to hold a special millennium congress in October 2000 in Seoul, South Korea. The theme was Oullim, meaning 'great harmony'. The event was attended by around 1,600 delegates and was also the first Icograda event to be webcasted live on the Internet. The Congress also included the launch of the Icograda Education Manifesto 2000, which was published in 17 languages.

In April 2001, Icograda held regional meetings in Zagreb, Croatia and in La Habana, Cuba, in June. The meeting in Cuba coincided with the establishment of a new series of seminars entitled Design Perspectives which attracted 335 delegates from 23 countries. In September 2001, the Continental Shift 2001: World Design Convergence Congress took place in Johannesburg, South Africa. This was the first time that Icograda hosted a congress in African and also the first joint Icograda/IFI Congress. The Congress opened on 11 September, only hours after the 9/11 terror attacks in the USA. At the 19th Icograda General Assembly (15–16 September, Johannesburg), Robert L. Peters (Canada) became President and Tiffany Turkington (South Africa) was elected Secretary General. One of the most important agenda items was the adoption of an Icograda/Icsid Joint Resolution to establish a joint committee to study institutionalised collaboration. In November of the same year, the first Icograda Design Week was held in Melbourne, Australia. The Design Week included a Design Perspectivesseminar and Regional Meeting. The year also saw the publication of Masters of the 20th century design: Icograda Hall of Fame (1974-1999) (book and CD-ROM), edited and designed by Mervyn Kurlansky, published by Graphis Inc. The book provided an in-depth view of the Icograda Student Seminars which had been held annually in London from 1973 to 1999.

In March 2002, the Icograda Design Week in Vancouver, Canada, took place and consisted of the Environs'002: Design Without Borders Design Perspectives seminar and a North American Regional Meeting. Smaller versions of the Design Perspectivesseminar was also hosted in Victoria Island, Canada, as well as in Seattle, USA. The Icograda Design Week in Brno took place from 17–21 June in the Czech Republic. The event included Over the fence: Design in Central and Eastern Europe Design Perspectives seminar, a Regional Meeting attended by delegates from eight countries, the Identity/Integrity Icograda Conference, East Meets West, Icograda Student Workshop, a symposium and inauguration of the Icograda Education Network (IEN) and a workshop to conceptualise the formation of the International Design Media Network (IDMN). The Design Week was further preceded by a joint meeting of the boards of Icograda, Icsid and IFI, resulting in the conceptualisation of the International Design Alliance (IDA) and the Host City Project to establish a joint Icograda/Icsid Secretariat.

In September of the same year, the Icograda board embarked on a three-week visit to China and Taiwan where they presented a Design Perspectives seminar in Beijing, logo2002: Identity and Communication Conference and met with various Chinese design stakeholders aimed to seed the formation of new professional associations. In addition Icograda presented the Branding and Innovalue seminar and an Asian Regional Meeting in Taipei, followed by a Design Education Symposium and Student Workshop in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Furthermore, the Icograda, Icsid and IFI presidents met on several occasions in Hornbaek, Denmark, to develop a Joint Resolution aimed at establishing the International Design Alliance and launching the Host City Project to establish a joint Secretariat in one location.

The year's activities ended with the hosting of a Regional Meeting, and Graphic Design for Social Causes workshop co-hosted by Design for the World as well as a Design Perspectives Seminar in Barcelona, Spain which attracted delegates from 15 countries.

In January 2003 Icograda initiated two surveys focusing on Design for Social Causes and Members’ interest and activity in sustainability issues. In March, the Board visited India where they met with various Indian design stakeholders in Mumbai to seed the formation of new associations, followed by further meetings and co-hosting the Brands-Identities-Graphics 2003, Icograda Design Perspective Seminar in Ahmedabad. The Icograda Education Network Conference and Assembly of Icograda Education Network was held June in Brighton, UK. These events coincided with the signing of an agreement to establish the Icograda Archive at the Design History Research Centre Archives at the University of Brighton which resulted in 145.11 linear metres of official documentation and publications, including c. 1,500 posters and c. 800 books and journals, being transferred to University of Brighton.

The VISUALOGUE: Icograda World Design Congress took place from 8–11 October in Nagoya, Japan which was preceded by the Icograda Education Network Symposium. More than 80 speakers and around 3 700 delegates from 48 countries participated in these events. At the 20th Icograda General Assembly which followed on the Congress and also the first to be held in Asia, representatives from 57 members attended plus observers from 16 related organisations attended and the official membership increased to 80 associations from 57 countries. The Assembly agenda included the ratification of the Icograda/Icsid Hornbaek Joint Resolution to establish the International Design Alliance (IDA), and the election of the 2003−2005 Icograda Board which was the first in history to represent six continents. Mervyn Kurlansky became president but no candidate was nominated for the Secretary General position.

In January 2004 the Icograda Design Week in Istanbul was held in Turkey. The Week's programme included 6 Alfabe, Icograda Student Workshop, an IEN Symposium, Regional Meeting, Building Bridges: Icograda Design Conference, Design Perspectives Icograda Regional Design Seminar, as well as the launch of the Icograda Design Media Network (IDMN). This was followed by the Icograda Design Week in São Paulo, Brazil, in April of the same year. The Week's programme included The Language of the City Student Workshop, a Latin American Regional Meeting, Design in Latin America Regional Design Seminar, and the Fronteiras! Icograda Design Conference. In August, Icograda and Icsid hosted a Joint Board Meeting and evaluation of final six bids for the Joint Secretariat in Essen, Germany. Montreal’s bid was selected as most ambitious and beneficial, followed by a site visit by representatives of Icograda and Icsid in September who initiated final negotiations to relocate the two organisations’ Secretariates to Montreal.

In January 2005, Icograda and Icsid sign a 10-year contract with Montreal International (MI) to relocate to a shared office in Montreal, sponsored by MI. After six years in Brussels, the Secretariat relocated to Montreal. In February, Thierry Van Kerm resigned and Brenda Sanderson was appointed as Icograda Director and officially moves into the new shared Secretariat in May. During the same time, Icsid and Icograda collaborates on the first international Women in Design exploratory study as well as on the Interdesign on Sustainable Rural Transport – Technology for Developing Countries, which was hosted April in Rustenburg, South Africa. The book, Worldwide Identity: Inspired Design from Forty Countries, edited by Robert L. Peters, published by Rockport, was also published and INDIGO (International Indigenous Design Network) was conceptualised.

Era '05 was another major collaborative effort by Icograda, ICSID and IFI to stage a fifth Joint Congress.[57] The theme for the main Congress was 'The Changing Role and Challenges of Design' which attracted participation by designers, business leaders, politicians, legal practitioners and social scientists. A milestone in the cooperative efforts between leading design organisations in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, Era 05 was built on the ideal that as a creative force, design and designers were integral in helping to address the challenges all faced and identifying solution to cope with a rapidly changing and increasingly complex world. In September, Era '05 began with small-scale pre-congress events hosted in Oslo, Helsinki and Gothenburg. The main Congress took place in Copenhagen and featured 126 speakers from 27 countries and was attended by around 900 delegates. At the 21st Icograda General Assembly that followed, Jacques Lange (South Africa) became president and Lise Vejse Klint (Denmark) was elected Secretary General. The newly elected board was now the most geographically diverse in Icograda's history with members from South Africa, South Korea, Canada, Denmark, Lebanon, USA, Australia and Brazil. Craig Halgreen received the Icograda President's Award for supporting and sustaining Sappi's Ideas that Matter program.

In 2006, Icograda co-organised three Design Weeks. In January So Tiny, So Many: Icograda Design Week in Hong Kong took place in China and consisted of a student workshop, an evening lecture series and a Regional Meeting.[58] In July, Defining design on a changing planet: Icograda Design Week in Seattle, USA. The Week included a student workshop that focussed on the UN Millennium Development Goals (in collaboration with United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs' Programme on Youth, a North American Regional Meeting, an Icograda Design Perspectives seminar, Defining Design on Changing Planet: Icograda Conference, as well as the launch of the +design programme.[59] The Icograda Design Week in South Africa took place in September in Pretoria and Johannesburg. It included the Design for Development Lekgotla (in collaboration with Icsid member SABS),[60] the Icograda/think Conference 2006,[61] and the IEN Colloquium on Virtual Design Archives.[62] In May of the same year, the presidents of Icograda,Icsid and IFI met in Montreal for the signing of an IDA Joint Venture Agreement between Icograda and Icsid, and agreement with IFI to host the 2011 Joint Congress under the banner of the IDA.

In 2007, Icograda launched the IDA World Design Survey Pilot Project which aimed to map design development in several global regions based on a standardised set of indicators. The project was developed with advisory support from UNESCO Centre for Statistics and UNCTAD.[63] Icograda also hosted two major Design Weeks. Design Local: Stop at all stations, Icograda Design Week in Mumbai, India took place from 5–9 February and included a student workshop and international conference.[64][65] Design/Culture: Icograda World Design Congress in La Habana was held in Cuba from 20–26 October.[66][67] It included an education conference at which 119 papers were presented originating from 25 countries (papers can be accessed[68] http://www.icograda.org/events/event_archive/articles1014.htm), as well as the Posters for Cultural Diversity international poster exhibition, organised in collaboration with Prografica and UNESCO.[69] At the 22nd Icograda General Assembly that followed, Don Ryun Chang (South Korea) became president and Lise Vejse Klint (Denmark) was again elected Secretary General. Highlights from the GA included the ratification of update definition of the profession from ‘Graphic Design’ to ‘Communication Design', approval of revisions to Regulations and best practice for organizing design awards competitions, the introduction of Icograda best practice statement on soliciting work from professional communication designers, substantial revisions to the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws include a ‘one member one vote’ system and granting of voting rights to Education Members (excluding on professional practice issues), establishment of an IDA Taskforce to explore options for future development, launch of INDIGO (Indigenous Design Network)[70] as part of IDA portfolio led by Icograda. In addition the Icograda Foundation Lecture re-introduced on 25 October at Museo Nacional Bellas Artes, La Habana which included the presentation of the Icograda President’s Award which went to Guy-A Schockaert for his tireless advocacy of professional design organisations and his commitment to Icograda,[34][71] and the presentation of the first Icograda Education Award[72] which was bestowed on Hazel Gamec from the Wanganui School of Design,[73] New Zealand.

In 2008, Icograda again held two Design Weeks. Color Value, Icograda Design Week in Daegu, South Korea[74] took place in July, and in October Multiverso: Icograda Design Week in Torinoin Italy.[75][76] In the same year, Icograda conducted the first survey of European member organisations which was followed up by a more in-depth study in 2010.[77]

The Mousharaka: Icograda Design Week in Doha, Qatar, was held from 28 February – 5 March 2009, and included an international conference, student exhibitions and a Regional Meeting.[78][79] In October, the XIN: Icograda World Design Congress in Beijing took place China.[80] This was the last dedicated Icograda Congress and was attended by 1 750 delegates from 48 countries. The Congress was followed by the Icograda Education Conference, 29–30 October, Beijing. At the 23rd Icograda General Assembly 125 delegates from 45 countries attended, making it the largest and most representative in Icograda's GA history. Highlights of the Assembly included the ratification of a resolution on Sustainable Practice of Communication Design,[81] as well as the adoption of new Best Practice documents, Regulations and Best Practices for Design Exhibitions and Jury Guidelines and Guidelines for Organising Design Conferences.[82] Russell Kennedy (Australia) became president and Grégoire Serikoff, (France) was elected Secretary General (he resigned in 2011). The Icograda President’s Award went to Pan Gongkai for helping to redefine the direction of art and design education in China, as well as to Robert L. Peters for his many achievements as a Board member and as a member of the founding executive of the International Design Alliance (IDA). The Icograda Education Award awarded to Ahn Sang-Soo from Hongik University, South Korea.[83]


  • 2010 - Design Currency: Icograda Design Week in Vancouver, Canada[84][85]
  • 2010 - Straight to Business: Icograda Design Week in Madrid, Spain[86]
  • 2010 - Optimism: Icograda Design Week in Brisbane, Australia[87][88]
  • 2010 - Icograda Design Education Manifesto 10th Anniversary, Jinan, China[89][90]
  • 2011 - Spring: Icograda Design Week in Vilnius, Lithuania[91][92]

In 2011, the inaugural IDA Congress[93] replaced the biannual Icograda World Design Congress as well as the Joint Congresses of Icograda, Icsid and IFI which has taken place every six years since 1981. The first IDA Congress took place in Taipei with the theme Design at the Edges.[94][95] The 24th Icograda General Assembly took place in Taipei from 27–27 October.[96]

In 2013 Icograda is 50 years old and will host its 25th General Assembly in and Istanbul, Turkey, immediately after the 2nd IDA Congress.[97][98]

Executive Board

Icograda's Executive Board consists of individuals who are duly nominated and elected by Icograda Member organisations at the biennial Icograda General Assembly. Members of the Executive Board serve in a volunteer position and donate their time and expertise to further Icograda's mandate. Board meetings are typically held four times a year in different locations around the world, usually in conjunction with regional meetings, seminars or other scheduled design events.

Executive Board 2011−2013

Current board[99]
  • Russell Kennedy, Past President - (Australia)
  • Iva Babaja, Secretary General - (Croatia)
  • Gitte Just, Treasurer - (Copenhagen)
  • Vesna Brekalo, Vice President - (Slovenia)
  • Yesim Demir, Vice President - (Turkey)
  • Sophia Shih, Vice President - (Taiwan — Chinese Taipei)
  • Lawrence Zeegen, Vice President - (United Kingdom)
  • Jeffrey Ho, board member - (Singapore)
  • Kyle Kim, board member - (South Korea)
  • Sali Sasaki, board member - (Singapore)
Resigned board members
  • Leimei Julia Chiu, President - (Japan) (resigned October 2012)
  • Omar Vulpinari, President Elect - (Italy) (resigned February 2012)
  • Gaby de Abreu, Vice President - (South Africa) (resigned December 2012)

Executive Board history

Since 1963 and 2013, 24 Icograda boards have donated their leadership skills and time to furthering Icograda's goals and objectives. View a complete list of Executive Board members here.[28][28]


Since March 2005, the Secretariat for Icograda has been headquartered in Montreal's International Quartier district (Quebec, Canada).

Current Icograda Secretariat staff include:[100]

  • Marilena Farruggia, managing director (Montreal, Canada)
  • Jovana Milovic, Project Manager (Montreal, Canada)
  • Brooke van Mossel-Forrrester, Communications Consultant (Montreal, Canada)
  • Rose Wu, Administrative Assistant (Montreal, Canada)

supported by Interns, who are connected to us through various university programs.


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External links