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bi-monthly bulletin of the International Council of Design, ico-D

March 2020


Meditations on Diversity

Explorations in Ethical Design

In this global and interconnected world, we believe that designers have a professional responsibility to address the issue of diversity in everything they design.

When we talk about 'human-centered' design or designing for the 'end-user' we assume that there is one standard user 'type' that we can define. But the reality is humans are an incredibly diverse species. Depending on what we are attempting to design for them, their abilities, size and shape, gender, education, income, language, cultural understandings, cognitive ability, vision, coordination etc. might in fact be quite different. And if you design for one 'type' of user, you may unintentionally be excluding many types of users from being able to use what you have designed. At the extreme, this can even be dangerous for the types that you have not considered.

The full piece here




Iridescent Vol 2 Issue 2 opens with an article by Tara Winters on the ‘practitioner-researcher’, a challenge to the model of the ‘outside critic looking in’; Jan-Henning Raff investigates the absence of graphic design’s focus on the visual, providing a broader context for the socio-material relationship between subjects and graphic design artifacts; Marco Neves examines interactivity and printed matter looking specifically at the notion of time and the extent of the relationship that printed objects establish with their users; finally, a study that provides a new, more institutional twist to the history of a popular design theme, Pictograms, in Wibo Bakker’s article 'Icograda and the Development of Pictogram Standards: 1963–1986'.

Iridescent Volume 02 | 02


Peter Bankov


ico-D interviewed Peter Bankov, our long-time collaborator and creator of our World Design Day posters from 2016–2020 on the occasion of WDD2020: Be professional! to gain insight on what moves this poster designer in his day-to-day practice. We love Peter's strong graphic collages, and his out-of-the-box style. In this interview, translated from Russian by our Visual Communication Officer Alexey Lazarev, we hear the voice behind the designer, getting a snapshot of Peter's playful attitude towards his work and his design experiments, understanding who his role model is, and why he stands by a 'go with the flow' way of designing.

Check out the interview


Design Council Busan

New Member Story

Since 2007, Design Council Busan, a public design institute founded by Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and Busan Metropolitan City, has been focusing on creating benefits to the public, contributing to good health and the joyful lives of its citizens. By fostering the design industry in Busan, Ulsan, and the Gyeongsangnam-do regions, DCB promotes competitiveness of SMEs and economic revitalisation with the goal to become a Design Hub Institute in Asia. ico-D is pleased to welcome this new Member!

Read more about Design Council Busan


Coronavirus Communiqué

Protocols for COVID-19

As an international organisation, the International Council of Design is acutely aware of how the current coronavirus pandemic is affecting world travel and international collaboration. The current crisis impacts not only health infrastructure, but the movement of people, the flow of work and the economies of the planet. ico-D has put in place a series of protocols to address the current situation. Though these measures impact Member activities, we hope that these will effectively redistribute resources and afford some time to focus on projects that can be advanced remotely.

Be safe and stay healthy!

See the communiqué here


Nordic Report 02

Nordic Report 02

The most recent issue of the Nordic Report came out in February. The report contains twelve expert interviews and over a hundred initiatives working towards the UN Global Goal 12: Sustainable Production and Consumption of Agenda 2030.

The report is produced by SUSTAINORDIC, a network and platform of design organisations from the Nordic regions promoting sustainable consumption and production.

It includes a Manifesto, case studies and some ideas on collaborative partnerships to achieve common goals.

Read the report online here


World Design Day 2020

Virtual World Design Day

Given the current circumstances, we are strongly suggesting that activities for World Design Day be concentrated in virtual events and online participation. Our theme for 2020 is 'Be Professional!' It is a reflection on the designer's role, not only in designing, but in our greater responsibilities towards humanity, the planet and culture.

On 27 April, we encourage you to plan activities around this theme, for intance online webinars on issues of design ethics and professional practice. Also please post enthusiastically about issues relating to the professional aspects of design on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) and share with us your historical tidbits, or inspiring stories, the advocacy work of designers that have inspired or are inspiring you.

Read more


Design response to coronavirus

Design response to coronavirus

In this very particular time, designers around the world have responded by contributing ideas to better communicate, to respond to challenges and contribute constructively to the problem at hand (if only sometimes to make us laugh). Here is our breakdown of interesting design responses we have seen in the past weeks.

Self-driving robots and drones

A guide to responding to COVID-19 for graphic designers

Coronavirus cartoons

Flatten the curve

Virus an 'amazing grace' for the planet




In his piece entitled 'It’s Time for a Code of Ethics for Designers' UI/UX designer Anton Sten compares the responsibility of the design profession to the codes of conduct for lawyers, journalists and doctors.

He argues that with so much influence over our lives and behavior, designers should be held to stricter standards. In-line with our World Design Day theme.

Read the article here


Copyrights and AI

Copyrights and AI

In December, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) launched a public consultation process on Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property Policy. Questions included issues like "should AI-generated outputs be protected by copyright?" and "should there be specific exceptions to allow the use of copyrighted material by AI applications?".

Creative Commons, a non-profit organisation dedicated to building a globally-accessible public commons of knowledge and culture, has answered the call, advocating for a cautious approach. They argue that using copyright to govern AI is unwise and contradictory to copyright’s primordial function of offering an enabling environment for human creativity to flourish.

Read the Creative Commons response here


Remote office

ico-D News

As of 12 March 2020 the Secretariat is working remotely. Calls to the Secretariat Office telephone line (+1 514 875-7545) will be answered within 24 hours on regular business days (not weekends or public holidays). Our team will continue to assure their regular tasks and can be reached either by email or by telephone (to their direct lines).

Read more

postings + announcements

career centre career centre career centre code for life ventilator challenge

ico-D Member events

Joseph Binder

European Design Awards

Hong Kong International Poster Triennial (HKIPT)

JAGDA International Student Poster Award

The International Council of Design (ICoD) was founded as Icograda in 1963. The name changed in 2014 to reflect the Council's focus shift towards multidisciplinarity. ICoD Secretariat:

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