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

May 2020


Meditations on equality

Explorations in ethical design

How can designers design for equality? In what ways can designing be more thoughtful, to address systemic injustice in responsible ways? We believe that designers have a professional obligation to address inequity in their work; that their work should not create inequality and in fact should—even if it is in some small way—reduce the impacts of existing systemic inequalities on their users. Based on our reflections during the process of reviewing our Best Practice document Model Code of Professional Conduct for Designers, our 'meditation' series positions the role of design in relation to issues of sustainability, diversity and equality. This article is the third in a series following Meditations on Sustainability and Meditations on Diversity.

The full piece here




'Consumed' is the theme of Vol.2 Issue 3 of Irisdescent which focuses on issues of food sustainability, culture, and mapping. From Rethinking food recall communications for consumers to A wicked solution to the global food problem, articles by Audrey G. Bennett, Clinton C. Carlson and Whitney O. Peake, Dr. Sónia Matos, and Karin Vaneker and Erwin Slaats, explore some of the most troubling issues we face today around food security and design.

Read the issue


Macau Design Centre

New Member

ico-D is pleased to welcome new Member Macau Design Centre (MDC) (China) established by Macau Designers Association. Founded in 2014, the five-story centre housed in a former factory is the first innovative multi-functional centre designed to promote Macau's cultural and creative industries. MDC focuses on the development of Environmental Design, Industrial Design, Visual Design, Information Design, Interaction Design, Animation Design and Universal Design, providing collaborative working spaces for design companies and designers.

Read more


PM2019 Vancouver report

ico-D Platform Meeting report

Perhaps the last physical event of the Council for an unknown period of time, the 2019 ico-D Platform Meeting was a one-day event held in Vancouver (Canada) on 01 December 2019. Looking back now at these discussions, we are struck with the poignancy of some of the topics but also by how unaware we all were that the world was about to change.

Hosted by ico-D Member Emily Carr University of Art + Design and attended by participants from most continents the 2019 Platform's theme was Design is Professional. This report outlines the discussions and presentations of that day, underlining the importance of physical meetings to share, network and explore the potential to collaborate. This report covers four topics: Professional Standards, Collaboration, INDIGO (Indigenous Design) and Design Ethics.

Read and download the report


disruption is an opportunity for change

Message to designers

What is happening all over our planet today is a very rare occurrence. Perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime global-level event. And it will have lasting impacts on all our lives for many years to come. The questions we are asking ourselves in the midst of this crisis are: What will the long-term impacts be? And perhaps more importantly: How can we, designers, influence these impacts? This tragedy brings with it the opportunity to change the status quo.

Read more



It seems that we were not the only only ones feeling like media representations of the role of design in the crisis have been reductive.

Kate Wagner, an architecture critic at The New Republic magazine and a columnist for Curbed, challenges the well-known design and architecture websites to stop posting Photoshop mockups with "B-minus marketing text." She points to some user comments from readers that plead to "stop promoting this stupidity" and argues that this practice, driven by PR agencies and notable absence of more relevant reporting during the lockdown, is severly undermining the design professions.

See the piece here

See Dezeen's response here


Standards of professional conduct

Design professionalism

While developing an update to our resource document Model Code of Professional Conduct for Designers, the Council underwent a process of reflection on the state of design professionalism today. We thought about the ways in which designers have an impact on the built environment and on the quality of life for people and the planet. Now more than ever is a time for designers to be aware of the impacts of our actions and our collective responsibilities as designers to "be professional." But what exactly are our roles and responsibilites when it comes to professional conduct, and how must we adapt or rethink old ways? This resource begins to outline these wider reflections in detail.

Read more




"Africa as a continent is vast and has country-specific resources and challenges. What is deemed to be traditional in the western world, might not necessarily work in our context. When it comes specifically to architecture and design, access to materials and local skill become a huge influence in how things are built." In February 2020, ico-D visited South Africa, invited by the Pan Afrikan Design Institute (PADI) to attend the Afrikan Design Week event Our Time is Now. We met with our African Members and with the international design community. A common theme was the need for solidarity around an African design identity as well as finding ways to stay global in-collaboration with designers worldwide. Our first conversation was with Juliet Kavishe of the African Institute of the Interior Design Professions (IID).

Read more


Design Ethics

The Fashion Transparency Index is an independent review of 250 of the world’s largest fashion brands and retailers, ranked according to how much they disclose about their social and environmental policies, practices and impacts.

Noting that "transparency isn’t about which brand does the best, but about who discloses the most information," the initiative strives to "incentivise and push major brands to be more transparent, and encourage them to disclose more information about their policies, practices and supply chain."

Access the Index here


Ginko Yang

Instagram takeover

In the first week of April, we welcomed illustrator and graphic designer, Ginko Yang to curate a week-long Instagram takeover. During the takeover, Yang explored the challenges of working from home during quarantine. Her posts reflect a strange atmosphere of solitude broken only by zoom calls, deliveries to her door and a deepening relationship to her companion animal, a cat. Yang is based in London and Shanghai and is currently conducting research at Central Saint Martins (UK), working on imaginary landscapes and the life-long subject of how to chill.

Check-out Ginko Yang's takeover on Instagram @theicod


Design publication

Design publication

She Ji: The Journal for Design, Economics and Innovation, has published its issue 6/1, dedicated to design education and guest-edited by Guillermina Noël. She Ji is a peer-reviewed, trans-disciplinary design journal focusing on economics and innovation, design process, and design thinking in today's complex socio-technical environment. The journal is a diamond open access journal with no fees. The peer review process is under responsibility of Tongji University and Tongji University Press.

Read more

postings + announcements

career centre career centre career centre Call for Papers: Covid response

ico-D Member events

JAGDA International Student
Poster Award

2020 International Busan
Design Award

Taipei International Design Award (TIDA) 2020


D'source Corona Design 2020

Hong Kong International
Poster Triennial (HKIPT)

Jan Rajlich 100x100

Taiwan International Student Design Competition
(TISDC) 2020

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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