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bi-monthly bulletin of the International Council of Design

September 2021


New Website


We are excited to announce that the new ICoD website is now live! So with that, we would like to invite you to come visit it and discover the new content we’ve been working on for you!

While our new site still offers the same reliable resources as before like our Member Directory, News, Code of Conduct, Best Practices papers and so on, we also made sure to add some new sections that we think will not only pique your interest but also push the discourse surrounding design along. We wanted to create a website that was not only interesting aesthetically, but that also provided information and content worth reading and discussing online or in-person. Take a look at theicod.org for new features including more content on design professionalism, an area where we discuss contemporary issues affecting design, providing a lexicon to help define design and much more...

We hope you enjoy the new website and continue to visit it as we will continue to update it with the latest news and events surrounding design. We also hope our new website can continue to be a constant and reliable resource throughout your design journey.

Visit the new website


What is design anyways?


Why is it important to discuss, dissect and disagree on what design is, does, and can do? How might debate help us resolve our internal contradictions, transform our ideas, and guide us towards collaboration?

Welcome to the 'Polemics' section of our new website: in this section we explore discourse and thought on the contemporary practice of design, taking critical aim at the profession's controversial issues.

For our opening polemic 'What is design anyway?' we look at self-examination as a first step to self-determination. We define design for ourselves and for non-designers. We talk about discussing design and developing it as a discourse. Lastly, we outline the nature of polemics itself: the Greek art of discussion.

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Design is an expression of culture, both creating new forms of expression and mirroring the zeitgeist of the time. Designer Andrea Trabucco-Campos argues that today the consumer is looking for authenticity: "[W]e’re yearning for expressions that are less hygienic and altogether more human". The author argues that this is paving the way for a phase of 'ugly design' where order and perfectionism are eschewed for a messier aesthetic that feels more real.

Read more


New section: On Design

New section

What is design—or design-ing? How do we identify professional design and designers? How do we structure professionalism for designers in ways that empower all touched by design?

These are some of the central questions the Council’s new website engages with in the On Design section, which chronicles the emergence of design in historical context, takes stock of its disciplinary, conceptual, theoretical, and methodological frameworks, and provides tools for empowerment for today’s designer in their encounters with a world fraught by inequality, overconsumption, and an increasingly fragile environment. Based on the Council’s global research, observation and experiences, it was integral for the Council to develop definitions that designers, organisations and governments can stand by when it comes to being a designer or working with one.

Start exploring


JAGDA name change

Design events

AIGA Eye on Design contemplates the future of design conferences post-pandemic. The wave of online events taught our community that Zoom meetings could let more people in, be more inclusive, a definite plus. But also, the quality of the connections proved itself to be woefully inadequate. With one more screen to compete for our already saturated attention spans, instead of immersive experiences, these events tend to be relegated to background noise, competing for attention with work, childcare and the other distractions of modern work from home life. How to capitalise on the gains made to the technology and access granted to new stakeholders while bringing back the in-the-moment experience of an IRL experience with chances for real human connections? What does the future hold for design events?

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New feature

New feature

The new section on our website 'Polemics' derives its name from the ancient Greek art of engaging in controversial debate or discussion. This is where we reflect, discuss and explore the ‘touchiest’ issues in design, attempting to address the nuance of the grey areas by drawing on expanded perspectives and emerging contexts. Sometimes we take a stance. At other times we hear both sides loud and clear and hover in the place of unknowing.

This is a place to explore our profession and the effects of the twentieth-century experience on its evolution. We invite you with us on this exciting (if not rocky) journey and hope that you all actively participate in discussions on these topics.

For more


New Member: Luxun

New Member

Founded in 1938, Luxun Academy of Fine Arts (LAFA) is situated in Shenyang in Northeast China on two campuses spanning over one hundred acres: the Shenyang Campus in downtown Shenyang, and the Dalian Campus in Jinshitan, Dalian. Between the two campuses, seventeen majors in art and design (at undergraduate and graduate levels) include the schools of Industrial Design, Architecture and Design, Environmental Design, Dyeing and Weaving Clothing Art Design, Visual Communication Design, Media Animation, Sino-British Digital Media Arts College, and the Lumei Culture International Fashion College. Noted for its art and design excellence, Luxun is recognised as being among the top academies in its field.

See the article here




In a question that might be particularly pertinent to our Members, Communication Arts asks if design organisations have a future? Focusing on the situation in the United States, graphic designer Ellen Shapiro chronicles the challenges facing organisations like AIGA and the One Club for Creativity in supporting their national and regional design communities during a global pandemic. Some of these challenges—maintaining a sense of community during lockdowns, for instance—are sure to be shared globally by design associations.

A much-needed self-reflection on the role of professional associations today and how designers can be helped through this unique crisis and the ongoing evolution of the profession.

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what is professionalism in design?

New definitions

‘Professionals’ strive to achieve the best, most robust possible outcomes rather than settle for the minimum required. What we call ‘being a professional’ is a combination of a commitment to a high standard of performance and integrity, with a perspective on the needs of individuals as well as society. The initial step towards professionalism is self-awareness and self-definition. Only once the community of practitioners adopts a common approach can the wider society be expected to acknowledge the professional standing of the discipline. And only at that point can the discipline benefit from enhanced respect, status and influence—and the related independence and material by-products. The common cause required for the establishment of professional standing requires structured community recognition.

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what is design?

New definitions

Our experience of design comes most often from our daily interaction with the concrete world, through physical objects and the built environments, and experientially, especially through digital and online interactions. We interact with what is around us and each other through designed constructs, our clothing and devices, the methods of transportation we use, user-interfaces, the landscape or city we inhabit, and even through the chair we sit in. All of these objects and spaces—everywhere around us—are artefacts designed by a designer.

Beyond their functional and formal attributes, these designed artefacts impact cultural meaning. They express, reflect and even form cultural norms. The field of design is made up, not only of practitioners, but also educators, authors, journalists, critics and researchers, yielding a rich theoretical canon.

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what is the international council of design?

The Council

The context in which we operate today has changed. The design industry has become increasingly large and complex, with private and public entities sprouting up to fill the needs of a global, connected audience. Design touches governments and cities through innovation and service architecture. It is viewed in museums, and discussed on television. It is part of pop-culture and also central to many of the debates around quality of life—with increasing impact on health, environment, management of population growth and displacement.

The Council’s mission is to increase the recognition of the value of design, to elevate the global standards of all design disciplines, and to improve the situation of individual designers everywhere.

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postings + announcements

career centre new ICoD website

ICoD Member events

Start your own design business

Date: 14 Oct 2021
Graphic Artists Guild

Taipei International Design Award (TIDA) 2021

Award Ceremony: 29 Oct 2021
China Productivity Center

JAGDA International Student Poster Award 2021

Exhibition: 24 Nov–06 Dec 2021

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:

Phone: +1 514 875 7545
Email: info@theicod.org
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