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bi-monthly bulletin of the International Council of Design

July 2022


Kaunas 2022


This October, for the first time in a long time, design organisations from around the globe will come together in one place. Kaunas, the Lithuanian city named European Capital of Culture for 2022, will host a series of activities, including an International Forum of Design Networks entitled, 'Human City Grid'. A meeting place for ICoD, BEDA, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, Design for All Europe and Valencia World Design Capital, the event will look at ways in which design can improve the lives of citizens in cities through placemaking, improvement of services and better wayfinding, UI and UX design. ICoD will also be hosting our annual events including the 2022 Platform Meeting (theme 'Design is Possibility') and our 29 General Assembly:

14 October International Forum of Design Networks | Human City Grid
15 October Platform Meeting | Design is Possibility
16 October 29 General Assembly (Member-only event)

Photo credit: A. Aleksandravičius. Kaunas 2022


On Design

On Design

Very often when designers talk about design they talk about the end product—the objects, layouts or environments they have designed—but it is the design-ing, the process and craft, that are of foremost value. It is the capacity of those skills that can be applied to a variety of problems that hold the true potential. In our new On Design section, we attempt to explain what design is. In this article, the Council appropriates the act of design-ing as one that professional designers undertake and try to demystify the 'magic' that happens when a designer applies their unique skillset.

For more


ICoD news


"Can designers ever really ‘respectfully’ borrow or take inspiration from different cultures? Even with meticulous research and consideration?

While this may be a big question to answer, designer and writer Ray Masaki offers some reflections on the issue while examining the Euro-American creative fascination with Japan. In this third and final instalment of a three-part series featured on It’s Nice That, Masaki delves into topics such as cultural appropriation, exoticisation, Japanese aestheticism and more, prompting us to consider the broader implications of these issues from a global perspective."

For more


design is possibility

ICoD Events

Our next Platform Meeting will be held in Kaunas (Lithuania) on 15 October 2022. Under the theme 'Design is possibility', we look to explore the endless potential design has to adapt to a changing world. Climate change, social inequity, cultural appropriation, exploitation and erasure, technological encroachment—design plays a role in all, perhaps even more than most professions because what we do is mass-produced, reproduced and packaged so attractively. But ours is a profession of potential. Of hope. Of possibility. We can will what we imagine into reality. And as designers, we have a moral obligation to potentialise that.

For more information




This article asks, What happened to the 2020 industry reset promising more sustainable fashion? As the recent Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen noted, there’s still too much talk and not enough action. Sure, many designers cancelled the traditional fashion calendar or are more transparent about supply chains—all suggesting a move to circular design systems that encourages less consumption—and yet, the Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company report shows global fashion sales are projected to surpass pre-pandemic levels this year. Achieving sustainable practices is not a one-size-fits all approach, but without massive collaboration on new ways of working, can the fashion industry delink from practices that both burn through natural resources and create demand for more …and more?

Read the article




"Everyone who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing (social) situations into preferred ones is engaged in politics." Designer Jorge Camacho (Mexico) advocates for designers to use their powers carefully. All design is political, he argues as designers are asked to imagine 'ideal' futures and, in so doing, must balance the needs and effects on individuals and groups. The challenge for the designer is both to balance the needs of all affected but also to be careful of the power imbalances between actors.

Read the opinion piece


IT ethics

IT ethics

In order to provide users with a seamless online experience, it's sometimes necessary for digital design to explicitly guide users through the process. However, sometimes this guidance might be inadvisable and the line between helpful and hurtful becomes increasingly blurred. In this article, Tristan Harris, a former Google Design Ethicist and now an advocate for more ethical tech, shows ways in which UI and UX design manipulates users, explaining that, "technology hijacks the way we perceive our choices and replaces them with new ones". He offers some solutions to various issues and more importantly a framework to think about tech that better values people's time.

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Design value

Design value

When the value of a design is reduced to how it is photographed or how many 'likes' it can solicit on Instagram, the quality of the design is sacrificed to some other metric of marketability. Author and designer, Sahadeva Hammari explains, "[p]erformative design ultimately reduces the practice of design from a wide range of creative, psychological, communication, and problem-solving skills to a narrow practice focused on the reproduction of popular styles and interfaces for the sake of feeling like and being perceived as a skilled designer." The heightened focus on reproducing popular styles, instead of cultivating one's skills as a designer, over the long term, is what will eventually degrade the value of designing.

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Professional practice

Secretariat news

Please note that the Council Secretariat, our team based in Montréal, will be closed from 25 July to 05 August 2022 for summer holidays. We will be back to focus on General Assembly preparations (all together) in August.


Design forum

Fakes and replicas

In a survey conducted by Twitter, 49% of consumers said they rely on influencer recommendations, and another 40% purchased items after seeing them on Twitter, YouTube or Instagram. In today’s social media marketing landscape, influencer endorsements have become one of the most effective ways for brands to boost engagement, target consumers, and drive sales revenue. However, without frameworks or regulations, some influencers knowingly accepted payments or free goods to promote and endorse counterfeit products, varying from clothing items to interior design. The World Trademark Review proposes a potential breakdown of what can be done.

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Design history

Talking design

A transdisciplinary symposium curated by the design studio Formafantasma and hosted by Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense, in parallel with Milan’s Salone del Mobile, Prada Frames brought designers, architects, curators, Indigenous elders, producers, scientists, anthropologists, activists, and legal and economic experts into conversation to investigate the complex relationship between the natural environment and design. This video is one of six that are available, on topics such as 'Governing' (link below) and 'Contextualizing' and 'Sensing'.

Link to video of session 5

postings + announcements

ico-D events

ICoD Member events

Human City Grid

14 October 2022
Kaunas European Capital
of Culture 2022

JAGDA International Student Poster Award 2022

Submissions: 01 May to 31 July 2022
Japan Graphic Design Association Inc. (JAGDA)

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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Email: info@theicod.org
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