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quarterly bulletin of the International Council of Design

January 2024


International Design Day 2024

International Design Day 2024

What if designers first asked, is it kind? We have many metrics by which to judge the value of a design. Will it sell well? Is it sustainable? Is it innovative? Culturally relevant? But we don’t always have the reflex to ask ourselves… does it make the world (even a little) better? What if the measure of design was how well it cared for people and relationships rather than how profitable it was? What if the premise of design practice was to lead with kindness?

This year's International Design Day theme: is it kind? is about reshaping design as kindness practice. is it kind? proposes a new measure of design value: the kindness standard as well as defines what kind design is. Members will engage in activities around these thematics, to show how they are designing to transform current systems and to build kindness into their design practices, and how they working to ensure a kinder future for all.

This year's theme is in honor of the legacy of the humanitarian designer Rob L. Peters who once said, "What if we all decided to be a little kinder than necessary? What a gift to pass on." Activities for this year will be led by ICoD Member Lithuanian Design Association (LDA). The visuals are created by Lithuanian artist and illustrator, Egle Zvirblyte.

Read the announcement




In his book Designs for the Pluriverse (Duke University Press 2018) Colombian-American anthropologist Arturo Escobar reimagines design as a cultural tool for “making new worlds”. This new vision of theory and practice provides seminal thinking for understanding how design is embedded in history, and also part of a future of world-making and world-building. Arguing that the contemporary crisis is due to entrenched ways of being, knowing and doing, Escobar proposes a "transitional design" based on human experiences, place-based collaborations and relational modes of being. For designers seeking to reshape design as a profession that upholds autonomy, social justice, and ecological care, the book is an important guide.

Order the book


Design membership impact

Industry news

ICoD was recently mentioned in Readymag’s report about how design organisations "support, educate and unite worldwide creatives." The report found that 25.9% of creatives participate in a formal design organisation, and outlined how such a collaboration helps to shape the industry by boosting designers' careers (especially youth) and advocating for diversity and inclusion. ICoD was listed among some of its Members, including The One Club for Creativity and designaustria, AIGA and BEDA.

Read more


New Member

ICoD Polemic

What does “humanity” mean when it comes to designing? How do capitalist logics get in the way of human impulses of compassion, fairness and kindness? Is there hope? This Polemic examines the idea of humanity in design. We examine the dilemma between right to life, duty of care, and professional standards of codes and ethics in light of competing business models and their differing sets of rewards. We argue that, despite historic flaws, the profession of design intrinsically works to better the lives of all humans. Designers are in an exciting place of evolution of the profession and grass-roots organisations and activist designers have proliferated, such as Design Emergency, Slow Factory, The Digital Ethics Compass, and more.

Read the polemic


Inclusive design

Inclusive design

"They are all easily fixed – door alcoves, rounded tables and visual alarm systems solve the three problems outlined above at a swoop – and yet we encounter them over and over." Designer and architect Chris Laing talks about making public spaces more accessible for people with hearing disabilities, advocating for including more deaf people in the process of designing inclusive spaces. Sometimes the changes required are as simple as awareness of the elements of the sensory reach, mobility and proximity, light and colour, and acoustics for a deaf person and making the suited adjustments.

Read the article


AI global survey

AI global survey

From generative AI's potential to workforce cuts and reskilling, the McKinsey Global Survey on the current state of AI confirms the explosive growth of generative AI (gen AI) tools. The key points suggest it's early days still, but the use of gen AI is already widespread; leading companies are already ahead with gen AI; AI-related talent needs shift, and AI’s workforce effects are expected to be substantial; with all eyes on gen AI, AI adoption and impact remain steady; as well as more about the research itself.

For more, sign up to download the Article (24 pages)


AI and design

Slow design

Working at the intersection of climate justice, culture, science, design and art, Slow Factory is an online platform connecting systems change projects by young and diverse activists across a range of fields. With a vast Instagram following (over 500k followers) their programmes are radically shifting the narrative. As radical models: Media Justice is a campaign working to visibilise crimes against humanity; Garment to Garment prototypes design for disassembly and rethinking supply chain innovation; and their Fellowship programme commissions research and articles on pressing issues that inform their systemic change work.

Read Slow Journal
Visit Slow Factory


ICoD Stance

AI and design ethics

The global labour force of outsourced and contract workers are among the earliest adopters of generative AI — while also being the most at risk. Rest of World spoke to outsourced workers from different industries and regions, including call centre operators in Manila, programmers in Lahore, and designers in Cairo. Many reported already seeing generative AI alter demand and the stability of their income. With some bracing for layoffs or diminishing commissions, others have embraced generative AI tools in an effort to keep ahead of the curve.

Read the article

postings + announcements

tenure track faculty graphic design | rochester institute of technology (US) non-tenure track faculty graphic design | rochester institute of technology (United States) graphic design professor, layout and editorial design | college of art, design, and audiovisual communication (EC) associate professor, assistant professor in design | hong kong polytechnic university
assistant professor, data visualisation | university of south florida (United States) assistant professor, interdisciplinary performance / media designer / artist | university of south florida (United States) chair, bachelor of science in design studies | university of south florida (United States)  

ICoD Member events

The 14th Hiiibrand
International Brand & Communication
Design Awards

submissions open until 31 January 2024

Taiwan Design Week

event from
01–10 December 2023
Taiwan Design Research
Institute (TDRI)

42nd Graphic Design Exhibition

exhibition from
08 December 2023
to 05 January 2024
Turkish Society of Graphic Designers (GMK)

Hiii Illustration 2023

submissions from 12 December 2023
to 14 April 2024

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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