a timeline

Icograda, the International Council of Graphic Design Associations, is founded in London on 27 April 1963 by two graphic designers, Peter Kneebone and Willy de Majo. The original Members include 28 associations from 17 European countries.

  • 1960s
  • In the 1960’s, the Council develops a Code of Ethics and Professional Design Practice and a Code of Contract and Conditions of Engagement for Graphic Designers. Resources emerge: audio-visual archive and library, a news bulletin, and the Council collaborates with international magazines, standardisation bodies and educational institutions.

  • “Every day designers of all kinds are becoming responsible for a greater proportion of man’s environment. Almost everything that we see and use that is not made by the Almighty comes from the designer’s drawing board.”

    —Reading by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the first Icograda Design Congress 'Commercial Artist or Graphic Designer?' in 1964 in Zurich (Switzerland).

  • In 1966, Buckminster Fuller is a speaker at the second Icograda Congress Graphic Designer and Visual Communication Technology in Bled (Slovenia, former Yugoslavia).

  • Congress topics emphasise how the new profession was developing: 

    In Zurich (Switzerland): Commercial Artist or Graphic Designer? In Bled (Slovenia, former Yugoslavia): Graphic Designer and Visual Communication Technology; In Eindhoven (The Netherlands): Design Destinations and Changing the World.

  • During the 1968 Prague Spring, Icograda Congress attendees march, protest, and petition.

  • 1970s
  • In the 1970s, Icograda asks the question: “Is Graphic Design a Reflection of Society or a Factor in its Evolution?” Discussions center around the designer’s responsibility and capacity to be a factor for change.

  • First published by Icograda in 1971, Icographic is the first iteration of the Council’s journal. According to Teal Triggs, it “sought to establish a benchmark for visual communication design research, notable for the publication of articles by both practitioners and academics, and for rich graphic imagery from designers around the world.”

  • Icograda achieves consultative status with UNESCO in 1972.

  • Throughout the 1970s, the Council’s Membership grows and becomes increasingly international. Outside of Europe, the Council has Members from Canada (Graphic Designers of Canada and the Société des graphistes du Québec), Israel (Graphic Design Association of Israel), Korea (Korea Design & Packaging Center) and New Zealand (New Zealand Society of Industrial Designers).

  • 1980s
    /1990s
  • In the 1980’s and 1990’s, Icograda’s social mandate expands and the ‘backside’ of design—process rather than product—is emphasised.

  • “I never knew a good graphic designer who did not explode with creativity and blossom when faced with an ostensibly impossible task.”

    —Keynote address by Erksine Childers, Dublin Congress: Design Interaction, 1983.

  • In the 1990’s, reflecting geo-political development, Icograda makes strong connections in Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. The Council counts about 50 organisations as Members having accepted applications from Iceland, Brazil, Singapore, Nigeria, Mexico, Turkey, Croatia, Slovenia, Uruguay, Argentina, Japan, Taiwan, Cuba, Belgium, Bulgaria and Zimbabwe.

  • 2000s
    /2010s
  • In 2000, Icograda launches its first website, and the Icograda Best Practices Document Library including the Icograda Education Manifesto 2000, which was published in 17 languages.

  • The new millennium begins with Continental Shift 2001: World Design Convergence in Johannesburg, opening only hours after the 9/11 terror attacks in the USA.

    The year also saw the publication of Masters of the 20th century design: Icograda Hall of Fame (1974-1999), edited and designed by Mervyn Kurlansky. The book provided an in-depth view of the Icograda Student Seminars.

  • In 2005, after six years in Brussels, Icograda relocates the Secretariat to Montreal (Canada).

  • Iridescent, the second iteration of the Council’s journal launched in 2011, is about breaking boundaries, and Icograda’s role is to develop a global take on the future of design research.

  • In 2009, Icograda had its first Congress in China. The Congress was held under the theme XIN (信), literally meaning “message”. With 2000 participants from 45 different countries, the event created enduring ties between the Council and the Chinese design community and marked the beginning of a series of initiatives in China, including Beijing Design Week.

  • In 2013, the Council initiates the Platform Meetings, with the aim of bringing Members together to set the international agenda on key professional design practice issues. Themes include Design is valuable in Pasadena (2016), Design is global in Montreal (2017), Design is changing in Beijing (2018), and Design is professional in Vancouver (2019).

  • In 2014, reflecting full transformation to a multidisciplinary format, the General Assembly votes to officially change the Council's name to the International Council of Design.

  • After almost a decade of preparation, in 2017 the Montréal Design Declaration is signed by 18 international organisations. ICoD is one of three international organisations on the Steering Committee with the International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP) and the International Federation of Landscape Architecture (IFLA). The Declaration states that "All people deserve to live in a well-designed world.”

1960s

In the 1960’s, the Council develops a Code of Ethics and Professional Design Practice and a Code of Contract and Conditions of Engagement for Graphic Designers. Resources emerge: audio-visual archive and library, a news bulletin, and the Council collaborates with international magazines, standardisation bodies and educational institutions.

“Every day designers of all kinds are becoming responsible for a greater proportion of man’s environment. Almost everything that we see and use that is not made by the Almighty comes from the designer’s drawing board.”

—Reading by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the first Icograda Design Congress 'Commercial Artist or Graphic Designer?' in 1964 in Zurich (Switzerland).

In 1966, Buckminster Fuller is a speaker at the second Icograda Congress Graphic Designer and Visual Communication Technology in Bled (Slovenia, former Yugoslavia).

Congress topics emphasise how the new profession was developing: 

In Zurich (Switzerland): Commercial Artist or Graphic Designer? In Bled (Slovenia, former Yugoslavia): Graphic Designer and Visual Communication Technology; In Eindhoven (The Netherlands): Design Destinations and Changing the World.

During the 1968 Prague Spring, Icograda Congress attendees march, protest, and petition.

1970s

In the 1970s, Icograda asks the question: “Is Graphic Design a Reflection of Society or a Factor in its Evolution?” Discussions center around the designer’s responsibility and capacity to be a factor for change.

First published by Icograda in 1971, Icographic is the first iteration of the Council’s journal. According to Teal Triggs, it “sought to establish a benchmark for visual communication design research, notable for the publication of articles by both practitioners and academics, and for rich graphic imagery from designers around the world.”

Icograda achieves consultative status with UNESCO in 1972.

Throughout the 1970s, the Council’s Membership grows and becomes increasingly international. Outside of Europe, the Council has Members from Canada (Graphic Designers of Canada and the Société des graphistes du Québec), Israel (Graphic Design Association of Israel), Korea (Korea Design & Packaging Center) and New Zealand (New Zealand Society of Industrial Designers).

1980s
/1990s

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, Icograda’s social mandate expands and the ‘backside’ of design—process rather than product—is emphasised.

“I never knew a good graphic designer who did not explode with creativity and blossom when faced with an ostensibly impossible task.”

—Keynote address by Erksine Childers, Dublin Congress: Design Interaction, 1983.

In the 1990’s, reflecting geo-political development, Icograda makes strong connections in Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. The Council counts about 50 organisations as Members having accepted applications from Iceland, Brazil, Singapore, Nigeria, Mexico, Turkey, Croatia, Slovenia, Uruguay, Argentina, Japan, Taiwan, Cuba, Belgium, Bulgaria and Zimbabwe.

2000s
/2010s

In 2000, Icograda launches its first website, and the Icograda Best Practices Document Library including the Icograda Education Manifesto 2000, which was published in 17 languages.

The new millennium begins with Continental Shift 2001: World Design Convergence in Johannesburg, opening only hours after the 9/11 terror attacks in the USA.

The year also saw the publication of Masters of the 20th century design: Icograda Hall of Fame (1974-1999), edited and designed by Mervyn Kurlansky. The book provided an in-depth view of the Icograda Student Seminars.

In 2005, after six years in Brussels, Icograda relocates the Secretariat to Montreal (Canada).

Iridescent, the second iteration of the Council’s journal launched in 2011, is about breaking boundaries, and Icograda’s role is to develop a global take on the future of design research.

In 2009, Icograda had its first Congress in China. The Congress was held under the theme XIN (信), literally meaning “message”. With 2000 participants from 45 different countries, the event created enduring ties between the Council and the Chinese design community and marked the beginning of a series of initiatives in China, including Beijing Design Week.

In 2013, the Council initiates the Platform Meetings, with the aim of bringing Members together to set the international agenda on key professional design practice issues. Themes include Design is valuable in Pasadena (2016), Design is global in Montreal (2017), Design is changing in Beijing (2018), and Design is professional in Vancouver (2019).

In 2014, reflecting full transformation to a multidisciplinary format, the General Assembly votes to officially change the Council's name to the International Council of Design.

After almost a decade of preparation, in 2017 the Montréal Design Declaration is signed by 18 international organisations. ICoD is one of three international organisations on the Steering Committee with the International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP) and the International Federation of Landscape Architecture (IFLA). The Declaration states that "All people deserve to live in a well-designed world.”

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board history

Since 1963, the Council had had twenty-eight (28) Executive Boards

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congress history

From 1964 to 2015