Press Release: World Design Day 2017: Start Young

23.03.2017 News


Start Young PRESS RELEASE (pdf)


For immediate release
24 March 2017

World Design Day 2017:
Start Young


The International Council of Design (ico-D) in collaboration with We are Rap. presents WDD2017: Start Young, a workshop created for World Design Day 2017. WDD2017 takes place on 27 April 2017 on location with four worldwide partners. The theme for World Design Day is Start Young: a project spanning five continents, in five languages, to introduce design concepts to kids through educational workshops.


Montréal (Canada), 24 March 2017—Every year on 27 April, the International Council of Design (ico-D) celebrates World Design Day (WDD), the anniversary of its founding. This year, ico-D has partnered with Montréal-based designer Marc Kandalaft of We are Rap. to introduce design to a whole new generation. For the theme of the 2017 World Design Day celebrations, «Start Young,» we are asking ourselves «how do we prepare young kids to navigate this turbulent world, so they can become sensitive, intellectual, imaginative and practical leaders for tomorrow?» ico-D  sees the great potential for design to improve the world around us. We know that design changes—for the better—how we live and thrive in everyday environments like schools, parks, workplaces and hospitals. The profession of design and its ethics requires designers to consider context, culture, diversity and specificity before even starting to design, and this has become an essential way of thinking and being in the complex world we live in today.


We are starting with a primer on design with some hands-on exercises to initiate the participants into a basic form of design methodology. The WDD 2017: Start Young workshop will be given around the world, crossing times zones and uniting kids from all walks of life, from Korea to Mexico. The WDD workshops will celebrate the transformative power of kids and design across regions and cultures. The project is part of a global collaboration to promote early design education in partnership with Open Design Cape Town (South Africa), Casa Wabi (Mexico), Triennale Design Museum (Italy) and Seoul Design Foundation (South Korea), organisations who will lead the WDD 2017: Start Young workshops in their respective countries.


The hands-on workshop WDD2017: Start Young will encourage the participating children to explore their creative potential freely and trust their capacity to solve problems and test their solutions. WDD2017: Start Young participants will be asked to: Observe > Analyse > Create > Model > Test. The desired outcome of the workshop is to inspire and empower children to adopt innovative ways of thinking and to enhance their creative confidence.


Design is transformative. Knowing that the kids of today will be the leaders of tomorrow, early awareness of design as a field of professional practice and of elemental design methodology is key. Whether they choose to become designers, or to apply design methodology in their approach to everyday problems, the designing mindset will be an invaluable asset for whatever future they choose.


Kids are a blank slate. They are at an age when their view of the world and its possibilities are limitless. As the first generation of ‘pure’ digital natives, today’s kids already feel personally responsible for their own futures: they want to be able to choose and create work that makes a difference in the world. And they will do it in their own, unique way. Having a designing mindset means being tuned into the invisible things that matter to people and their relationships to each other and the world.


What if design was taught to children the same way math is: everyday, and on equal footing with science, history and languages? Nearly everywhere in the world, math is considered one of the essential subjects necessary for developing a well-rounded, young mind. The logic is, though many of us won’t become mathematicians, we inherently know math is useful, as it shapes and enlarges our brains in a particular, irrefutable way. In some countries, design is already considered to be an essential subject in elementary school curriculum. The same logic stands: by teaching design to children, they may not become designers, but they will know how to think and be like them. It’s about cultivating and nurturing a designing-mindset. And it’s best to start young.


Every year leading up to World Design Day, we ask ourselves: How can we best impact how people think about design? This year, we came up with the answer: Kids! …And starting their design awareness and education young!



We are Rap.

We are Rap. is an interdisciplinary agency committed to innovative approaches to design and branding. We provoke opportunities for change by creating meaning, challenging complexity, and contributing to public culture. Our terrain: Visual, written, physical, spatial interactive—immersive.

As Rap.’s director, Marc Kandalaft leads teams of specialists in industrial design, physical and digital environments, video and photography, as well as copywriting and business strategy. He strives to capture, enhance, and reveal the essence behind creative endeavors across all industries. In undertaking various public, cultural and educational endeavours, we seek to invite progress. Our goal is to cultivate a design-mindset and to spread our creative culture to the main poles of society: the decisions makers of today, and the young game changers of tomorrow.



Casa Wabi (Mexico)

Fundación Casa Wabi is a non-profit, civil organization that aims to promote collaboration and social commitment through art. We are convinced that a personal encounter with art has a positive impact, for which reason we seek to generate dialogue and interaction to enrich the programs’ participants outlook on life. Created in 2014 by Mexican artist Bosco Sodi, the foundation adopts its name from the concept «Wabi-Sabi,» which represents a vision of the world focused on the acceptance of the ephemeral and the imperfect. Based on this philosophy, Casa Wabi, located on the Oaxacan coast, was designed by the renowned architect Tadao Ando (Pritzker 1995), looking to generate a space conducive to interaction; where our residents and the communities of the region come together.


Open Design Cape Town (South Africa)

Now in its fifth year, the Open Design Cape Town Festival 2017 is a 12-day festival of talks, exhibitions, workshops, tours, activations and interactive experiences that explore how design links the building blocks of a sustainable, inclusive and prosperous society: through innovation, community building and education.

Taking place from 14–25 August 2017, programme highlights include a design education programme; Africa’s first international STEAM Symposium; an Experience Workshop hosted by Finland; a Tech and Gaming Expo and a citywide activation programme.


Seoul Design Foundation (South Korea)

Seoul Design Foundation was established to promote Seoul’s design industry and spread its design culture through various projects and its usage of Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) to improve the quality of life of Seoul’s citizens as well as to advance Seoul’s design competitiveness to global standards. Seoul Design Foundation envisions change and innovation through design. It aims to resolve, through design, various issues the city faces, and carries out a variety of projects to make Seoul a ‘safe’, ‘welcoming’, ‘imaginative’, and ‘lively’ city. «Seoul Design Foundation will design Seoul as a human-centered city, one which satisfies its citizens.»


Triennale Design Museum (Italy)
Opened in 2007, Triennale Design Museum is the first museum of Italian design representing the multiplicity of expressions of Italian design. The museum is extremely dynamic, able to renew itself and offer to its visitors unusual, different outlooks, points of view and pathways: a museum that is not only scientific and rigorous but also emotional and riveting. Triennale Design Museum «stages» Italian design through a sequence of «plays» that change annually, altering key themes, scientific approaches and layouts. With its innovative formula, the museum tries to give an answer to the question «What is Italian Design?». Since 2010, through TDMEducation, its educational section, the Triennale Design Museum has been offering workshops and special guided tours that introduce the discipline of design to the younger generations and schools.



Start Young PRESS RELEASE (pdf)

WDD2017: Start Young