World Design Organization

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World Design Organization
FoundedJune 29, 1957 (1957-06-29)

The World Design Organization (WDO) was founded in 1957 from a group of international organizations focused on industrial design. Formerly known as the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, the WDO is a worldwide society that promotes better design around the world. Today, the WDO includes over 170 member organizations in more than 40 nations,[1] representing an estimated 150,000 designers.

The primary aim of the association is to advance the discipline of industrial design at an international level. To do this, WDO undertakes a number of initiatives of global appeal to support the effectiveness of industrial design in an attempt to address the needs and aspirations of people around the world, to improve the quality of life, as well as help to improve the economy of nations throughout the world.[2]


Jacques Viénot first presented the idea to form a society to represent the industrial designers internationally at the Institut d’Esthetique Industrielle's international congress in 1953. The International Council of Societies of Industrial Designers was formally founded at a meeting in London on June 29, 1957.[3] The name of Icsid demonstrates the spirit which is to protect the interests of practicing designers and to ensure global standards of design. The individuals first elected officials to the Executive Board therefore did not act upon personal conviction, but represented the voice of society members and the international design community.

The organization then officially registered in Paris and set up their headquarters there. Icsid's early goals were to help public awareness of industrial designers, to raise the standard of design by setting standards for training and education, and to encourage cooperation between industrial designers worldwide. To do this, in 1959 Icsid held the first Congress and General Assembly in Stockholm, Sweden. At this first Congress the Icsid Constitution was officially adopted, along with the first definition of industrial design which may be found on their website (please see external references). During this Congress, Icsid's official name was changed from the International Council of Societies of Industrial Designers to the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design to reflect that the organization would involve itself beyond matters of professional practice.

Throughout Icsid had continued to grow and now has members from all over the world in both capitalist and non-capitalist countries. Icsid has now hosted the Congress in places such as Venice, Paris, Vienna, Montreal, Slovenia, Glasgow, Taipei, Toronto, Sydney, Kyoto and London.

In 1963, Icsid was granted special status with UNESCO, with whom Icsid continues to work on many projects, using design for the betterment of the human condition. As their humanitarian interests grew, Icsid decided to create a new type of conference that would join industrial designers in a host country to study a problem of both regional and international significance. This new conference held in Minsk in 1971, became the first Icsid Interdesign seminar. These seminars provided opportunities for professional development of mid-career practicing designers, and to allow them to focus their abilities on resolving issues of international significance. This first Interdesign conference and the ones that followed, consolidated Icsid's position as a driving force of international collaboration.[4]

In 1974, the Icsid Secretariat moved from Paris, France, to Brussels, Belgium, moving onto Helsinki, Finland, and in 2005, it settled to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where it currently resides.

In the 1980s, collaboration became even more important so a joint Icsid/Icograda/IFI Congress was held in Helsinki. The impetus for this joint conference was a direct recommendation made by Icsid members to explore closer ties with other world design organizations. At their General Assemblies, all participants unanimously approved a directive to investigate options for a closer working relationship in the future. These organizations then joined with UNESCO to bring together doctors, industrial and graphic designers, and assistants to develop basic furniture for rural health centers, packaging, transport, refrigeration, and injection of vaccines and the design of data collecting devices for field use.

In 2003, Icsid and Icograda ratified an agreement between both organizations during their respective General Assemblies to form the International Design Alliance, a multidisciplinary partnership that supports design. In 2008, the IDA partners welcomed a third member, IFI (International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers).[5] Together in 2011, all three partners held a historical joint Congress in Taipei, Taiwan called the IDA Congress. The alliance was terminated in November 2013.

In 2017, in January the Icsid officially became the World Design Organization (WDO).


  1. ^ "WDO | About". Retrieved 2017-04-06.
  2. ^ Prestigious World Design Capital
  3. ^ Unknown. "ICSID Archive". University of Brighton Design Archives. University of Brighton. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Exhibit at MACBA Barcelona". Archived from the original on 2016-03-17. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
  5. ^ The International Design Alliance (IDA) Archived 2011-11-30 at the Wayback Machine. ICSID (2008-09-13). Retrieved on 2013-07-12.


  • Gorman, Michael (1968). Design for Tourism: And Icsid Interdesign. Ireland: International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. ISBN 978-0-08-021481-8.
  • Borja de Mozota, Brigitte (2003). Design Management: Using Design to Build Brand Value and Corporate Innovation. New York: Allworth Press. ISBN 978-1-58115-283-8.
  • Verganti, Roberto (2009). Design Driven Innovation: Changing the Rules of Competition by Radically Innovating What Things Mean. New York: Harvard Business Press. ISBN 978-1-4221-2482-6.

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