Regional Meeting ASEAN 2018 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) Recap

15 March 2018

(Photo credits: ico-D)

An ico-D Regional Meeting was held for the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries on 05-06 February 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, coinciding with the beginning of the term of President Zachary Haris Ong of Malaysia. The meeting was hosted by ico-D Member Graphic Designers Association of Malaysia (wREGA) and sponsored by government think-tank ThinkCity.


Following the success of the 2017 RM in Latin America, design entities from the ASEAN region met to discuss, present insight and share on common challenges. The meeting included discussion forums, roundtables, presentations and informal gatherings over the course of two days, gathering 57 participants from eight countries, representing 27 design organisations from the region. The Meeting was held at the PAM Centre Bangsar, a new Centre designed with considerations for the environment, culture and society.




At the opening roundtable, organisations stated the main challenges they faced and described they ways in which the wished to collaborate with their fellow South East Asian colleagues and the international design community.


From left to right: Hanny Wijaya and Dila Hendrassukma of Bina Nusantara University (Indonesia) and Wulan Pusponegoro and Rege Indrastudianto Indonesia Graphic Designers Association (Indonesia).

Some common challenges included:

  • How to build a design identity in an Asian context.
  • Lack of empowerment for designers and the protection of the identity of design (both traditional and contemporary) in Asia.
  • The next generation of design students pursuing higher education abroad.
  • The challenge of speaking to Governments, who do not understand what design is or its value.
  • Difficulty forging collaborations between design industry and education.
  • Difficulty of exchange within the region due to differing standards and certification.
  • Coordination issues with regional exchanges (semester schedules, credit transfers, etc.).
  • Challenge for design curriculum to keep up to speed with current technologies.


From left to right: Katsuhiko Shibuya and So Hashizume of Japan Graphic Designers Association, Sharon Lim Design of Singapore Council and Hanny Wijaya of Bina Nusantara University (Indonesia).


From left to right: ico-D Executive Board Members Ziyuan Wang, Daniela Piscitelli and Johnathon Strebly.



Some of the benefits of participating in regional echanges noted by participants of RM included:

  • Interconnection between countries means one voice and empowerment.
  • Opening the lines of communication, exchange and sharing of expertise among themselves.
  • Learning from successes and failures of other countries nearby who are experiencing the challenges of similar contexts.
  • Exchange of ideas on curriculum, exchange, return on investment for students.
  • Increased networking means more possibility to forge collaborations on research and student exchanges.
  • Sharing knowledge on concrete steps forwards, i.e. steps to achieve an NDP or create a relevant Accreditation/Certification model for their country.


From left to right: Melisa Wong, President of wREGA Graphic Design Association, Former Icograda Vice-President William Harald-Wong and Debbie Gan of First City University College (Malaysia)


From left to right: Katsuhiko Shibuya and Chika Kudo of Japan Graphic Designers Association, ico-D President Zachary Haris Ong and Melisa Wong of wREGA Graphic Design Association (Malaysia).



From left to right: ico-D Vice President Des Laubscher, Rizaldi Mohammad of Universitas Multimedia Nusantara (Indonesia) and Toto Mujio Mukmin of Tarumanagara University (Indonesia)

To address regional specific issues, six topics were discussed in detail among participants during the Meeting sessions and presentations on the following:

01 National Design Policy
02 Professional Accreditation/Certification
03 Exchange opportunities within ASEAN organisations
04 Curriculum Development: sharing best practices and expertise
05 Opportunities for Collaboration in Design Research
06 Exchange with the International Design Community

View the RM ASEAN Agenda here.




The PAM Centre Bangsar meeting venue was an ideal setting for dynamic meetings between participants and also casual break-out sessions. The home of the Malaysian Institute of Architects featured modern indoor rooms with high-ceilings, glass and concrete elements that led onto landings with views onto the city of Kuala Lumpur.



ico-D wishes to thank our host wREGA for their hospitality and for their dedication in making 2018 RM ASEAN a productive occasion for sharing knowledge and challenges about the ASEAN region and our Members there. We also thank all the participants for their presence and their contributions, for working hard to continue connect professional designers all over the world around the value of design.

Please note that the outcomes and discussions will be elaborated upon in the forthcoming ico-D Regional Meeting ASEAN Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) Report. Stay tuned!



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About ico-D Regional Meetings

The ico-D Regional Meetings are an important opportunity to engage with design community at the regional level. The objective of this meeting is to bring together design entities from a chosen region together to discuss a variety of common topics and challenges.