08 November 2006
Tony K. M. Chang, Executive Director, Design Promotion Centre (CETRA)
Tony K. M. Chang, Executive Director, Design Promotion Centre (CETRA)

At the recent Icograda Regional Meeting in Taipei (Taiwan), Tony Chang gave a comprehensive presentation on the state of graphic design in Taiwan. Here are some highlights on the rapid development of graphic design in a country where design became an expression of culture and a major economic tool.

Apex Lin (TPDA), Robert L. Peters (Icograda), Tony K.M. Chang (CETRA), Su-Chao Wang (GDA) and Ben Wang (TGDA)

Over the years, Taiwan has made remarkable progress in developing the graphic design scene. The four most active graphic design promotion organisations have all become Icograda members: Design Promotion Centre under China External Trade Development Council (CETRA), Graphic Design Association of the Republic of China (GDA-Taiwan), Taiwan Poster Design Association (TPDA) and Taiwan Graphic Design Association (TGDA). Through these organisations, Taiwan quickly absorbs the latest graphic design information and techniques. In Taiwan, there are 15 associations related to graphic design. Taiwan's graphic design circles have always been very keen on international and domestic design activities. They sponsor exhibitions, competitions and seminars, publish graphic design journals and hold many other activities.

The government plays an important role in Taiwan's graphic design development. With full government support, CETRA established the Design Promotion Centre in 1979. It serves as a channel of communication among government, design sectors and industry. It helps the government develop and administer long-term design policies. By providing guidance in design, packaging and branding to industry, it enhances the competitiveness and image of Taiwanese products on the international market. Since 1993, Design Promotion Centre has established three overseas Taipei Design Centres in Dusseldorf, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; and San Francisco, USA. These Centres act as intermediaries between Taiwan and overseas designers and manufacturers, and facilitate the exchange of information, activities and training programmes.

The Design Promotion Centre has also sponsored CI and branding seminars, produced a highly popular bi-monthly publication entitled 'design,' and sponsored the 'Good Graphic Design' competition and exhibition. The Centre has recently taken over the task of promoting Taiwan's national, corporate and product image to the international arena by implementing the government-sponsored 'Image Enhancement Plan.'

The Graphic Design Association of Taiwan, founded in 1962 in Taipei, sponsors programmes for Taiwanese graphic designers to participate in international design activities. It is the oldest graphic design association. It now has about 100 members.

Taiwan Graphic Design Association was established in 1992. The 'Top Star Award' is one of the most celebrated activities sponsored by the association. The organisation also publishes journals aimed at introducing the latest design news and graphic design works.

The above-mentioned graphic design associations are very aware of the abundant business opportunities on mainland China. Graphic design delegations are often sent to the mainland to explore these various opportunities and promote exchanges between professionals in Taiwan and China.

In Taiwan, there are about 120 schools with design departments. There are a total of 45,000 design students and about 10,000 students graduate yearly. The number of graphic design companies exceeds 2,000. In the graphic design profession, there are 80,000 employees.

In the future, Design Promotion Centre under China External Trade Development Council will work on the establishment of a data bank based on the Chinese traditional symbols and graphics. It will be accessible to manufacturers as well as product, graphic and packaging designers. The Centre is also working on a plan to establish a National Design Centre under the guidance and financial support of the Taiwanese government. Serving as a bridge between manufacturers and designers, it will be one of the major executors of design policy in the country.

About this article
This article was published in BoardMessage (Issue 04, Volume 2001/2003, December 2002)