13 November 2006
Jacques Lange, Icograda President 2005-2007
Jacques Lange, Icograda President 2005-2007

Part one of two

Jacques Lange, Icograda President 2005-2007

Six guiding principles for the 2005-2007 term: Inclusivity, Collaboration, Visibility, Learning, Sustainability, and Accountability (Part 1)
Having been the incoming Icograda President during the 'Era05: World Design Congress', I am struck at how this milestone event reiterated my personal understanding and support for the 'world' of multidisciplinary design and confirmed my trust in the validity of the visionary strategic planning that the outgoing Icograda Executive Board used in order to map its future goals within the greater design ecology.

The coming of age of graphic design and visual communication was evident in the 'Era05: World Design Congress', and was amply demonstrated in the many exchanges underlining design's strategic role as a catalyst in global development - not just economically - but, more importantly, socially and culturally. The forward-looking think-tank atmosphere provided to the newly-elected Executive Board by the 'Era05: World Design Congress' fostered the creation of a clear framework of priorities that need to be addressed during the next term. These priorities include: inclusivity, collaboration, visibility, learning, sustainability, and accountability.

Since its inception in 1963, Icograda has aimed to fulfil the brand promise entailed in the first word of its name. Specifically, in the past decade Icograda has made significant advances in terms of representation and inclusivity and now has members in 56 countries. It is also encouraging to see that the newly-elected Executive Board is the most geographically representative one in the history of Icograda and includes individuals from Africa (2), Asia (1), Europe (2), Latin America (1), the Middle East (1), North America (2) and Oceania (1).

However, when we look objectively at the current Icograda membership map, three regions remain under-represented. Africa, Latin America, and South East Asia stand out as the regions that require the most urgent attention. Furthermore, certain countries that are key players in the international design economy are not currently represented in the Icograda membership. The United Kingdom and France are two examples. In the 2005-2007 term Icograda will make a concerted effort to develop membership in all of these regions and foster the establishment of representative bodies for professional graphic designers where they do not exist. This will require a huge investment of resources and the newly-elected Board has already tasked five of its members to oversee this objective.

Gender representivity is another issue that the Board will address in the next two years. Women comprise much more than half of the international graphic design industry, yet few females ascend to national and international leadership structures. The 'Women in Design' initiative that was established in the previous term by Icsid will now become part of the International Design Alliance (IDA) project list. As the Lead Chairperson of the IDA for the next year, I will encourage the Executive Committee to develop the future strategy for this initiative and to address female leadership development as the critical area of focus.

Additionally, we intend to foster a culture of gender equity in the programming of Icograda Design Weeks during the 2005-2007 term. It is critical for Icograda to identify female design leaders and empower them by providing forums where they can express their views and share their experiences regarding the profession. It is my wish that by the end of 2006, at least half of all the speakers featured during Icograda events will be women.

During the 2003-2005 Icograda Board term, the main strategic focus of the Executive Board was to develop multidisciplinary collaboration with our sister organisation, Icsid. It entailed the relocation of the Secretariats to a joint space under the auspices of the Host City Project; executing the mandate of the Nagoya and Hanover General Assemblies of Icograda and Icsid to establish the International Design Alliance (IDA); and developing a strategic plan for the future of the IDA.

Like many others, I was initially sceptical of the practical implementation of this daunting task. However, I was privileged to have been part of this historical process and, today, am more convinced than ever that collaboration between the design professions is possible, critical and beneficial to all stakeholders. The traditional borders of the design professions are fading and Icograda needs to respond to this reality in a proactive manner. Our organisations' collaborative participation in the Host City Project and the IDA has delivered encouraging results and the benefits of the two Secretariats collaborating closely together are rapidly filtering through to the Icograda and Icsid members.

The outgoing IDA Executive Committee had developed a Strategic Plan that was almost unanimously approved by both the Icograda and Icsid General Assemblies. During the next two years, we will execute the Strategic Plan, which will focus on three core initiatives: The World Design Report, the World Design Summit, and the World Design Capital.

The World Design Report will map the design sector in 12 countries as a pilot project to determine the contribution of the design economy and the level of strategic engagement of design as a developmental imperative at the governmental level. The International Design Summit will aim at inviting all design and innovation-related international bodies to discuss future collaboration in the International Design Alliance. The World Design Capital pilot project has already been launched and intends to award the cities that commit to the use of design as a strategic focus to reinvent themselves.

Since its establishment, Icograda has been actively pursuing international visibility and the recognition of graphic design at governmental and intergovernmental levels. Unfortunately, during the past two terms, other organisational imperatives demanded greater attention from the Executive Board and little effort was invested in fostering relationships between Icograda and non-core affiliate organisations. During the 2005-2007 term we aim to revitalise Icograda's affiliations with NGO and intergovernmental bodies such as Design for the World (DW); the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO); the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO); the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The initiatives that these stakeholders engage in will impact directly on the membership of Icograda. However, their technocratic activities need to be made transparent to the Icograda community and the Icograda Secretariat has been tasked to execute this.

Furthermore, the 2005-2007 Executive Board has decided to utilise Icograda Design Weeks as a primary resource in order to create awareness of design as an agent of societal development among governmental stakeholders. The topics that are planned to be addressed at Icograda Design Weeks during the 2005-2007 term include: 'The dynamic role of design in society and commerce' (Hong Kong, January 2006); 'Defining design on a changing planet' (Seattle, July 2006); 'The design economy' (Mumbai, January 2007); 'Connect' (Auckland, April 2007); and 'Design/Culture' (Havana, October 2007). It is envisioned that each of these Design Weeks will entail components that engage governments and mainstream media.

Part II of this message from Icograda President, Jacques Lange, will appear in a future Feature and will focus on the three other guiding principles of Learning, Sustainability and Accountability.

About Jacques Lange
Jacques Lange was ushered in as new Icograda President during the 21st Icograda General Assembly in Copenhagen, Denmark. In the following piece, he talks about the six principles that will guide the Executive Board's activities for the next two years.

Jacques qualified with a BA (FA) Information Design Degree in 1988 from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and spent time in the television and advertising industries before joining Bluprint Design, a visual communication consultancy where he is a senior partner. Here he is responsible for strategy consulting, as well as R&D of integrated visual communication programs for a diverse client portfolio spanning the public and private sectors.

Jacques has served as an Icograda Board Member since 2001, was Chairperson of the Continental Shift 2001 Icograda Congress in Johannesburg, and was President of Design South Africa from 1998-2003. He is a director of the Communication Foundation of South Africa, a member of the Design Education Forum of Southern Africa, an editorial committee member of the academic journal, Image & Text, and a steering committee member of the SABS Design Institute's Design Achievers Awards.

Jacques has received many professional awards, has served on numerous adjudication and moderation panels, and has authored more than 100 articles, papers, research and consulting reports relating to visual communication. Jacques is fluent in English and Afrikaans and has travelled to over twenty countries on six continents.