27 March 2008
27 April, Icograda's anniversary, was designated World Graphics Day in 1995. It is an opportunity to recognise communication design and its role in the world.

27 April, Icograda's anniversary, was designated World Graphics Day in 1995. It is an opportunity to recognise communication design and its role in the world.

Design shapes our world in every way, affecting our understandings, opinions, actions and decisions. Design determines the impact of information, whether it be through colour, form, or type, including the smallest street sign, the websites we browse, the products we purchase, or the books we read.

Since 1995, designers around the globe have come together to celebrate World Graphics Day in ways as diverse as the global community that Icograda represents. Along the way, Icograda has launched key initiatives enabling global dialogue and collaboration, advancing the mission and vision of our organisation.  Here are a few highlights from the past 12 years.

Defining the profession
For World Graphics Day '97, Icograda invited members to contribute a new definition of designer on the eve of the new millennium. Submissions were collected and presented to the global design community when they gathered for the Icograda World Design Congress in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Above: Punta del Este, 1997

World (no) Graphics Day
The 1998 theme "World (no) Graphics Day" engaged designers, clients, media and the public to imagine a world without graphic communication  - road chaos, impossible to identify wrapped goods in supermarkets, confusion at railway stations and airports, no newspapers. Designers used this simple exercise as an effective way to illustrate the role of communication design in our daily lives.

Icograda World Forests
1999, the last World Gaphics Day of the millennium began the tradition of planting trees. Initiated by Sadik Karamustafa, Icograda's Treasurer, Icograda members around the globe symbolically repaid their debt to nature by returning some of the paper we use to forests.

Enabling global dialogue
World Graphics Day 2000’s highlight was a special ceremony to launch Icograda’s website. President David Grossman said at the time: “For the first time, the worldwide graphic design community will have a common meeting place - to share, to communicate and to exchange views. Icograda's website will link design organisations and designers around the world."

A national identity
In 2001, ULUPUH and HDD, two Croation members of Icograda, used World Graphics Day to to raise the question of their country's visual identity. Through a letter to the President, the Prime Minister, the Parliament and all Ministries, as well as the public, these two Icograda member associations stated the need for a new visual identity of their country, suited to the contemoporary needs, image and values of Croatia, and invited the responsible government institutions to collaborate in a joined effort in its creation.

Designing our future
AGDA (Australia) used World Graphics Day 2002 as the opportunity to launch a national mentoring program - teaming up young designers  in their final year of design education with a professional practitioner to help guide or mentor young designer entering professional practice.

An online forum for design educators
World Graphics Day 2003 marked the launch of the international online community for design educators. Today, the Icograda Education Network (IEN) unites more than 80 institutions around the globe.

Seoul, 2006                                  Sao Paulo, 2004

Celebrating excellence

In 2004, Icograda Design Week brought the international spotlight to Sao Paulo. The 7 ADG-Brazil Biennial opened on World Graphics Day at the Memorial da America Latina, the spectacular cultural centre designed by architect and designer of the city of Brasilia, Oscar Niemeyer.

A US celebration
Icograda welcomed AIGA as our first US professional member in 2005. To celebrate its first World Graphics Day, AIGA hosted a juried exhibition of posters on the theme of "diversity," broadly defined as "a point of respect in which things differ."

A passion for football
The Korean Society for Experimentation in Contemporary Design (KECD) married the tradition of designig charms with Korea's passion for World Cup football. In 2006, thirty eight designers created charms that were distributed on World Graphics Day. More than 10 000 paper charms wished Korea's national team well for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

Honouring achievement
On 27 April 2007, Hector Villaverde, President of Prografica, received the "Eduardo Munoz Bachs Honorary Award." The award, a recognition to lifetime achievement in graphic design, is presented annually by the Visual Artists Association (UNEAC) of Cuba. The jury recognised Mr. Villaverde's solid contribution to Cuban design over 40 years and his commitment to the promotion of the cultural values in our profession.

Above: Since 2001, AIAP (Italy) has been organising online exhitions to celebrate World Graphics Day. In 2007, the theme was 'Bambini'.

Share your stories
If you have celebrated World Graphics Day in the past, please email your stories to the and we will share them with the international design community in the coming weeks.

Looking ahead
What drives Icograda is a shared passion that design can be a medium for progressive change. We call it 'leading creatively'. To mark World Graphics Day 2008, we want to know how you use design to effect change in the world around you. Join in the discussion on our blog and tell us about how you translate 'leading creatively' into action - about the kind of change design can facilitate.

Today, Icograda's network extends to 67 countries and regions, connecting communication designers around the globe working collectively in advancing the status of our profession. As we count down to 27 April 2008 and this year's World Graphics Day, we want to celebrate these achievements and say thank you. Through your dedication, our organisation has flourished since 1963.

Brenda Sanderson
Managing Director
27 March 2008