13 June 2001
Havana (Cuba) - On 11 and 12 June, delegates from 11 Latin American countries met in Havana, Cuba to participate in a regional meeting organized by Icograda.
Havana (Cuba) - On 11 and 12 June, delegates from 11 Latin American countries met in Havana, Cuba to participate in a regional meeting organized by the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda). This Icograda Regional Meeting offered the opportunity to make contacts, exchange information and share experiences regarding the state of graphic design and the visual communication profession in Central and South America. On 13 June, the international Icograda Design Perspecitives symposium entitled "El dise o gr fico en una economia globalizada" took place in the same venue, attended by 250 Cuban and foreign participants.

The Icograda Regional Meeting was held in the Che Guevara Memorial Hall of Casa de las Americas, at the invitation of the Comit Progr fica Cubana (Progr fica). Progr fica is the Cuban association of graphic designers, and a member of Icograda. Latin American designers from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, Uruguay and Venezuela participated in the meeting. Additional representation from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, France, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the USA resulted in a vibrant international dialogue.

Topics of discussion included: recognition of the graphic design profession in Latin America; the development of graphic design associations; the issue of global culture vs. local identity; and design response to societal problems. Latin American countries face similar challenges, such as a lack of recognition for the graphic design profession, few professional associations, a perceived threat from "amateur designers" and desk-top publishers, scarce information resources, and a general sense of isolation. Icograda board members offered useful advice and answered many questions.

One of the major concerns of designers from countries who are not members of Icograda is the process of establishing professional associations. Networking between associations, in order to achieve critical mass, is a key by which to bring about change and solutions to common challenges faced in the Latin American region. Icograda's President Elect, Robert L. Peters, chaired the meeting. He expressed Icograda's support, and identified resources to assist in establishing and helping grow design associations.

Actions resulting from this historic meeting include; the formation of a multi-national Spanish translation committee (which can help make design news and information, as well as professional practice documentation, available in Spanish); a commitment among Latin American designers to share professional practice resources (e.g. case studies and pro forma documents) via the Icograda website; and specific proposals to share exhibits of design work (e.g. from El Paso, USA and
from Buenos Aires, Argentina).

Latin American countries sense the effect of the globalization. While some regard globalization as a threat to local identity and vernacular visual language, others see new opportunities. Pepe Menendez of Progr fica states: "Although we are isolated, in a way, this does not imply that we have not sensed "globalization" here. I think it has positive aspects. Internet gives us a way to communicate with the rest of the world, and to share ideas and experiences."

Icograda is the representative international organization for graphic design and visual communication. Founded in London in 1963, Icograda holds consultative status with UNESCO, UNIDO, and the Council of Europe. The 19th Icograda world congress, "Continental Shift 2001," will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa in September 2001 in conjunction with Icograda's 19th General Assembly.

For further information please contact:

Thierry Van Kerm
Icograda Director