16 March 2002
On 13 and 14 March, 35 delegates from Canada and the US met in Vancouver, Canada to participate in a regional meeting organised by Icograda.
Vancouver (Canada) - On 13 and 14 March, 35 delegates from Canada and the US met in Vancouver, Canada to participate in a regional meeting organised 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 North America. On 15 and 16 March, 200 Canadian, American and foreign participants took part in the international Icograda Design Perspectives symposium entitled 'Environs'002: Design Without Borders'  in the auditorium of Emily Carr College of Art and Design.
The Icograda Regional Meeting was held in the Grandville Island Hotel at the invitation of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC), a member association of Icograda, and the events' local hosts. North American designers' representatives and association executives from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, and Texas participated in the meeting. Additional representatives from China, Belgium, Israel, the United Kingdom, Japan, Denmark, Malaysia and South Africa contributed to a vibrant and constructive international dialogue.
Topics of discussion included: the benefits of internationalism, cooperation and exchange; the support of professionals and intellectual rights; the development of awareness of the value of design; the role of design for good causes; and design education and accreditation. Designers in North America face similar challenges to their colleagues elsewhere, such as a lack of recognition for the value of graphic design, low recognition of the rights of graphic designers and a general sense of isolation from peers. Icograda board members offered useful advice and answered many questions.
An issue arising from the meetings is how the US could more effectively be part of the international scene, participate in the global design community. and join Icograda. All attending the meetings agreed that raising the awareness of the importance of internationalism for North American designers is a key by which to bring about change, and by which to find solutions to common challenges faced by designers in North America. Icograda President Robert L. Peters chaired the meeting, and stated: "Icograda represents the worldwide family of graphic designers and visual communication designers. It is unnatural for the US not to be a part of this family. There are too many gaps in the world today. I sincerely hope that the face-to-face connections made here in Vancouver can help lead to closer ties between the design community in the US and our designer sisters and brothers elsewhere."
Actions resulting from this historic meeting include: internationalisation of the 'Design Cares' program developed by GDC/Vancouver Island; the development of Forum discussions among the participants of the Icograda Regional Meeting; invitations for active participation by North American designers in international networks and events; and a resolve to develop cases studies highlighting the value of design, sustainability and cross-border collaboration between designers.
North American countries appear to not fully sense the effects that globalisation is having on the world. Christopher Liechty, President of AIGA Salt Lake City Chapter stated: "We need to explain to American designers how South African design offices are now getting the jobs that were previously run by American studios. The market is developing outside of the US and American designers are not aware of this fact. America needs to look outwards. We also need to have open dialogue outside of designers' audiences, talking to business schools, large companies, etc. and explaining the value of design and the importance of intellectual rights."

For more information, contact:

Thierry Van Kerm, Director
Icograda Secretariat
PO Box 5, Forest 2
B-1190 Brussels, Belgium
T: + 32 2 344 58 43
F: + 32 2 344 71 38