Europe 2019

  • We are pleased to announce that the ico-D Regional Meeting Europe will take place on 20-21 June 2019 in Matosinhos (Porto), Portugal. The Regional Meeting will be hosted by the Porto Design Biennale organisation.

    Regional Meeting Europe 2019
    ico-D Regional Meetings (RMs) are a key part of the Council’s international programming. RMs provide an opportunity for ico-D Members to engage with the design community at the regional level on common topics and challenges – in an international context. Europe has long enjoyed the status of leader in the design industry. With many of the world’s oldest national professional designer organisations, many well-known design schools and the head offices of many international design companies, the rest of the world has often looked to Europe for setting standards, new technologies and for a large part of the recorded history of design. But the world is changing.

    Production has moved largely East and South, but not only production. The market for design consumption is becoming worldwide with increasing demand in South-East Asia, China, the Middle East and China. This market will grow explosively in the coming decades, directly impacting designers everywhere.

    Work itself has changed for designers. Practice is now increasingly global. With global sourcing, the capacity to co-create across time zones, and the mobility of the workforce and the consumer, the industry is evolving at a dizzying pace.

    Regional Meeting Topics
    With regional and global considerations in mind, ico-D will cover five topics specific to the European context. We hope these topics will broaden where you sit now on things, to inspire thought, reflection, and action for future:

    01 Public Design Policy: Regional, National and Local Considerations
    02 Metrics + Data: Conveying the Value of Design by Measuring It
    03 Globalisation: Positioning Design to Face the Changing Global Economy
    04 the Design Agenda: Redefining Design and our Role in the Power Structure
    05 Cooperation: Pooling Resources to Address Common Challenges

    Design organisations of a specific region know best how the nuances and challenges faced in an area interact. By sharing knowledge, tools and insight, regional Members meet and open new and surprising dialogues with local professional, educational and promotional design bodies, adding to the wider regional conversation to find solutions to pressing issues both locally and globally.

    The ico-D Regional Meetings are an important opportunity to engage with design community at the regional level. The objective of this meeting is to bring together design entities from Europe together to discuss a variety of common topics and challenges.

    This event page will be updated regularly with more details such as the opening of the registrations, the venue, the programming and more! 

    We look forward to welcoming you to Matosinhos!


    about ico-D regional meetings
    ico-D Regional Meetings are organized for current ico-D Members located in the same region as the Meeting is held.

    Entities that are not yet ico-D Members interested in attending as Observers may submit requests. A limited number of Observers will be allowed. 

    For more information on the Regional Meetings, visit:
    Please send any ico-D Event related inquiries to: 


    This Event page will be updated regularly.

  • The ico-D Regional Meeting Europe will cover 6 topics:

    01 Public Design Policy: regional, national and local considerations

    02 Metrics + Data: conveying the value of design by measuring it

    03 Globalisation: positioning design to face the changing global economy

    04 the Design Agenda: redefining Design and our Role in the Power Structure

    05 Collaboration: pooling resources to address common challenges

    Full programme:


    Topic 1: public design policy

    As a European Member of ico-D, this is the first of a series of mailings you will receive including thoughts, questions and reading material expanding on the topics for the ico-D Regional Meeting Europe, which will take place on 20-21 June 2019.

    These are some of the issues we would like to explore in Topic 01: Public Design Policy:

    — successful policy initiatives: what they are and how they work
    — educating the consumer: how CEOs and citizens consume design
    — designing public services: how design methodology can be used by government
    — building the national design brand by training better designers
    — foreign trade: soft power industries like design need different selling tactics

    While the European Union is currently the second largest economy in the world in nominal terms (after the United States) and according to purchasing power parity (after China), we all feel the ground starting to shift under us. The pace of Globalisation and its adherent technologies is not slowing down. People are moving and connecting in larger numbers and faster. Our competitors are no longer our neighbours. We now compete with, and outsource beyond, our own geographical location for high quality design services from places like Buenos Aires, Chengdu and Bali. With this increased competition so comes opportunity, because nothing is stopping clients abroad — China is now the world’s biggest consumer — from buying the established design brands of France, Sweden or Italy.

    Smart governments at all levels — national, regional and municipal — are building policies to support everything from design education, to business aid for design SMEs, to reinforcing local design industry through procurement initiatives and putting in place tax cuts to bolster local design-based manufacturing industries. These measures give designers a leg-up on competition, giving value in ways that are both local and far-reaching. Public design policies sharpen local competencies, give opportunities to grow (effectively incubating businesses) and contribute to educating society at large to be better, more responsible consumers.





    This Meeting is a unique opportunity to discuss issues that are important to design organisations with your peers who may have expereince in areas that you do not. Here are some questions we would like to see addressed.

    — is there a National Design Policy template? what would that look like?

    — how to convince your regional or national government that it is worthwhile to put policy in place supporting the design industry?

    —what policy initiatives work best in which circumstances?

    — how to create champions within the bureaucratic cadre?

    — design public services: who knows how to do it? Have there been proven models?


    Do you have answers to any of these questions? Would you like to present a topic to your peers? Contact Events Manager Elizabeth Carbonell with your ideas at

    Topic 2: metrics + data

    These are some of the issues we would like to explore in Topic 02: Metrics + Data:

    — what are we measuring and to what end?
    — assessing existing data on design (models)
    — exploring ways of measuring: from conventional statistics to data-mapping
    — measuring the intangible: determining criteria
    — KPIs and ROIs: speaking the language of government and business

    The nuts and bolts of gathering complex information and knowledge (data) and devising systems to measure it (metrics) is a resource-consuming exercise. Currently, most national-level census data on design industries and professions is incomplete. And without metrics, only a very partial picture of the design ecosystem is revealed. If governments had straightforward data on design it could empower them to put design policy in place and help them govern in ways that better capitalise on what the design industry has to offer. In this way, this topic is correlated to last week’s topic “Public Design Policy”.

    Having clear data to describe and position the design workforce — the numbers of working designers and their contributions to the economy— is key for design organisations requesting government funds to develop resources for this sector, but also for these organisations to better understand their roles vis a vis the designers they serve.

    After a decade or so of the corporate world co-opting terms like “design-thinking” and “innovation” to capitalise on the “power” of design for business, business — in the form of the big management consulting companies — is starting to understand that actual design, performed by professional designers, has an important role to play in business development. Deloitte now has its own “Design & Innovation” consultancy (Fjord). McKinsey is producing industry reports on both design and fashion, and the Boston Consulting Group has acquired a digital design and innovation lab to focus on the intersection of “human experience and technology”. Designers do not need big management consulting companies to understand their potential (or maybe they do?) but these case studies are a strong business argument for designers throughout Europe to better package and explain their value.


    This Meeting is a unique opportunity to discuss issues that are important to design organisations with your peers who may have experience in areas that you do not. Here are some questions we would like to see addressed.

    — Who are we trying to convince? And of what?
    — From the perspective of business, some management accounting firms (like McKinsey) have started to create reports demonstrating the business-case for design and integrating design into the way they help their clients. How can this be leveraged by design organisations?
    — Counting designers and their impact on national/ regional economies is a way to have some political impact. Can we do this regionally/ internationally?
    — Can we pool resources to create a shared framework?


    Do you have answers to any of these questions? Would you like to present a topic to your peers? Contact Events Manager Elizabeth Carbonell with your ideas at


    Topic 3: globalisation


    Some things to reflect on leading up to Topic 03: Globalisation:

    — how globalisaton is changing the playing field
    — the reality of economic, political and social disruption
    — China: an undeniable force
    — educating designers: how designers define the design profession
    — new challenges, new opportunities

    Globalisation is causing enormous economic, political and social disruption. The promises of faster and easier travel, better telecommunications and technologies that translate, connect, share and bring each of us closer — at least digitally— are moving entire industries across borders, opening up new markets, boosting certain sectors and opening an even wider divide between the haves and have nots. Whether consciously or not, designers play a primary role in this change and are also greatly affected by it as a profession. The attributes of tomorrow's markets, products and services are being determined today by social developments in distant lands and it is incumbent on designers, and particularly design organisations and entities, to better understand the implications of this. 

    Countries like China and India are becoming not only sophisticated manufacturers but important world markets for goods. Where once it might have been enough to develop relations with key factories or develop partnerships to set up manufacturing plants to sell competitively to the rest of the planet, today any brand not selling to these markets is missing out on key growth sectors. But if we meet this growing market demand and produce as much for China and India as we do for North America and Europe, aren't we are going to be drowning in 'stuff'? Designers play a pivotal role in this evolution, mainly to assert their position as defenders of the interests of the end-user and to divert a situation which will have disastrous impacts on the planet. This includes making actual sustainable decisions — including making less— and finding solutions that take into consideration issues like accessibility, equality and improvement of quality of life. Are we equipping designers with the tools to cope with the full implications of globalisation?




    This Meeting is a unique opportunity to discuss issues that are important to design organisations with your peers who may have experience in areas that you do not. Here are some questions we would like to see addressed.


    — How has globalisation impacted designers in your region?
    — "Wicked problems" like sustainability, urban expansion, and ageing populations: how is design positioned to find solutions? Should these solutions be shared with those less financially able to develop them?
    — Can we face this alone and still do what we need to do? If designers need to take back some of the power from producers and marketers, can they do while still banding together more intelligently?
    — Are there opportunities resulting from the disruption? How do we capitalise on them?


    Do you have answers to any of these questions? Would you like to present a topic to your peers? Contact Events Manager Elizabeth Carbonell with your ideas at


    Topic 4: Design Agenda

    Some things to reflect on leading up to Topic 04: the Design Agenda:

    — re-thinking the role of designers in the global power structure
    — who do we serve? (and who should we serve)?
    — a 'Code of Professional Conduct' for designers
    — how designers (unwittingly) undermine themselves
    — a 'New Deal' for Design

    Mohandas Gandhi published, in 1913, a book about snakebites that included the now well-known aphorism "If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him." Though it is clear we have much work to do in convincing external stakeholders to take design seriously, a key element of this will be to convince designers themselves to challenge the way they see their role. Designers can either see themselves as helpless in front of the demands of their clients, in front of legislation in their countries, in front of knowledge and resource challenges or they can choose to re-evaluate their role and see themselves as advocates for the end-users of their products, as ambassadors of their environment and as potent actors changing an outdated working model that is not benefiting society. 

    Revolutionary? Maybe. But designers fundamentally want to make the world better. And they have the tools to make a difference. So maybe it is our role — as the institutions and organisations that represent them — to advocate for their empowerment. Let's re-write the Design Agenda together.



    This Meeting is a unique opportunity to discuss issues that are important to design organisations with your peers who may have experience in areas that you do not. Here are some questions we would like to see addressed.

    — Does your organisation have or prescribe to a professional code of conduct?


    — Does legislation in your region support designers in an ethical, environmentally sustainable practice? Are other forms of support available?


    — Do educational institutions teach the basics of professional ethics? with regard to IP? with regard to free pitching? with regard to the environment? with regard to social responsibility?


    — How can designers acquire power? Is it a matter of better organisation? Mobilisation?


    Do you have answers to any of these questions? Would you like to present a topic to your peers? Contact Events Manager Elizabeth Carbonell with your ideas at 



    Topic 5: Collaboration


    Some things to reflect on leading up to Topic 05: Collaboration:

    — mapping the international design organisation eco-system
    — unite and conquer: working together
    — overlaps and redundancies: doing more with less
    — cooperation, collaboration and coordination

    The International Council of Design is a fairly small organisation. So are each of our 120 Member organisations. Some are larger than others, some are better funded than others, some have many more years of history than others,  or many more members but if we are really honest with ourselves, none of us — alone —have the influence to impact the types of changes we want to make. But what if each of us held the key to a part of the solution?

    As design professionals, we know that a very important first step in the design process is an assessment of both the problem and the resources available. Not the problem as it is described by the client, necessarily. And not always the most obvious available resources. Good designers will dig deeper at this stage in the design process to ask more probing questions: is that the real problem or a symptom of a greater issue? (Do you really need a disposable plate or can the problem actually be better solved by designing a better system to clean re-usable plates)? Do we only have the quoted budget to work with or are there additional resources available (expertise, existing infrastructure, budgets from other departments that will profit from our solution)?

    We are proposing that the consolidation of the design industry should be approached in a similar fashion. Why should we compete to offer the same services or develop the same tools, when we could all be working on complimentary projects and pooling them amongst ourselves?


    This Meeting is a unique opportunity to discuss issues that are important to design organisations with your peers who may have experience in areas that you do not. Here are some questions we would like to see addressed.

    — Is your organisation struggling to get funding for projects that could be developed regionally or internationally? Are you missing expertise that exists in other organisations?


    — What experience do you have pooling resources to achieve "big hairy goals"? What are the benefits and pitfalls of doing so?


    — what are the common values and goals that we can all stand behind? How well do our visions align?


    — How can the design industry acquire power? Can it be a matter of better organisation? More thoughtful coordination?


    Do you have answers to any of these questions? We look forward to having these conversations with you in Porto!











  • Registration

    Registration for the ico-D Regional Meeting Europe will close on 07 June 2019. All ico-D Members in Europe should have received an invitation with a link to the online registration site. If you are an ico-D Member and you would like to participate in this meeting but have not received a link to the registration site, please contact Events Manager Elizabeth Carbonell .

    The ico-D Regional Meetings are organised for current ico-D Members located in the same region as the Meeting is held and for a limited number of Observers invited by the ico-D President.

    Entities that are not yet ico-D Members of ico-D interested in attending as Observers may submit a request an invitation from the ico-D President. To request an invitation, contact Events Manager Elizabeth Carbonell . Please include your organisation, the location of your organisation, your name and reason for wanting to attend.  Space permitting, a confirmation email will be sent to you when your request has been received.



    Limited-time special offers for participant accommodation have been secured at the Hotel Sea Porto. This hotel is the recommended choice after carefully considering several factors, in order to offer: security, moderate price, proximity to venue, convenient location, etc. 


    We encourage all attendees to book as soon as possible as reservations are made on a first-come first-served basis.



    Hotel Sea Porto
    Address: Av. D. Afonso Henriques, 354 / 4450-009 Matosinhos – Porto / Portugal

    Rate per night: € 99,00 (individual) or €108.00 (double), breakfast included in the rates.

    Booking procedures
    To reserve this hotel at these rates, follow the instructions below:

    Contact Diana Meireles  and mention the code Porto Design Biennale 2019

    Please ensure to include the code when you contact the hotel to make your reservation as we cannot guarantee adjustments can be made. Reservations are made on a first-come first-served basis. 


    Please note: deadline for special rate at recommended hotel is 07 June 2019


  • The Regional Meeting be held in the Espaço Tanoaria room in the Real Vinicola / Casa da Arquitectura which is located in the city center of Matosinhos. 

    Casa da Arquitectura (CA) is a structure that combines the excellence of its facilities with a prestigious cultural and urban presence. 

    Espaço Tanoaria
    Real Vinicola / Casa da Arquitectura
    Av. Menéres 456
    4450-165 Matosinhos, Portugal

    Learn more about the Venue here: 

  • We encourage all those who will be applying for a Visa to do so as soon as possible, to avoid delays or complications.

    An official invitation letter to attend the ico-D Regional Meeting Europe may be requested via the online Registration form (opening soon) with information for each of your delegates or accompanying persons.

    Note that each person attending the ico-D Regional Meeting Europe is personally responsible for obtaining a visa.