World Design Day 2017: Start Young
ico-D announces the theme for WDD2017 will be “Start Young” introducing design concepts to kids through educational workshops.
We believe that design is transformative and knowing that the kids of today will be the leaders of tomorrow, early awareness of design as a field of professional
practice and of elemental design methodology is key.


Kids are a blank slate. They are at an age when their view of the world and its possibilities are limitless. As the first generation of ‘pure’ digital natives, today’s kids already feel personally responsible for their own futures: they want to be able to choose and create work that makes a difference in the world. And they will do it in their own, unique way. 

But how do we prepare young kids to navigate this turbulent world, so they can become sensitive, intellectual, imaginative and practical leaders for tomorrow?

Having a designing mindset means being tuned into the invisible things that matter to people and their relationships to each other and the world. 


ico-D, the International Council of Design, sees the great potential for design to improve the world around us. We know that design changes—for the better—how we live and thrive in everyday environments like schools, parks, workplaces and hospitals. The profession of design and its ethics requires designers to consider context, culture, diversity and specificity before even starting to design, and this has become an essential way of thinking and being in the complex world we live in today.


What if design was taught to children the same way math is: everyday, and on equal footing with science, history and languages? 


Nearly everywhere in the world, math is considered one of the essential subjects necessary for developing a well-rounded, young mind. The logic is, though many of us won’t become mathematicians, we inherently know math is useful, as it shapes and enlarges our brains in a particular, irrefutable way. In some countries, design is already considered to be an essential subject in elementary school curriculum. The same logic stands: by teaching design to children, they may not become designers, but they will know how to think and be like them. It’s about cultivating and nurturing a designing-mindset. And it’s best to start young.



Every year leading up to World Design Day, we ask ourselves: How can we best impact how people think about design.


This year, we came up with the answer: Kids! …And starting their design awareness and education young!



Design is transformative and knowing that the kids of today will be the leaders of tomorrow, early awareness of design as a field of professional practice and of elemental design methodology, is key. 


Whether they choose to become designers, or to apply design methodology in their approach to everyday problems, the designing mindset will be an invaluable asset for whatever future they choose. 


We thus excited to announce this year’s World Design day theme: Start Young, a project to introduce design concepts to kids through educational workshops.. 


WDD2017: Start Young

This year, ico-D has partnered with Montreal-based design studio We are Rap to develop a workshop to introduce design to a whole new generation. The half-day activity is a primer on design with some hand-on exercises to initiate the participants into a basic form of design methodology. 


The hands-on workshops will push the children participating to explore their creative potential freely and trust their capacity to solve problems and test their solutions. They will be asked to:


Observe > Analyze > Solve > Model > Test 


The desired outcome is to inspire and empower children to adopt innovative ways of thinking and to enhance their creative confidence. 


How to participate?

Its a small world. On 27 April 2017 we invite you to celebrate World Design Day by hosting your own design workshop with children in your country.  Download the Toolkit here


Contact the Secretariat at