Generally known by its acronym, this internationally oriented professional organization acts in the collective interests of national societies and organizations representing the graphic design and visual communications profession on a worldwide basis. The idea of ICOGRADA was first broached in London during 1962 and came into being in April 1963 following a meeting with delegates from 28 of the world's leading graphic design associations with Willy De Majo as its inaugural president. ICOGRADA was the first body to represent their collective interests internationally and was born at a time when designers were still seeking recognition for their profession on a par with that accorded accountants, lawyers, and others. The founder member associations were concerned with the ways that their discipline intersected with all levels of education, commerce, industry, culture, and the environment on the wider, international front. As F. H. K. Henrion, president from 1968 to 1970, commented in a brochure in 1971: ‘It does not matter anymore whether you are working in the east, the west, the south or the north, problems become increasingly the same. Not only the problems of method and design theory but particularly problems of education. More than ever it is necessary to have a forum where all designers' problems can be freely discussed and all information freely exchanged. ICOGRADA is just that.’ Early ICOGRADA congresses were held in Zurich (1964), Bled (1966), Eindhoven and Brussels (1968), Vienna (1970 and 1971), London (1972), Krefield and Düsseldorf (1974), Edmonton, Canada (1975), Lausanne and Zurich (1977), a cycle that continued productively through to the 21st century with a conference in Nagoya, Japan, in 2003. ICOGRADA furthered its aims through the organization of conferences, congresses, exhibitions, and publications. Throughout its existence ICOGRADA always placed great importance on education with many large student conferences. In 2002 the ICOGRADA Education Network (IEN) was inaugurated in Brno in the Czech Republic and its website launched in 2003. The aim of the IEN was to bring together institutions offering graphic and communication design programmes on an international front and in its first year brought together institutes from almost twenty countries in Australia, Europe, the Middle East, South America, India, South East Asia, and South Africa. By the early 21st century ICOGRADA represented over 70 design associations in more than 50 countries worldwide, holding regular international conferences and exhibitions, establishing working parties to report on specific professional concerns, and promoting graphic design education. Its archives are located at the University of Brighton, England.
Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.