International Design Day 2024: Is It Kind?

Happening every April 27, discover what this special day is celebrating in 2024

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Helena Trampe

25/03/2024; 6 min read Loud!

International Design Day is an annual commemoration on April 27, that celebrates and challenges designers to engage in reflection, encouraging a holistic approach to design – one that prioritizes human welfare, sustainability, and inclusivity. 

This year the focus will be: ‘is it kind?’  

The History of the International Design Day

Since its inception in 1995, International Design Day has served as a tribute to the founding of the International Council of Graphic Design Associations on April 27th, 1963, now named the International Council of Design (ICoD).

Originally known as World Graphics Day until 2020, this annual commemoration has been a beacon for designers worldwide to unite and acknowledge the profound impact of design on daily lives. Recognizing its ability to infuse beauty and meaning into even the most mundane experiences. Celebrating the multifacetedness of design, and its ability to incorporate aesthetics, form, and function across various areas with a multitude of disciplines.

Design is far from an abstract concept; it holds the power to enact tangible change. Revolutionize our surroundings and enhance our quality of life. 

Every year since 1995, a new theme has been chosen. Giving designers a focus in their discussions and sharings on this one day. 

Egle Zvirblyte, the designer behind the IDD24 visuals is a multidisciplinary artist from Lithuania.

‘Is it Kind?’ in 2024

This year’s International Design Day theme, ‘is it kind?’ refers to prioritizing the outcome of the design being altruistic and kind, instead of being profitable. 

“What if designers first asked: is it kind? What if the measure of design was how well it cared for people and their relationships rather than how profitable it was? 

The theme for 2024, ‘is it kind?’ is about building kindness into design practices.” -International Council of Design

The theme ‘is it kind?’ proposes a new metric of design kindness: the kindness standard. And defines what kind design is. How do we as designers transform current systems, we must critically assess and reimagine them with kindness at their core. By fostering inclusivity, collaboration, and leading by example -to ensure a kinder future for all.

Defining ‘Kind Design’

How can we define kindness in design? How do we incorporate kindness into our design practices? According to ICoD, this is how:

Centering humanity. Focusing on the well-being -of the user, the immediate affected, and the society surrounding the design.

Building plurality. Kind design considers divergent knowledge and practices making a universe where many universes can fit. This includes not only differences in design practices – but an acceptance of collaborating across a plurality of fields and experts when aiming to solve a design problem.

“Being in good relation” is a concept introduced by Dakota scholar Kim Tallbear (2019) that involves understanding the interdependence of all living things. Designers can incorporate this ‘kind’ perspective by recognizing the intricate network of relationships and the effects of their work on humans and non-humans i.e. land, water, and animals. 

Getting inspired by the legal model of a duty of care. In legal terminology ‘a duty of care’ is a legal obligation requiring individuals to adhere to a standard of reasonable care to avoid careless acts that cause harm (whether visible now, in the present, or future, as a material inheritance). ‘Kind design’ entails assessing the potential outcomes of design decisions and ensuring that care guides every step of the process. 

Designing with kindness challenges the predominant focus on profit-driven design. By prioritizing values such as social equity, environmental sustainability, cultural diversity, and economic viability, designers can transform existing systems and foster new types of relationships. This shift establishes a new measure of design that safeguards a future characterized by a holistic well-being.

Design with kindness has — is it kind? — at its core.

International Design Day Themes…Through the Years…

2017 start young – Children should be taught design literacy

2018 kids can too! – Helping children trust their creative ability to solve problems

Design Matters on International Design Day 2024

Art visuals from the International Design Day 2017 and 2018

2019 Women in Design – Honoring the remarkable women of design through the ages

2020 Be professional! Professionals adhering to set principles that they are not willing to compromise.

2021 Design for each and all Noticing all the parts present, giving care and attention to a broad range of human variation, relations, and environments. 


Design Matters on International Design Day

Collage of artwork from the International Design Day 2019, 2020, and 2021

2022 Suspended in Transition  – Expressing the odd space between the old ways and the new, yet to be devised.


Design Matters on International Design Day

Artwork and questions from the International Design Day 2022

Quote by the International Council of Design from their Facebook page

2023 Peace, Love, Design  – Celebrating the 60th anniversary of ICoD and inspired by the activism in the sixties. 

Artwork and questions from the International Design Day 2023

Designers! See this annual celebration as an opportunity to embrace the power of design to transform lives, uplift communities, and shape a brighter future for all. Reevaluate your methods, rethink priorities, and recommit to creating meaningful change through your craft and make a positive impact. And ask yourself: is it kind?

Collage of IDD2024 artwork designed by illustrator Egle Zvirblyte and produced by Taktika Studio

For more information and inspiration on the International Council of Design and the International Design Day 2024, see their website and/or become a member of their Facebook Group

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