World Design Capital



The Design Policy Conference held in Torino (Italy)


Since its inception in 1957, Icsid has strived to increase the social significance of design in an attempt to influence global leaders to recognise the various merits of design. In support of this mandate, the initial concept for the World Design Capital initiative was first introduced to the Icsid Executive Board with the ambitious, yet imperative goal to impress upon cities, the importance and recognition of design as a leading development tool.

With the intent to identify and develop a project of international appeal that would leverage global collaboration and advocacy for design, Icsid worked towards the development of this initiative, in the hopes that it would facilitate interaction among the global design networks and would provide governments with a platform not only to raise the global awareness of design, but more importantly, to showcase the importance of design as an actor to enhance social, cultural, economic and environmental quality of life.

By exemplifying and honouring those cities that strive towards a common goal – to communicate the prolific and important role of design as a social and cultural stimulator, as well as depict how design has been used as a viable tool for economic growth – the WDC designation’s primary objective was established.

The evolution of the creative industries, their impact and contributions to the global economy, have helped Icsid to position the WDC project as an outlet for design to be recognised as a significant accelerator in city development. By mobilising an entire city to advocate on behalf of the creative industries, we can engage the world in a dialogue that truly helps us to accomplish our goal to recognise the impact of design on quality of life.