Delegates to the General Assembly 22, La Habana, Cuba. Photo: Stuart Alden.

Defining the profession

Throughout the 2005-2007 term, the Icograda Executive Board and Secretariat undertook a major policy review of Icograda’s core documents. One of the most significant outcomes was an update to the definition of the profession. The new definition both broadens our understanding of the areas of practice and reflects the global shift from focussing on design as the production of an artifact to design as a strategic process that enables communication in a visual format.


Design is a constantly evolving and dynamic discipline. The professionally trained designer applies intent to create the visual, material, spatial and digital environment, cognizant of the experiential, employing interdisciplinary and hybrid approaches to the theory and practice of design. They understand the cultural, ethical, social, economic and ecological impact of their endeavors and their ultimate responsibility towards people and the planet across both commercial and non-commercial spheres. A designer respects the ethics of the
design profession.

- Ratified by the Icograda General Assembly 25, Montreal, Canada, 16 October 2013


Communication Design, Graphic Design, Graphic Designer, and Graphic Design Process are defined in different ways around the world. Icograda invites additional submissions of definitions from its Members and Friends.

Graphic Designer

One who has the artistic sensibility, skill and experience and/or training professionally to create designs or images for reproduction by any means of visual communication, and who may be concerned with illustration; typography; calligraphy; surface design for packaging; or the design of patterns, books, advertising and publicity material, or any form of visual communication.
- Articles of Association of the International Council of Graphic Design Associations, September 18, 1984

Graphic Design Process

The graphic design process is a problem solving process, one that requires substantial creativity, innovation and technical expertise. An understanding of a client's product or service and goals, their competitors and the target audience is translated into a visual solution created from the manipulation, combination and utilization of shape, color, imagery, typography and space.
- Australian Graphic Design Association (AGDA), Profile/Purpose

Graphic Design

Graphic Design is an interdisciplinary, problem-solving activity which combines visual sensitivity with skill and knowledge in areas of communications, technology and business. Graphic design practitioners specialize in the structuring and organizing of visual information to aid communication and orientation.
- The Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario