»The quality of drafts is the quality of the world.« – Otl Aicher

The world as we know it today is the result of manifold design processes. How we live, sleep, work, travel, communicate with each other – and thus ultimately the way we live – is decisively determined by design. Design not only engineers and alters our material reality, it also fulfils a role that is both communicative and identity-forming. It shapes our everyday culture as well as all aspects of our social practice. Not least, design decisions essentially determine the impacts of products and processes on our environment.

Design should meet »the real needs of people«, says designer and design critic Victor Papanek. Paramount thereby is not »the attractive form« but the social and environmental impacts. Papanek, who is considered a pioneer in sustainable design, noted the negative consequences of uncritical production as far back as the early 1970s. Amidst the enthusiasm for new materials and production possibilities, he called on designers to »abstain from disfiguring our planet with poorly designed objects and buildings.«

Sustainable design aims to incorporate environmental and social principles – from conception and production, all the way to recycling. Accomplished design as described by Papanek is characterised by empathy. It places an emphasis on cultural and social expertise, as well as knowledge of ecological and economic contexts. Accordingly, sustainability should not be understood as a specific direction or area within the overall field of design, but as a prerequisite of all design, which strives to contribute to positive change.

Selected Projects:

Ecodesign for SME


EcoDesign Circle

Capacity Building

Design Discourse

Panel Talks

German Federal Ecodesign Award

Become a member

Network for Design Knowledge & Expertise

About IDZ

Design is a people-centered approach to create positive change.

IDZ members

introduce themselves

Anfang 2020 haben wir begonnen, in unserem monatlichen Newsletter ein IDZ-Mitglied des Monats vorzustellen.

Wir haben inzwischen vier dieser Beiträge auf der Website gesammelt, und hoffen, mit der Zeit einen interessanten Einblick in unsere Mitgliederstruktur zu geben.

50 Years IDZ

Design in Focus

As part of the IDZ's 50th anniversary, students of the Industrial Design and Communication Design courses at the HTW Berlin interviewed designers, scientists and entrepreneurs on the current role of design and their vision for its future.