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which focuses on the theme: ‘BRAND’. The recently concluded US presidential election race attracted great interest from around the world not only for its political importance but also because of the innovative and eloquently executed branding campaign devised by the Obama camp. Almost overnight, Barack Obama became one of the most recognised brands in the world and his team managed to etch slogans such as “Yes we can”, “Change can happen”, “The change we need” and “Change we can believe in” into the minds of millions. These are powerful messages because they speak the language of our time. The Obama messages merged the concepts of ‘change’, ‘active engagement’ and a ‘team of rivals’ working collaboratively to achieve common goals. Against the backdrop of a seriously tainted image of the US, internationally, and a global economic crisis, these messages have become the mantras of aspiration for billions of citizens around the planet because they spark a new wave of optimism in a gloomy world. This new wave of optimism also relates to the design professions and even though it is not as a direct result of the US elections, we have seen many developments implying positive change in 2008. On the global front, the International Federation of Interior Architects (IFI) officially joined the International Design Alliance (IDA) and recently moved their secretariat to Montreal to be in close proximity to its peers, the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda) and the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid). This move implies more cohesive collaboration among the international bodies, to ensure that the voices of designers are united, to empower the growth and strengthen the position of the design professions.

Locally, some of the most prominent stakeholder organisations collaborated for the first time to map the local landscape in a pilot research project resulting in the publication of the IDA World Design Survey – South African findings. The collaboration was timely, as the stakeholders have traditionally operated in silos and the final report would, hopefully, serve as a foundation to map an integrated national strategic plan for the development of the South African design economy. This project is further augmented by the collaboration between the South African Communication Council (think) and Sappi in another research study, the Sappi State of Design report, which measured the opinions of 400 communication and marketing managers regarding their perceptions of the industry. The results provide ample food for thought regarding the industry’s strengths and weaknesses and provide valuable indicators for future development. Closer to home, this first digital edition of DESIGN> magazine is another example of radical and positive change. Even though it is in its infancy, this first digital edition offers a metadisciplinary communication platform that serves most design disciplines and peripheral services and stakeholders. The publishing team has gathered editorial contributions from more than 25 writers from five continents. It is a good start but watch this space, as the team has many more ambitious plans for the future. <

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DESIGN> magazine (edition 11, 2008/9)  
DESIGN> magazine (edition 11, 2008/9)  

Welcome to DESIGN>, a free subscription information platform where creativity, innovation, knowledge, technology and business converge.