VI: Social Design Network

Over the past five editions, nearly 5000 young designers representing 5 continents have participated to DESIGN 21 competitions and 159 of them have already been awarded prizes and exhibited around the world. Aiming at encouraging a spirit of understanding and sharing of ideas and values among young creators from different cultures, the competition has grown steadily to include all designs in all aspects of people’s lives in line with the international community’s growing awareness for global issues.

Thus for the 6th edition, UNESCO and Felissimo have decided to set-up the DESIGN 21: Social Design Network, an online community dedicated to design for the greater good. Members of the design community and non-profit organizations, as well as businesses, local governments and socially conscious individuals can connect, share concerns and resources, inspire each other and solve problems through design. Through its online competition series, DESIGN 21 challenges designers of various disciplines to address contemporary social, cultural, environmental and humanitarian concerns. The themes chosen for the competitions are in line with UNESCO's priorities on the importance of education, science, culture and communication which allow to disseminate knowledge and information, to stimulate awareness and to favourish dialogue amongst people.

Series of contests are held through the network. Using a variety of media and scales, designers are asked to reflect on global issues and provide solutions to improve the quality of life of people around the world. Several competitions already took place: Heated Issues, Child’s Play and Shelter Me – rewarded 20 projects (July 2007) - "Stories from the Field" where candidates were invited to design the official logo for "Stories from the Field: the United Nations Documentary Film Festival" (December 2007) - "Power to the pedal", bicycling as an everyday lifestyle (May 2008), "Promotion of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals" (July 2008) – "Wood, Paper, Checkmark" (results announced in February 2009) and Going with the grain (deadline 2 June 2009), a sustainable wood competition and challenge.

Selection is made on-line and processed by an international selection committee composed of influential figures who have made significant contributions to global causes, and opinion leaders in the fields of design, education, business, media and public affairs.

In November 2008, UNESCO and its partner Felissimo Group, launched the "Languages Matter!" competition for the creation of the 2009 UNESCO official poster of International Mother Language Day (21 February) . The candidates were judged on their ability to graphically and visually reflect the interdisciplinary vision of the importance of languages in a convincing and easy to understand way. The poster created by Ms Anna Notara Koutroumpaki (Greece) has been designated for the 2009 celebration. All the results can be viewed on the SDN website.

Further details regarding membership, on-going competitions, competition rules and descriptions of contests are available on the Social Design Network website.

Start Date: 01-01-2007   End Date: 31-12-2009
Lead Organization / Sector / Office: UNESCO Division of Cultural Expressions and Creative Industries
Contact: Ms Denise Bax / design21sdn(at)

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