The intersection of design and culture is a place where both the local and the global have a voice. The Center for Cross-Cultural Design (XCD) was been established to foster greater communication between designers across cultures, as well as a better understanding of the interwoven experience of design and culture in our lives. Technology, mass media and a global economy have made the world smaller, and the scope of cross-cultural audiences bigger for the design profession. It is imperative for designers to think beyond their national and cultural borders in order to create visual communication that is responsive to the diversity of audiences today.

The Center for Cross-Cultural Design proposes greater participation and more active citizenship by US designers in the global design community. We urge US designers to seek out and better understand the role of cultural and international issues in their work; whether it is across national borders or here at home. We believe that being a responsible designer today requires professionals to investigate the cultural and ethnic influences that define audiences and users in addition to meeting the goals of the message. By learning and accepting the role of things like tradition, religion, history, politics, economy, education and viewpoint, we can begin to understand the subtle differences that make audiences unique in a world that attempts to treat them all the same.

The Center for Cross-Cultural Design seeks to address three main goals:

  1. To facilitate and encourage greater participation among US designers in the global design community.

  2. To serve as a point of contact for designers in other countries to begin a relationship with designers in the USA.

  3. To address the changing needs of the design profession as more clients and jobs require international business experience and exposure.

In our attempt to meet these goals, we will use the following points to help guide us in our mission:

  • Design is not defined by national borders or cultural differences.

  • All designers have a responsibility to investigate the unique characteristics of their audience including ones that reflect cultural differences.

  • Design operates on a global scale and in many cases will reach enormously diverse audiences (whether we intend it to or not).

  • Design must address the needs of both the local and the global. Although design can easily be experienced on a global scale through communication technology and travel, the designer must realize the impact local communities have on perception.

  • The design community is well positioned to help companies meet international marketing challenges. Unfortunately however, many businesses are not looking to the design profession for solutions to these problems. Designers must find a way to better communicate the value they bring to global business.

  • Learning about other cultures requires interaction with other cultures. Creating and connecting with venues at home and abroad can increase this interaction.

  • No one person can know all there is to know about any culture. Cross-cultural design is about building a network and learning from others.

  • Design education is key to producing a new generation of designers comfortable with and responsive to design on a global scale.

  • Seeking mutual understanding between peoples and cultures can only lead to greater peace in the world.