Osaka 2008

Another Name for Design:
Words for creation

The 6th International Conference of Design History and Design Studies, ICDHS 2008 OSAKA. is the first Asian conference of the ICDHS started in Barcelona in 1999, which was the year of new starts in international design history studies, because it was also in 1999 when the first International Design History Forum was held in Osaka. Though the study of design history has a fairly long history in Japan, a few related academic societies being established during the 1950s, it was the late 1990s and early 2000s when new movements towards the internationalization of design history studies occurred one after another in this country. Therefore, the ICDHS 2008 OSAKA is an important occasion when two similar movements with international minds in the East and the West come together.

Today, the English word "design" is used almost all over the world, its basic meaning being "arrangement, drawing, plan, model, pattern, or intention." Nowadays, the word covers not only "design" in its traditional meaning but the whole Iife cycie of products and human beings as well as societies, from planning, development, and manufacturing to logistics, marketing and purchasing or consuming. However, while "design" has become international and very wide in its meaning, the nuances that once existed within each culture's equivalent of "design" are disappearing, as the indigenous terms are improperly reinterpreted as translations of "design."

It is perhaps appropriate to think about basic meanings of "design" again at this conference first held in Asia where different ideas of art and design from those of Europe existed and some of them still exist. It is related not only toTheme 1"Etymology and Terminology of Design," but to all the other themes, from Theme 2 "Design Museum and Museum Design" to Theme 7 "Communication Design." Every culture has its own way of making, showing, seeing, touching, using, and understanding things and affairs.

To raise this kind of basic question is not to deny "design" or universality of the world, but to share the diversity and significance of design. Every culture has its own history and ideas of design. People have always thought about the meaning of making and creating. We hope that this conference will prompt a renewed and further growing interest in the idea of design and its related activities across time and space.