Sweden Industrial Designers, SID


On a cold Friday evening of March 1, 1957, a select group of men met at a Stockholm Old Town restaurant, Den Gyldene Freden — The Golden Peace. The group consisted of the leading representatives of a new profession: industrial design. The choice of the meeting place was probably not a random selection. By tradition, members of the Royal Swedish Academy meet to dine every Thursday evening in the Bellman dining room on the second floor.  It is not known if the designers group selected the Gyldene Freden, established in 1722, and its historic meeting place of the Swedish Academy, as most suitable for the creation of a professional asociation of Swedish industrial designers. One can only guess. But everything was prepared for the creation of  the Association of  Swedish Industrial  Designers, SID,  by the eight designers:  Rune Monö, Hugo Lindström, Per Heribertson, Folke Arström, Sixten Sason, Rune Zernell, Sigvard Bernadotte and Ulf Hård af Segerstad.


All were well-known and respected in a small but growing specialty. All were professional designers, except Ulf Hård af Segerstad. They had varied educational  and professional backgrounds: artists, silversmith,  engineers, designers and an artistic Prince. Ulf Hård af Segerstad joined the group as a “theorist,” with a wide knowledge of design, architecture and city planning, plus his large network of influential men and women and his position as editor of the influential design magazine “Form” (1957-1960). From the very start of the association, he played an important role in creating the concept of the new profession and promoting the image of the world of design. Ulf Hård af Segerstad continued to promote these concepts for decades to come, as an influential writer and staff member of Svenska Dagbladet, a leading Swedish  daily newspaper.

At the end of the 1940s, knowledge of industrial designing and industrial designers were all but unknown, both in business and industry, as well as the general public. Rune Monö, who was elected as SID’s first chairman, recalled that in the 1950s there were  few contacts among industrial designers. He said: “For example, for my part, I knew Sixten Sason, and I had heard about Folke Arström, and a few times I did meet Hugo Lindström at Industriell Formgivning [a design magazine]. But there were no regular get-togethers.”


But things began to happen in 1956 after Rune Monö was contacted by Hugo Lindström, who was then a designer at Boliden Fabriker in Kallhäll, outside Stockholm.  Hugo LIndström, together with lighting specialist Per Heribertson, took the first steps toward creating an association that would promote and strengthen the quality of Industrial design.  (Hugo Lindström later became the legendary chief of the Electrolux Group’s design department, from 1963-1985.) The group brought in additional designers, an attorney put together the legal formalities, and when all was ready to launch, Sigvard Bernadette, famous as “the Designer Prince,” joined, and the Association of Swedish Industrial  Designers, SID, was created. Bernadotte was widely-known outside of the circle of industrial designers. His brand, familiar to the general public, included popular every-day kitchen and table products — from TV-trays to pots and pans and cutlery, under the name of his firm, Bernadotte Design.


Rune Monö did not want to risk the association’s drifting into stagnation, so he amended the by-laws to limit the chairmanship to two years, with the possibility of one re-election. Thus, he was suceeded by architect Carl-Axel Acking, who, in turn, was succeeded by Sigvard Bernadotte.


From its very beginning, SID was an association of the elite in Swedish design. Its by-laws stipulated that “membership may be recruited from active Swedish industrial designers who have demonstrated their qualifications.” Those who qualified to use the SID designation with their names in their professional activities was determined by the association’s members. Two years after SID’s founding, there were 24 members, three times the number who created the association.


1959 became a historic year for the association. SID organized the first Swedish industrial design exhibition, held in the city of Karlstad. And working quickly, SID was able to host the first international world congress of design, ICSID, in Stockholm.

A cultural barrier was broken in the summer of 1959 when Värmland Museum in Karlstad opened a design exhibition. It consisted of a large number of well-designed products from Swedish industry.  Among these were typewriters from Facit, by Sigvard Bernadotte;  streamlined street lamps from Elektro-Skandia, designed by Per Heribertson; aircraft passenger seats by Rune Monö;  Perstorp plastic kitchen products by Hugo Lindström; Atlas Copco dentists’ chairs by Rune Zernell; a “dream moped” made by Nyman Company and designed by Björn Karlström; and what was to be a classic Swedish passenger car, the Saab 95  station wagon, designed by Sixten Sason. However, the meeting between the old, established museum culture and  modern design was not without  problems. A sharp rift between the County Antiquities Director and designer Carl-Göran Crafoord erupted when 1.5 tons of electric motors from ASEA were lifted into the exhibit hall. Despite the museum’s protests, the motors were exhibited.


SID, as the co-sponsor, got the opportunity to introduce the organization and its members. The media ran stories about the esthetic values of everyday objects. Not surprising, SID member Ulf Hård af Segerstad wrote a very positive review of the exhibition in Svenska Dagbladet. He noted: “Technical everyday objects — our own epoch’s most characteristic objects — should not only be functional but they should also look functional, their inner quality will be equivalent of their exterior form.”


A young Pontus Hultén, who later founded Moderna Museet,  Stockholm Museum of Contemporary Art, was not as enthusiastic in his review, published the in construction trade magazine, Byggmästaren: “Those craftsmen who would like to be artists have recently  joined in a new brothership: the industrial designers. With the help of publicity, they have surrounded themselves in a cloud of vagueness and mystery like the old time tooth and hair artists.” And he continued: “The words art, artistry, and artist have great advertising value. If one can connect them to ordinary hardware store goods they can get a lot of sales.”


The exhibit was a successs for SID. But it was also a rehearsal for an exebition in September 1959 at the Technical Museum in Stockholm, as part of the First International ICISD Congress, hosted by SID. ICSID, the International Council of Societies of Industrial Designers, was founded in June 1957 in London, only a half-year after SID was created.  Sigvard Bernadotte, as representative of Sweden, attended at the founding of this world-wide organization of international designers. He carried home the question of whether Sweden could be the host of the first world congress.  SID chairman Rune Monö accepted the request with a mixture of pride and worry. “But we hid our concerns about such a task and replied cheerfully, ‘Of course, they will be welcome to Stockholm’ .”


SID got busy and mobilized support. Among these were the Swedish Association of Employers; the Gense company (where Folke Arström was employed); Perstorp (where Hugo Lindström was chief designer); and NK, the largest and most prestigious Stockholm department store. At NK’s large fourth floor exhibit hall, 22 SID members held lectures and discussions about their work.  NK also promoted Swedish design throughout the store’s five sales floors, under the slogan, “Excellent Swedish Design” and ran large advertisements in Dagens Nyheter, the country’s largest morning daily. An important role in NK’s design promotion was played by Astrid Sampe, who was the founder of the Textilkammaren (The Textile Chamber), founded in 1936 to strengthen appreciation of design and art in textile tailoring. If Sigvard Bernadotte was the Design Prince, Astrid Sampe was the Design Queen. Both were extremely popular among the Swedish public.


Sigvard Bernadotte welcomed the 112 delegates from 19 nations to the ICDIS Congress, held at Hotel Foresta in Stockholm’s neighboring city, Lidingö. In his main address, which gained much press attention, the prince emphasized that modern design was a “well-organized team effort” and that “like some others, designers will do their work without glamorous star performers.” Rune Monö pointed out: “There is a major difference between foreigners who loved debates and modest Swedes. In Sweden we have never had a debate among active designers about the profession, its theory or philosophy.” He pointed out that some academics, without any experience in design, had raised such questions. In a prime time radio program on Swedish Radio, Sigvard Bernadotte, Astrid Sampe and Ulf Hård af Segerstad discussed “Do we need designers?”


Following discussions and seminars, delegates gathered at the Stockholm Museum of Technology, where a design exhibition featured full-scale Swedish design. Foreign design was displayed by photos. Dagens Nyheter’s reporter viewed the entire exhibit and described “English solidity,” “French elegance,” and that “Germans always had some bulging in their lines,” while “the Japanese were obviously moving forward.”  A DN reporter, under pen-name Col, recognized Swedish industrial designed products being “well-crafted, handsome office machines, while we eat plain sausage with designer knives and forks, which provide elegance to a simple home meal.”


The ICSID Congress was a real success, according to enthusiastic foreign debegates.  Design concepts and the new profession of industrial design was promoted by the media.  SID members had all reason to be proud. The Congress was so successful that Sigvard Bernadotte was later elected chairman of ICSID, and was re-elected twice. Astrid Sampe took a leading role, and was elected chairwoman of SID in 1964, the fifth to hold the office. A remarkable achievement for a woman to lead a group founded and made up entirely of men.


However, in 1945, some young designers were unhappy at the Stockholm SID offices. Swedish industrial design began on a loud note of triumph. Just weeks after Germany capitulated and peace was declared in Europe, a design consultancy, Industriell Formgiving (Industrial Design), announced its creation in full page one advertisements in Svenska Dagbladet on April 20, 1945. The company’s design profession and goals, were summed up in the headline: “Swedish industry can now utilize Ralph Lysell.” A completely new consultant company was born.  Ralph Lysell had a large trade-mark beard and an equally large vision for his company, which had ten employees at its start. The concept, slogans and inspiration came from America, where flamboyant Ralph Lysell, with a sense of PR and salesmanship, trained and worked before World War II.


The model for the company was based on that of the pioneer of streamlining, Raymond Loewy. Lysell’s wildly colorful sales presentation, on black  panels, for telephone giant LM Ericsson, became legendary among designers. However, Lysell sometimes promised more than he could deliver, and several years after its founding, his company went bankrupt. Lysell was a design pioneer and an inspiration for design companies that followed in the 1950s.


Sixten  Sason, a technically-gifted chief designer at Saab Aircraft company, was the designer of the company’s first automobile. He opened his own small design company in Solna, a Stockholm suburban city. His clients included Saab, Electrolux (home appliances), and Husqvarna (motorcycles, chain saws, sewing machines, and other home appliances).  Sason worked for many years with consumer products. Sigvard Bernadotte joined with Acton Bjørn and founded Bernadotte & Bjørn Industridesign in 1950 in Copenhagen. It was highly successful, expanded, and opened a subsidiary in Stockholm in 1958. Rune Monö, who worked with Sixten Sason at Saab, founded Industridesign in 1957, with clients including the airline SAS, Alweg (industrial products), and ICA (a major grocery chain).  Carl-Arne Breger opened Breger Design in Malmö in 1959.


These companies became nurseries for new talented designers. And as they expanded, with new clients, the need for industrial designers sharply increased. Some of the largest companies, such as ASEA, Elektroskandia, and Atlas Copco, created their own design departments. This expansion meant wider opportunities for young designers throughout Sweden. Demand and growth continued in the 1960s. John Meilink left ASEA and created Industriform in 1961. Henrik Wahlforss and Dagmar-Arnold Wahlforss founded Product Program in 1964. Tom Ahlström and Hans Ehrich funded A&E Design in 1968, and Carl-Göran Crafoord and Torsten Dahlin created Designgruppen in 1969.


But, as mentioned earlier, unrest was brewing beneath the surface. The heads of the design companies were members of SID, and could use the title, but younger employees were not voted in as members.


The main activities of SID, following the ISCID Congress, consisted of monthly lunches, new exhibitions and election of members. After a decade, several well-established SID members questioned what they had achieved in the first ten years. Was industrial design relevant for business and industry? There were concerns that the organization had become “a podium for an elite, and perhaps it is becoming an ivory tower for self-delusion,” as Rune Monö put it.

Interest in the profession continued to increase and soon the number of industrial designers was greater than the number of members of SID. As early as 1962, some 40  young industrial designers wrote a letter to SID requesting the two groups begin cooperating. Rune Monö took up SID’s situation at its annual meeting in 1966: “Have we no other goal than through our small number try to convince people that we are best? If so, it’s best if we adjourn, share what’s in our fund account, and go home… SID has grown out of the shape that worked eight or nine years ago.”


Rune Mono’s initiative resulted in a meeting and discussions with the young designers. A joint working committee was established after the young designers threatened to create their own association. A proposal for new rules for membership was sent to all SID members for comment. At the annual meeting of 1967, a large number of new members were voted into SID. The association now had 53 members. Ten of them were trained but new to the profession, while six were non-professional designers but academics or theorists.


The association created a new structure with various categories of membership.  SID welcomed with open arms young designers, newly graduated from Konstfack, the College of Arts and Crafts in Stockholm. SID carried out its own cultural revolution one year before the May Revolt of 1968, when students throughout Europe shook up old, fossilized institutions. But despite the winds of change that blew through the entire Swedish educational system, it took until 1980 for industrial design to get its own department and major course of study at Konstfack, today described as “Sweden’s largest university for arts, crafts and design.”


The first lectures in industrial design had been by John Meilink in 1957-59 at Konstfack, in cooperation with a silversmith instructor. The most famous designer of those times, Sixten Sason, was a guest lecturer. The very first course in industrial design was in 1966  at the Gothenburg University of Design and Crafts (known as HDK).


SID’s membership increased quickly during the 1970s as more students enrolled for industrial design studies at HDK and Konstfack. Many of the young designers were interested in new questions: improving working environment in industry and reducing injuries while at the same time increasing production. Swedish focus on safety led to the creation of child seats in cars, three-point safety belts, and safe cabs on trucks.  Developing countries’ special problems became in focus following lectures by the American industrial designer Victor Papanek at Konstfack.


The 1970 decade was signicant for Sweden’s contributions to design history by specializing on aids for the handicapped. An example of focus on users was seen in Gustavsberg’s design and production of what was to become an ionic bread-knife for those with rheumatism. Permobil was a pioneer in compact, electric-powered wheelchairs. Other products ranged from ergonomically designed plastic faucet handles to a pen designed for rheumatics. These ergonomic products were the result of methodical research and development in close cooperation with various handicap organizations and medical specialists. Ergonomidesigngruppen (The Ergonomy Design Group), with designers Sven-Eric Juhlin, Maria Benktzon, Carl-Göran Crafoord, and Tosten Dahlin, and others, is a leading company concentrating on new social issues.


In the Spring of 1975, the broad public got the opportunity become acquainted with current industrial design when SID presented an exhibition, “Swedish Industrial Design 1975,” held at Kulturhuset, in the heart of Stockholm city. The association exhibited a wide range of products which had been awarded design prizes sponsored by SID. The competition was open to “mass produced Swedish products that have been in production for at least five years.”  The aim was primarily to market Swedish design, and not to compete for a prize, according to chairman Per-Olof Wikström, in a Svenska Dagbladet interview. He admitted that a competitive competition, with ranked prizes, wasn’t perhaps the best way to increase interest in Swedish design. The newspaper’s reporter agreed, and wrote that there was a contradiction in SID’s position that this was not a Swedish championship in design. However, he reported that the exhibition was interesting and he pointed out a lighting tube for a reading lamp by Atelje Lyktan, plastic home products from Gustavsberg, Sven-Eric Juhlin’s school lunch trays, and a series of foldable furniture in steel and wood made by Lindau & Lindekranz company. Among hoorable mentions were kitchen knives and carving boards from Gustavsberg.


The new decade of the 1980s got off to a post-modernistic blast that shook up the modern, functional, ergonomic, safe ideals that ruled in the Swedish design ideology for 50 years. Jonas Bohlin unveiled his iconic concrete chair as his examination project at Konstfack in 1981. It was put into production the following year, in a limited number, by Källemo company, and was awarded a quality honor as “Outstanding Swedish Design” in 1983.  This was the first year of the prize awarded by the association Svensk Form (Swedish Design). The chair quickly raised strong opinions and created a lively debate, way ouside of the usual circle of the taste police.



Forty years later, Jonas Bohlin looked back to his chair and said in an interview with Dagens Nyheter: “In the early 1980s, concrete as a material was provocative. People believed that it was ugly and uncomfortable. Concrete meant brutality and walls, symbolizing hard values rejected by the 1969 movement and by many into the 1970s.”


But the safe and efficient Swedish design survived, despite the turbulence of the 1980s. Bohlin’s chair and the post-modern influence of Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis school in Milan increased interest in design questions. Debate was vitalized, stimulating wide public curiosity in esthetics and design. Design was a selling feature and the concept increases the value of everyday products in the eyes of consumers.


The Swedish Government recognized the potential of design in strengthening Swedish industry and competitiveness. The government took a major move by creating a Design Center in Stockholm in 1985. Inspiration was from the British Design Council, an organization that changed forms several times over its history. Torsten Dahlin, of the Ergonomi Design Gruppen (today Veryday), was named head of the Design Center, located in the heart of downtown Stockholm. Its mission is to promote good design of Swedish products, host exhibitions, encourage media attention and, in general, stimulate and promote design. In 1989, the Design Center was reorganized into a foundation, Stiftelsen Svensk Industridesign (SVID).  The foundation is tasked with sharing and conveying knowledge and design competence to Sweden’s small and medium-sized manufacturing companies. SVID’s activities are financed primarily by appropriations from Tillväxtverket, a state agency promoting growth of business and industry.



In its role as a campaign organization for industrial design, SVID worked to initiate improved education and research, with a goal of creating higher academic levels in design. This aim became reality in 1989 when the University of Design was founded in the north Swedish city of Umeå. Bengt Palmgren was named as Sweden’s first professor of  industrial design. For many years he had been a partner of Designgruppen in Bromma, Stockholm. In 1987 he won first prize in the “Utmärkt Svensk Form” (Outstanding Swedish Design) and the same year was named “Årets industridesigner’ (Designer of the Year). During the years of 1990-2003, Bengt Palmgren was the rector of the university and built up academic levels to its current high standard. In 2003 he was named president and served until pensioned in 2010. He created an academic structure with three years of studies and a candidate program offering opportunity to two years of post-grad within a three-year master’s program. This followed the Italian Bologna model. The master’s program is entirely in English and is open tos foreign students.


During the 1990s, technical development accelerated, not the least in IT, and connected designers from a wide range of activities. At the same time, there was increasing competition in business and industry for design competence, and there was a growing need for a broader interest organization for designers. As a result, SID (with almost 350 members) and STOK (Sveriges Textil-och Klädformgivare — Sweden’s Textile and Clothing Designers) merged in 1996.



In 2003, SVID, Svensk Form and Teknikföretagen (The Association of Swedish Engineering Industries) jointly created Stora Designpriset (The Major Design Prize). The first was awarded to the design department at Volvo Car design department for the Volvo SUV XC90, which became a sales and export success.


In 2005, the government declared that design would be a theme for the year and appropriated 60 million kronor (roughly $10 million) to promote designers’ role in forming and reforming society and to show the importance in design in everyday life. Neighboring Nordic nations also joined in declaring Design Year 2005. Seven departments and ministers of the Swedish government were involved while 50 agencies and administrations were encouraged to consider design in awarding contracts. Culture Minister Leif Pagrotsky played a major role. His own office became a showroom for excellent furniture design. However, there was some criticism in the design world of the multiple activities and projects, which added up to some 1,000 nationwide. Some said that most of it was quantity and not quality.


SID changed its name in 2005 to Sveriges Designer, SD (Sweden’s Designers), under the chairmanship of Thomas Seos of the design bureau Pangea. The name change signaled that the identity of designer would be extended to include brand creators and corporate identity specialists. At the same time, an increasing number of Swedish design bureaux, such as Doberman and Silver, started to work with service design. There was a clear trend throughout Europe that many national design organizations merged in order to strengthen their positions in society. In connection with the Swedish name change, the association was reorganized and modernized.  Within the one organization, Sveriges Designer included a number of design specialties: industry, textiles, fashion, internet web, home products, furniture, and graphic design.  Specialites were more united than divided in the design world.


Sweden’s designers looked forward and activities were prioritized toward cooperation with Nordic and Continental design organizations. Sveriges Designer cooperates, through the network Scandinavian Design Alliance (SDA), with Design Denmark, Norway’s Grafill and Norges Industri Designer (NID). It was obvious that there were major differences between the nations’ views of design questions. For example, the Danish government approriates large annual funding to the Danish design organizations, while Danish elementary schools include design in class programs.


In the spring of 2008, a large design conference was held in Copenhagen, hosted by Danske Designer. It was broadcast live in Sweden, where Sveriges Designer’s 850 members could participate in web seminars. This was succeded by Swedish Designers’ first fully digital meeting, which elected as chairwoman Lotta Ahlvar, managing drector of Svenska Moderådet (Swedish Fashion Council). Svenska Moderådet was responsible for Mötesplats Mode & Design, MM&D (Meetingplace Fashion& Design), which is part of Nätverket för upplevelseindustrin (Network for Event Industry), which was created by the government and financed by KK-Stiftelsen, a cultural foundation.


Sveriges Designer’s office, with one employee handling membership coordination, has been in Moderådet’s building for four years. Today, Kulturella och Kreativa Näringar, KKN (Cultural and Creative Industries) is a well-established concept, a national agency for cultural analysis is assigned to evaluate, analyze and report effects and proposals for measures in the cultural political field in Sweden.


The design alliance of all Scandinavia was fulfilled in 2012 when Finland’s Ornamo and Grafia and Iceland’s Design Centre joined the group along with Svenska Tecknare (Swedish Illustrators and Graphic Designers).  The Scandinavian Design Alliance in 2023 had 7,500 designer members, and can influence EU policies through the umbrella organization BEDA (The Bureau of Design Associations).  Sveriges Designers is also represented in the General Assembly.


On February 6, 2014, the Swedish National Museum held a short-lived exhibit, “Subjective — Selected Design,” on the  fourth floor of Kulturhuset in Stockholm.  For decades, there had been no location where the design-interested public, both Swedish and foreign, could get an overall picture of developments in contemporary design. For some 15 years, a lobbying group, Form Museum Vänner, FMV (Friends of  Design Museum), of which Sveriges Designer participated, had urged the National Museum to make real the dream of creating a design museum. Two parallel concepts were proposed:


1) Merging Moderna Museet (Museum of Contemporary Art) with Arkdes (Centrum for Architecture and Design). Models were MoMa in New York and Stedelijk Museum  in Amsterdam. There had been a formal memorandum drawn up on this proposal.


2) Suport the establishment of a National Museum of Design, based on the ideas of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London,  which was established in 1866.


However, the lobbying activities were halted in 2014.  When, after several years of rebuiling and renovation, the National Museum, at Blasieholmen in Stockholm, was reopened  in 2018 as “Sweden’s art and design museum,” it included  permanent design exhibitions in its stated activities.


During 2014, national cooperation was strengthened among various leaders and organizations in cultural and creative sectors. Svenskt Design Samarbete, SDS, (Swedish Design Cooperation), was reactivated after seven years of inactivity. SDS is an informal network of Swedish design and architecture organizations, having common objectives and an agenda to promote a new national design policy. This was also the start of a joint request for funding for a “National Agenda.” The goal was to improve conditions and economy of designers. Behind the National Agenda were Svenska Tecknare (Swedish Ilustrators and Graphic Artists);  Sveriges Konsthantverkare och Industriformgivare, KIF (Swedish Craftspersons and Industrial Designers); Svensk Form;  Stiftelsen Konsthantverkscentrum (Arts and Crafts Foundation). The National Agenda is financed by the state business and industry promotion agency, Tillväxtverket, and Nämnden för hemslöjdsfrågor, the state agency to promote handicraft.


That same year Sveriges Designer received 1.3 million kronor (about $200,000) for a project known as Omforma  (Transformation). Funding was from a state lottery culture foundation.  Omforma would get an overview of the social situation of the design branch and study equality and ethnic oppportunities for designers. It would initiate measures to eliminate inequalities. The design branch is usually privately financed and receives little public funding. It is not easy to get a complete picture of the branch and it is seldom discussed as such in the media, and questions are rarely raised. What demands could be placed on designers, and who are the public spokespersons? Whom do media, politcians and idustry leaders turn to? Is there a structural difference between the design branch, and other business and industrial branches?  Worth noting is the fact that Sveriges Designer’s board of directors over the years has been dominated by men, and not the least the office of board chairman: 23 men and 6 women.


In December 2014, Business Design Week, BODW, was held in Hong Kong, with Sweden as a partner sponsor. The theme was “Sweden Living Design.” Sveriges Designer represented the Swedish design sector, planned content and greatly strengthened the collected Swedish presence. In its work with BODW, Sveriges Designer maintained continuous contact with the Swedish Foreign Ministry, the Consulate General in Hong Kong, Svensk Form, Business Sweden, and the south Swedish Region Skåne. Contacts were also established with several Hong Kong organizations: Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Hong Kong Design Centre, Hong Kong Design Institute, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.


A 2014  government study , “Forming Lifestyle — A policy for Architecture, Form and Design,” would greatly infuence public discussion about design. The mission of the study was to obtain an overview of public policies regarding architecture, form and design. Sveriges Designer was one of the organizations offering comments and views of the study. Regarding architecture, the organizational chart was revised in Sweden’s design world: Arkdes in Stockholm became the national center for sustainable construction in society.  But the design sector in “forming lifestyle” ran the risk of being weakened.


In 2016, the association changed its name for the second time. Its initial letters, SD,  for Sveriges Designer, were the same as those of a growing young party, Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden Democrats).  Thus, the association changed its name to Design Sweden, DS. It elected a new board, got a new identity and made membership cost-free. Following years of fewer members, DS now sharply increased the numbers, under the chairmanship of Pontus Palmer.  The by-laws were revised and English became the official language of the association. The association celebrated its 60 year anniversery in 2017 with a jubilee event and dinner in Ahouse in Stockholm. About 1,600 members, old and new, attended. A main attendee and speaker was Jacob Trollbäck, a poster specialist whose design had been selected as the pictogram for the United Nation’s Agenda 2030.


However, only one year later, the board proposed that Design Sweden close down and go out of existence. The proposal was not approved by membership. The board resigned.


An entirely new board was elected in 2018,  reviewed the association’s activities and restored membership fees. Design Sweden began talks on cooperation with Svensk Form and SVID, held meetings in these organizations’ buildings in Skeppsholmen in Stockholm, and recruited new members at events and exhibitions. Svensk Form and SVID gained representation in Design Sweden’s board. The three organizations joined in joint events and projects. Among these was participation at Almedal Week in Gotland, where political parties and organizations gathered annually for promotion, exhibits, debate and networking.  Design Sweden, Svensk Form, SVID, Form/Design Center and Svensk Form Gotland arranged a well-attended seminar on design and sustainability. Sustainability is a timely issue in Sweden, and Design Sweden was host for the subject, and sponsor of the first sustainability prize, Design 5.


During the Covid pandemic,  cooperation was in focus and the government’s Ministry of Culture was urged to support designers who were not covered by state support for cultural activities. A major question was how best to help designer members. A Covid Handbook was prepared as a “first aid” guide. The Ministry of Culture assigned Svensk Form and SVID to make a study, “Design as a Development Force.” The aim is to present an overall view of how design and designers can contribute to and fulfill a policy for a creative lifestyle.” Daniel Byström, vice chairman of Design Sweden and one of the authors of the report, pointed out that designers’ potential was only marginally utilized today. This, despite the fact, as stressed in the report, that design and the process of design are strategic fields that can contribute to sustainable development of society.


Following two hard pandemic years, with almost no activities and limited resources, it was decided to shut down Design Sweden. On a beautiful Thursday evening, April 28, 2022, when cherry blossoms were in full bloom at Skeppsholmen outside SVID’s offices, Design Sweden’s members gathered for a special meeting  and voted to terminate the association.


Following 65 successful years,  Design Sweden was pensioned. The profession of designer had become long and well established in Sweden.


Chairmen and Chairwomen, 1957-2022