International Indigenous Design Charter

SUMMARY: The primary aim of this policy/systems design project is to develop an International Indigenous Design Charter. Its mission is to guide designers (indigenous and non-indigenes) on the appropriate use of Indigenous knowledge and culture in communication design and associated areas of design practice.

PROBLEM SPACE: Increasingly Indigenous culture is being identified by design firms and branding agencies as providing a unique point of difference, especially in the representation of location in place branding. As designers become more aware of both their professional and moral responsibilities they need to understand the power they have to influence opinions. This initiative aims to address the issue of cultural appropriation and the inappropriate referencing and representation of Indigenous peoples in design practice.

SOLUTION: “The International Indigenous Design Charter will be a best practice policy guide for the communication design profession and associated disciplines including graphic design, digital design, environmental design, branding, advertising and design strategy.

The Charter will suggest that designers need to understand the co-creation concept of relationality and that in some cases co-authors are better described as co-beneficiaries. The Charter recommend that when working on projects involving the representation of Indigenous/First Nation culture communication designers and buyers of design (non-Indigenous and Indigenous) are expected to adhere to the following ten points (draft):

1) Indigenous led
2) Self-determined
3) Community specific
4) Deep listening
5) Impact of design
6) Indigenous knowledge
7) Shared knowledge/Indigenous knowledge (collaboration, co-creation, procurement)
8) Legal and moral
9) Cultural competency
10) Charter implementation”