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Design Shanghai Design Forum Theme


2024 Design Forum Theme

The New Universal Language of Design

There is no more important job for design than to design our future.

To do that we need to collaborate at every level - 

And to do that we need to create a globally comprehensive language:

The Universal Language of Design

The world is getting ever smaller and East and West are combining and interacting in ways they never have before. It emphasises the importance of language as the crucial tool of success. Computer code and genetic code – DNA - are universal languages; but in human terms, Asian ideograms and Western phonetics have until this point expressed our responses to the world with different sets of tools.

As we reach deep into the third decade of the 21st century it is more important than ever before that we deeply understand each other. That we understand design’s responsibility; that we work – and play – together to create enduring and resilient ways to not only survive but thrive.

At heart, the DNA of design is the same, wherever we are and whoever we are. Creativity is Universal. Using machine learning on one side and our innate duty of care for the planet and the natural environment on the other, we create a universally shared language of power and beauty that guarantees our future. There is no other way.


——Aidan Walker, Design Shanghai Forum Programme Director