2024 San Diego – Tijuana Designation of World Design Capital

Every two years, the World Design Organization (WDO) recognizes cities around the world for effective use of design to drive economic, social, cultural and environmental development via the designation of the World Design Capital (WDC). Past cities include Lille Metropole, Mexico City, Taipei, Cape Town, Helsinki, Seoul, Torino and most recently Valencia.

San Diego – Tijuana was recently designated as the 2024 World Design Capital. The award is a milestone, and represents both the first bi-national designation as well as the first inclusion of a U.S. city in the celebrated title.

Area leaders see the San Diego – Tijuana region as two independent yet deeply connected cities with histories, cultures, resources and challenges that are at once shared and distinctive. These facets uniquely position the 2024 event as a model for recovery and revitalization.

For AIGA San Diego, preparation for the landmark event is already well underway. The chapter has shifted into active planning mode and is looking to the future.

“Hosting the 2024 World Design Capital in San Diego – Tijuana is such an exciting opportunity for us,” says San Diego Chapter President and AIGA Fellow, MaeLin Levine. “Our cross-disciplinary, bi-national design community is diverse and accomplished. Our hope is to elevate awareness in the global community of how design is a catalyst of change for good in ways that unite people and enrich life.”

International design leader and AIGA Fellow Ron Miriello is guiding concept development of an AIGA signature exhibition that will launch in 2024 in conjunction with the World Design Capital. WORK|PLAY Designs that Define a Region will celebrate the region’s untold history of design and innovation. The curated collection intends to draw out how the unique synthesis of work and play has led to numerous innovations in a broad cross-section of industries.

“We’ve developed a selection criteria that reflects the open-minded, playful culture that has emerged in San Diego – Tijuana as result of work-play integration,” Miriello says. “In my experience, this hallmark is uncommon in the global community. We see it as an essential and defining characteristic of our regional design community. Visitors and residents alike will find the experience eye-opening and inspirational. The breakthrough thinking and innovation that flies under the radar in our region is simply extraordinary.”

WORK|PLAY will reflect and engage a variety of design voices and organizations from throughout our region. Each exhibition inclusion will represent a breakthrough or advancement in category, featuring objects, products, technologies and services in all arenas. The emphasis will focus on design as a universal and shared process.

AIGA San Diego plans to expand all 2024 chapter initiatives in response to the opportunities and themes incorporated in the World Design Capital. Included among them are the 2024 Y-Conference, the PROJECTING FUTURES and BOWHAUS exhibits, expansion of the K-12th grade LINK program and a design-centered career fair and showcase.

By AIGA San Diego Tijuana
Published March 6, 2024