IDSA Releases INNOVATION Archives

Nov 17 2021 - 9:13am


The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), in partnership with the Hagley Museum and Library, is pleased to share archives of the Society's quarterly journal INNOVATION magazine, dating back to 1968. We hope you enjoy this archive and leverage it as a great resource for your reading pleasure, design practice, or academic pursuits. INNOVATION has long remained a central element of the IDSA membership experience and we look forward to much more to come.


Access the INNOVATION archives here



INNOVATION - A brief history


Early Beginnings


INNOVATION, as it is called now, first appeared in January 1982. Prior to that, the IDSA-produced publication was called ‘Journal of the Industrial Designers Society of America,' which ran from 1968 through 1972, when the name of the magazine was shortened to simply, ‘Design Journal.’ These early evolutions of the publication suggest that IDSA was in a growth and maturation phase in which it was seeking to find its footing as a content creator (as we now call it) in the publishing world. 

Regardless of the name, the core intent of publishing a magazine was to produce a vehicle for industrial design news, trends, and insights. Remember, it was a time before the internet and ubiquitous access to information in the form of Google searches that we all live in today. For nearly 30 years, INNOVATION magazine truly was one of the only places where an industrial designer could look for comprehensive and up-to-date articles related to our professional practice.

Since its founding, the magazine was also meant to be a lasting record of the activities of IDSA. Reports from conferences, Board of Directors meetings, and other matters related to the IDSA membership experience were frequently found within its pages. This continues to this day.

The Hole


An often questioned aspect of INNOVATION magazine is the hole found in the upper left corner of each issue. This unique detail of INNOVATION magazine was introduced in the Spring/Summer issue of 1995. This, the 50th issue, accompanied a complete redesign of the magazine, including the INNOVATION mast head and updated visual layout system. Joe Ungari, IDSA, who served on the Publication Committee at the time, is credited for introducing the idea of ‘the hole.’ Marilyn Johnson, IDSA, writes: “He suggested drilling it through the dot of the Bodoni 'i' on the cover to give people a way of hanging the magazine up and to reflect IDSA's signature dot. It was one of those ideas that everyone buys into in one great sigh. So clear, so simple, so appropriate, so functional that it was immediately obvious to everyone.” She continues about the new direction, “INNOVATION's new design and identity present the variety of information that we publish with visual elan, blending classic and contemporary elements in order to engage the reader.” 

The Winter 1999 issue brought with it another redesign of the magazine into the form we recognize today. Nearly every aspect of the publication’s look, formatting, and content curation was updated at that time, but the hole remained!

A Continuous Pursuit


Even in the pages of its earliest issues, readers will find provocations and forward-thinking insights related to the role of industrial designers in society and of IDSA’s place as a valuable bedrock for those in our community. Sometimes critical and sometimes comical, but always thoughtful and articulate, the articles in INNOVATION over the years are a testament to our desire to share knowledge with one another and celebrate our best accomplishments in design. When viewed individually, each issue of INNOVATION is a snapshot of a moment in time captured in vivid detail. When viewed as a collection over four decades, INNOVATION presents a rich historical account, told by those who lived it, of an organization and profession simultaneously defining and re-defining its own boundaries. The stories, imagery, and insights gathered from hundreds of authors bring life to the pursuit of understanding (and living up to) the professional responsibility we have as industrial designers to utilize our talents for the betterment of lives around the world.

Image: Tucker Viemeister, FIDSA, long-time INNOVATION contributor, enjoys the Spring 2019 issue, which featured a mirrored image on the front and back covers.



Hagley Museum and Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution and a member of the Independent Research Libraries Association (IRLA). Hagley houses the historical records of several thousand business organizations, trade associations, business leaders, and government entities, translating to holdings in excess of 42,000 linear feet (approx. eight miles) of business records and manuscripts, more than 300,000 rare books and published sources, and over 3 million pictorial, audiovisual, and digital artifacts.

IDSA partners with the Hagley Heritage Curators program to preserve the Society's archives in a world-renowned library. IDSA's collection comprises newsletters, member directories, Board minutes, annual reports, and submission files for winners of the IDEA and Designs of the Decade Awards, including product descriptions and anonymous judge reports. The collection at the Hagley is richest from the 1980s to today.

Founded in 1965, Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) is one of the oldest and largest industrial design associations in existence. Our roots stretch to the beginning of the profession and our members are, and have been, some of the most celebrated industrial designers of all time. The IDSA community helps strengthen the industrial design profession as a whole and contributes to the boundless impact of design within business, culture and society.