The enhanced role of the Design Center of the Philippines for the creative economy is the fruit of the Philippine Design Competitive Act of 2013 (also known as Republic Act 10557). Its mandate is to promote design to:
The mission of the Design Center of the Philippines is to promote the use and appreciation of good design by strengthening the Philippine design industry and improving the range, quality, and thus competitiveness of Philippine services and products. This can be accomplished by nurturing innovation, protecting stakeholders, and creating value.
By doing so, the Design Center of the Philippines envisions that the organization will become internationally recognized as the center for excellence in design by 2025.
The Design Center of the Philippines was established in the 1970s as an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry for the development, promotion, and enhancement of Philippine-made products through design. It had two specific goals: increase design consciousness through education; and create new designs using native materials. The Agency’s founding Executive Director was National Artist for Visual Arts Arturo Luz.
To this end, the Design Center of the Philippines invested in intensive research and development to pave the way for innovation and pioneering design.
In the 1980s, the Agency was renamed the Product Development and Design Center of the Philippines in line with the focus of the Department of Trade and Industry on export promotion projects. This entailed prioritizing products with strong “commercial” value and promoting Product Development and Design Center of the Philippines design services to industry. By the 1990s, designers had attained an integral role in businesses, as good design meant good business, especially in the burgeoning global market where increased competition and protectionism made branding and identity a vital part of doing business.
Over the next few years, there was a gradual shift of focus from design for commercial conformity to design for cultural promotion. The Product Development and Design Center of the Philippines was the design compass on a national level, and as such was responsible not only for sourcing, producing, and distributing design policies, but also maintaining the Philippines as leader of design in the region.
The Product Development and Design Center of the Philippines was renamed back to the Design Center of the Philippines on the enactment of Republic Act 10557. This signaled the shift in focus from commercial export promotion to include the promotion and support of Filipino design and designers.