The Danish Design DNA

The Danish Design Council has together with Danish Design Centre, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation and Design Museum Denmark, conducted a survey of Danish design in order to identify its exact characteristics – its DNA, so to speak.

Danish design is centered around the ideology that it is for the people.

— Ane Cortzen, tv-anchor, architect

The questions were many: What is associated with Danish design in Denmark and internationally? Are there internal factors that influence the development of Danish design, and if so, what are these? How do current external factors, such as globalisation, and trends like technology, sustainability, and new types of design influence the development of Danish design today? Can the Danish design DNA be expressed even more clearly by offering other methodologies, processes and systems to address the dominant and grand societal challenges today and in the future?

The majority of Danish design solutions reflect some of these values, some even reflect all. The values will apply differently to design in the form of furniture and design as industrial solutions or public service. However, both furniture and eg. public services have shared value features, which supports the idea of ​​the special Danish design DNA – across products and services, across industries and across public and private.

Why is the Danish Design DNA essential?

The aim of the exploration was to rediscover Denmark’s unique design DNA, solidifying design as a competitive asset for Danish businesses and as a tool for addressing some of the world’s greatest challenges.

Design is something we almost take for granted in Denmark. Roman Mars, creator of the immensely popular design podcast “99 percent Invisible,” talks about “the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.” Historically, design has in fact helped shape our entire welfare society; from our furniture and lifestyle to our liveable cities and urban spaces. 

In recent decades, design for service and strategy development of companies and organizations has flourished, offering a fresh approach to creating value and not just valuation. 

Design is the glue that binds everything else together and makes a product, service or system – digital or analogue – desirable. And the Danish design DNA binds everything together in a way that is unique to Danish creativity.  The concept of “Danish design” needs to be updated in a way that substantiates the added value, companies that work strategically with design experience in new markets as well as in new products and services and better user interface. To apply design, we need to define it.