Founded in 2018, the non-profit iF Design Foundation is the only shareholder of iF International Forum Design GmbH and its subsidiaries. The Foundation’s goal is to promote design and its social significance away from economic conditions or constraints. It is committed to the common good, dedicating resources and expertise to scientific research and education in the context of design. The iF Design Foundation replaced the iF Industrie Forum Design e.V., which operated from 1953 to 2018.


Our mission is to support academic research and education, culture, social engagement, environmental awareness, and sustainability. The iF Design Foundation provides financial support for selected design projects as well as initiating its own projects, conferences, and more.

In addition, the iF Design Foundation will cooperate with other design-oriented foundations and non-profits in order to pool resources, develop and realize joint projects.
The outcomes of the foundation's activities will be regularly documented and published.



Academic research in the field of design

Education and Support

Education and vocational training, support of students and creative talents

Art and Culture

Projects, Exhibitions and Events

Nature and Landscape

Social progress and efficient use of resources

How will design education need to adapt in order to stay abreast of economic and societal shifts? With these question in mind, the iF Design Foundation decided to undertake research on the current state of design education worldwide. The starting point was a study on the future of design teaching in 2016, followed by hearings with experts from industry, universities from various disciplines and NGOs in Gmund am Tegernsee (Germany), Pasadena California (USA), Kyoto (Japan) and Johannesburg (South Africa). The results of the study and the conferences were published in “Designing Design Education” – the whitebook on the Future of Design Education (02/2021).


Christoph Böninger

Chairman, iF Design Foundation

Fritz Frenkler

Vice Chairman, iF Design Foundation

René Spitz

Board Member, iF Design Foundation

Annette Diefenthaler

Board Member, iF Design Foundation


A limited number of companies may act as patrons to the foundation, ensuring regular and committed dialogue on issues of future engagement. Patrons‘ annual donations can also help to sustain and expand the influence of the iF Design Foundation.


1953: The establishment of iF e.V

Six years after the British occupying forces selected Hannover as a venue for trade fairs, efforts were made to complement the fair with an institution that would foster and support the “formal design of industrial products” in Germany.

The Hannover Messegesellschaft was inspired by the ideas of the visionary entrepreneur Philip Rosenthal, who also played a key role in the Federation of German Industry (BDI), where he was committed to bringing together the worlds of culture and business. This concept was also adopted for the foundation of the new institution.

Together with the Messegesellschaft and the Federation of German Industry, Rosenthal created this unique institution: iF e.V.

The aim was to establish in the minds of industry leaders as well as the general public the idea that high-quality design is a key factor in success; to promote the view that a company which includes design in its philosophy, in its strategic decisions and in its product development would achieve sustainable success.

Furthermore, the association’s work focused on discussion and exchange in relation to design and on the continuous expansion and maintenance of a worldwide design network.

1953 - 2018: iF Industrie Forum Design e.V.

iF Industrie Forum Design e.V. – or iF e.V. for short – was the world's oldest independent design institution. Its foundation in 1953 was closely linked to Hannover's status as a major venue for trade fairs. The aim was to create a partner institution for the annual industry exhibition that would foster and support the “formal design of industrial products” in Germany.

iF e.V. was founded to create a bridge between the worlds of culture and business. For six decades, both the association and its members pursued this goal with great commitment and success.

Wilhelm Wagenfeld

Wilhelm Wagenfeld provided valuable support to the young organisation and wrote a wonderful opening address for the founding of iF Industrie Forum Design e.V. Although seven decades have since passed, his words have lost none of their significance, enthusiasm and validity.

Download the opening adress by Wilhelm Wagenfeld about "Thoughts and Experiences of a Designer".

2001: iF International Forum Design GmbH

In 2001, iF International Forum Design GmbH assumed control over the operating business, including organizing and hosting the iF DESIGN AWARDS. iF e.V. was thus able to focus more on its role as a mediator between design and business.


Assistant to the Board

Gabriele Bertemann
Bahnhofstrasse 8
30159 Hannover

Phone +49.511.54224-202

Press Officer

Annegret Wulf-Pippip
Bahnhofstrasse 8
30159 Hannover

Phone +49.511.54224-218


Sandra Fischer
Bahnhofstrasse 8
30159 Hannover

Phone +49.511.54224-211