Archiving the World’s Graphic Design

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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What this world needs is a good design archive. In 2014 the International Advertising & Design DataBase (IADDB) was founded as an offspring of the now 36-year-old ReclameArsenaal Foundation. Both nonprofit organizations are based in The Netherlands and focus on the subjects of advertising and design. While the ReclameArsenaal concentrates only on Dutch resources, the IADDB presents worldwide collections in these fields.

Dr. G.W. Ovink, Honderd Jaren Lettergieterij in Amsterdam. Designer: Dick Elffers. Inventory number: 11586.

All of the digitized collections found on are provided by archives, galleries and other collectors of advertising and design from all over the world. The website is presently established as an invaluable initiative that gives access to the heritage that we all recognize in advertising and design. To become a center for everything there is to know about advertising and design, the IADDB is going to need international support.

Chaudieres Diamant de Dietrich. Inventory number: 2184.

lies bücher, designer: Kurt Wirth. Inventory number: LC_0658.

The IADDB has established an endowment fund to ensure that it has the means to “become and remain a central access point into the world of advertising and design,” says its founder, Martijn Le Coultre.

“Everyone who understands the importance of the cultural heritage that is embedded into advertising and design, and who believes that this heritage should be shared, is invited to support the International Advertising & Design DataBase. Since we are a nonprofit organization, all gifts are greatly appreciated.”

More information can be obtained by contacting the IADDB at

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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →