Before the revolution, Czech design enjoyed rather a strong state support. Although the institutions conformed to the regime and were supposed to be the support of the socialist economy in its nature, their existence helped the then industrial design in many ways. The period after 1989 was the time when the design was supported at the state level in parallel with the establishment of many private entities that strived for providing it with international glamor and importance.
The Czech Design Centre operated between 1990 and 2007 and its main task was to support links between enterprises and designers, and the export. The authority was partly transferred to the governmental organization Czech Trade, which was primarily responsible for the international support of companies and individuals. However, the design lost the comprehensive and strategic care provided by the publicly funded center. Design Cabinet was established in 2008 and besides consultations, administration of the database of designers and the library, it also organizes the Czech National Student Design Award. The Profil Media agency that has organized the Designblok showcase since 1999 has greatly participated to promote Czech and international design in the Czech Republic. Besides the locations, the attention of the general public has been drawn by non-traditional locations where the editions have taken place. Nowadays it is the most important comprehensive showcase of Czech design with big companies as well as young brands and academy students. In 2006, the Profil Media agency began with awarding the best designers with the Czech Grand Design. The awardees are chosen by the Academy of Czech Design featuring theoreticians, critics, and journalists.
Presentation and organisations
Young designers’ showcases and local production have recently spread into regions. Meat Design Ostrava takes place in the former Vítkovice ironworks and provides meaningful orientation towards local companies and brands outside the capital. Brno has its Brno Design Days. It focuses on networking, cooperation with the municipality, and lectures rather than exhibitions. Pilsen has its design presentation founded in 2016. It takes place in Depo2015 that was established as the European Capital of Culture. Liberec has the Reichenberg Design Days featuring local designers in the reconstructed spa, now a gallery. Zlín organizes its design week in cooperation with the local university.
There are two most important galleries in the Czech Republic dedicated to collections and attractive exhibitions concerning design: the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague and Moravian Gallery in Brno that intensively focuses on the presentation of the fundamental figures of Czech design, organizes regular exhibitions and purchases works by the current generation for the collections. Smaller galleries, which regularly exhibit Czech design, are Retro Museum Cheb, exhibiting the 20th-century product design, Museum of Art and Design Benešov, small but progressive spaces GaP in Znojmo, and UM Gallery at the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design. The private gallery in Prague Kvalitář mixes modern design, arts and architecture have been acknowledged for some time as well.
The Czechdesign organization founded in 2001 has been occupied with Czech design exhibitions. The independent platform features three entities and each of them serves as a tool for the promotion of Czech design in the competition. It helps companies with the organization of transparent designer competitions, publishes the most widely read Czech magazine on design, and sells Czech design in its e-shop and brick-and-mortar shop. Other media engaged in design professionally feature Design Portal, DesignMag, and Font magazine.
Czech design is currently available in shops dedicated to Czech design all over the country based on the need of young authors to have a space where they can sell their works. A list of design shops can be seen on the website Czech Design Map. There is currently no state program or support for young designers in the Czech Republic they could utilize to monetize their work and make it more popular.
Graphic and fashion design
Graphic design has had a good reputation recently. The specialized competitions, such as the International Biennial of Graphic Design that took place in Brno or the Most Beautiful Book, which chooses the best graphic layout of printed publications, have greatly contributed to the merits. Czech municipalities and institutions have started to organize public competitions to update their visual identities.
Trends in fashion and fashion design are presented at the Mercedes Benz Prague Fashion Week. It takes place twice a year and Czech elite designers present their collections there. Brno has the traditional showcase of new ideas – Styl Kabo – and takes place at the functionalist Výstaviště. The series of fashion showcases WRN presents new talents, including students of local and international academies.
Design can be studied at many universities and academies, which are of a very high standard. Prague has the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design (UMPRUM) and Czech Technical University (ČVUT), the alternative may be the private school Scholastika specializing in design. You can study design and related disciplines at the Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Arts at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, the Faculty of Arts and Design at the Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, and design-related disciplines at the Tomáš Baťa University in Zlín.