Welcome to the Chicago Design Archive

Submit Your Work to the Archive

The CDA is seeking design work that has received special recognition (in competitions or media coverage), is Chicago-related, or is innovative and contributes to Chicago's impact as a center for art and design. 

The Chicago Design Archive is an exclusive and permanent online record featuring Chicago-related experiential, graphic, and product design created from the 1920s to the present. The CDA provides a means for Chicago design firms and clients to showcase their creative effort to a worldwide audience.

The Archive is not merely a static collection of historically important design, but also a living, growing record of the vibrant Chicago design scene.

The mission of the CDA is To share the best of Chicago design.


October 3-October 4, 2019 
Stories of Chicago’s letterforms—past, present, future.
Type Tales Chicago, was an informal two-day conference about type in the Windy City. It started with a day of explorations: studio and walking tours through Chicago’s typographic destinations, then workshops by John Downer, Roger Black, and others. At the end of the day, a reception and an opening talk by Paul Shaw, the type historian. Then, on Friday, presentations by and conversations with local heroes like Jennifer Farrell, Rick Valicenti, Sharon Oiga, Guy Villa Jr, and Jackson Cavanaugh. Moderated by Northwestern University’s Susan Mango Curtis.

type talestype tales


Chicago Design Museum's What's Worth Preserving / Noteworthy Work (by invitation)
password: broadshoulders

27 Chicago Designers exhibition at UIC Special Collections

27 Chicago Designers book is in the collection

90 Years of The Society of Typographic Arts is a 100+ page book (of records, essays, and design work documenting the history of the STA,  recently published by CDA Press


July 1-August 4, 2019 
Chicago Design Milestones 1920–2019
150 N Riverside Plaza, Chicago

The Chicago Design Archive was delighted to showcase highlights of its collection in Chicago Design Milestones 1920–2019, the installation took place throughout July at 150 Media Stream, the largest media screen (3,000+ sq ft) in Chicago. The installation visualized the evolution of Chicago design by its examination and presentation of historic characteristics of design works in the CDA collection over the last 10 decades.

See a short clip of the CDA's installation here: https://vimeo.com/3151829948

Chicago Design Milestones was developed as a collaboration of CDA, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Design & Electronic Visualization Laboratory, and Columbia College Chicago. It is part of the ongoing research of this collaboration aiming to highlight the role of Chicago as a national design center through the use of new technologies.

150 Media Stream is comprised of 89 LED blades stretching 150 ft long and rising 22 ft high, located in the lobby of a downtown Chicago riverfront building. It is the only structure of its kind dedicated to showcasing Chicago artists, culture and history alongside renowned and emerging artists from around the world.

Daria Tsoupikova (UIC)
Sharon Oiga (UIC/CDA)
Guy Villa Jr (CCC)
Jack Weiss (CDA)
Cheri Gearhart (CDA)
Wayne Stuetzer (CDA)
Krystofer Kim, (NASA)
Ali Khan (UIC)

Grant funding support:
Riverside/150 Media Stream
Columbia College Chicago
UIC College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts


CDA at 150 Mediastream
Chicago Design Milestones at 150 Media Stream!


June 21-July 19, 2019
Looking Back: Chicago Design Milestones

Looking Back: Chicago Design Milestones was on display from June 21-July 19, 2019 at Archeworks, 625 N Kingsbury Street in Chicago the Chicago Design Archive was delighted to showcase highlights of the collection in Chicago Design Milestones, an installation from July 1-August 4, 2019 at 150 Media Stream (a media art display at a grand scale). Developed in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago and Columbia College Chicago, the Chicago Design Milestones installation visualized the evolution of Chicago design by its examination and accentuation of historic characteristics of design works in the CDA collection over the last 10 decades.

The CDA thanks everyone who came out to enjoy the Preview Gala and all those that donated items to our silent auction fundraiser. Our generous auction bidders helped us raise nearly $2000 at our first fundraiser.