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This application guide for design promotion describes the various funding measures adopted by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia in the field of design. This guide is valid until the end of 2020.

In the area of design, Pro Helvetia promotes all areas of professional design (textile, fashion, industrial, product, service, graphic design, etc.) through two different approaches.

By promoting market access, Pro Helvetia supports projects by young Swiss designers towards market entry. This goal is achieved through calls for projects for concept and product promotion and by supporting trade fair participation and delegations to platforms in Switzerland and abroad. These measures can be supplemented with individual coaching.

Pro Helvetia promotes established Swiss design by promoting national and international design projects with national and international reach and with a view to their societal impact. It supports the cultural dissemination of Swiss design at home and abroad as well as publications and certain forms of knowledge exchange.

1. Market access promotion

The aim of market access promotion is to facilitate national and international market access for young designers. It is aimed at Swiss designers up to seven years after graduation or within the first seven years after founding their agency.

The projects supported are characterised by design quality, a high degree of innovation, long-term benefits, clear entrepreneurial objectives and marketability.


No funding is granted for:

  • infrastructure costs;
  • projects that do not depend on financial support.

Pro Helvetia is unable to consider:

  • projects either part of a school or university curriculum or of basic and further training (including dissertations, diploma projects, etc.) if the project organisers are not the principal copyright holders and hold the rights of use.
  • (commercial) contract work and projects part of advertising campaigns.
  • commercial galleries and collector’s items.
1.1 Calls for Design Funding

Pro Helvetia supports the creation of sustainable, marketable design products through issuing annual calls for projects. It envisages four funding stages from concept to market launch.

  • concept development funding
  • prototype development funding
  • production funding
  • project extension funding

The supported projects can be supplemented by individual coaching measures.

Factsheet Call for Projects – Design

1.2 Individual trade fair participation

The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia supports presentations, stays and invitations by Swiss designers at trade fairs and market-oriented events to give them international visibility and enable a first step into the global market.

Factsheet Design Trade Fair Participation

1.3 Delegations

Pro Helvetia regularly organises participation at market-oriented platforms in Switzerland and abroad. As a rule, participation includes a booth and individually organised matchmaking events. Calls for projects are issued via this page and designswitzerland.ch

2. Promotion of design projects with societal impact

The promotion of design projects with a societal impact aims to deepen and disseminate the discourse on the role of design in society. Pro Helvetia supports exhibition and publication projects as well as certain forms of knowledge exchange. Projects are characterised by a profound engagement with societal themes and relate to the contemporary work of designers of national importance whose projects have achieved national and international impact through several years of trade fair participation or events. As a national foundation, Pro Helvetia complements the funding provided by Switzerland’s cantons and municipalities as well as by private foundations. The Arts Council only supports projects of national or international importance.

Factsheet Promotion of Design Projects with Societal Impact

3. Residencies

Pro Helvetia supports residencies and research trips of Swiss designers in China, India (and other South Asian countries), Russia, Egypt (and other Arab countries) and southern Africa.

Guidelines Residencies

Pro Helvetia provides support for promising projects and/or products at each stage of their evolution:

  • A concept grant helps designers create and visualise a concept.
  • A grant for the development of a prototype helps advance the project to the stage of completed prototype.
  • A production grant facilitates the realisation of an initial product.
  • A grant for extension of the project helps participants find distribution partners, expand collections and intensify marketing measures (from 2018).

The measures described above are part of Pro Helvetia’s developed «New models of collaboration – Culture and Business» programme.

Having questions regarding the application process or our scope of promotion?

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Sylvain Gardel
Head of Design & Interactive Media

Tania Longhitano
Design & Interactive Media Specialist

Oliver Miescher
Interactive Media Specialist

Helen Muggli
Design Specialist

Mike Reaney
Interactive Media Specialist