Founder of Red Dot

Prof. Dr. Peter Zec

Professor Dr. Peter Zec is the Founder and CEO of Red Dot. In 1991, he took over at the helm of Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen, which had been hosting a design competition since as early as 1955. Peter Zec developed what had until then been a national competition, transforming it into an international platform for the evaluation of design. He established its global gearing and expanded the Red Dot brand.

In 2005, Peter Zec became President of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (“Icsid”, now known as the “World Design Organization”) and initiated the “World Design Capital” programme. Still today, the programme awards the title of “World Design Capital” to cities that deserve special recognition in terms of good design. In 2006, German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche selected him as one of the “20 creative lateral thinkers who changed the face of their companies or created entirely new markets”, while Marketing Club Ruhr awarded him the title of “Head of the Year” in 2016. In the same year, he was awarded honorary citizenship of the City of Seoul for his work on behalf of the South Korean capital.


Before joining Design Zentrum, Peter Zec was head of the “Visual” department at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, worked as Managing Director of the Bund Deutscher Graphik-Designer (Association of German Graphic Designers) and of the Verband Deutscher Industriedesigner (Association of German Industrial Designers). In 1993 he accepted a Professorship for Business Communication Management at the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft (University of Applied Sciences) in Berlin, where he taught for 17 years.

After more than 25 years at the head of Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen, Peter Zec is more actively integrated than ever in the world of design – as Managing Partner, author and editor as well as the host of the Red Dot Gala. In addition, he is a sought-after advisor and speaker on all of the world’s continents who consistently emphasises, recognises and respects the value of good design.

In August 2019 Peter Zec was awarded the Cross of Merit on Ribbon of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his decades of commitment to design culture.