From 1986 to 1988 he was head of the specialist field “image” and as such was highly involved in the planning of the Centre of Arts and Media Technologies (ZKM), which had been established in Karlsruhe. Before he started working for the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen, Peter Zec was both president of the Federation of German Graphic Designers (BDG) and the Association of German Industrial Designers (VDID).
In 1993, he accepted a professorship of Business Communication at the University of Applied Sciences Berlin, where he lectured and conducted examinations for the following 17 years. In that period, he also took over the lead of the Design Zentrum’s longstanding design contest, and changed its direction from merely German to world-wide entries. In 2000, Peter Zec re-named the competition to “Red Dot Design Award”, which since is recognised as one of the largest and most prestigious awards for product and communication design.
All Red Dot winners are presented in a special place: The Red Dot Award is the only design competition which is running its own museums. Peter Zec took the decision in 1995 to move the Design Zentrum to an old industrial area in Germany’s Ruhr region. The Red Dot Design Museum Essen was opened in 1997. Its 2,000 award-winning objects represent the world’s largest exhibition of contemporary design. The building is part of the former coal mine and now UNESCO world heritage Zollverein.
From 2005 to 2007, Zec was president of the international umbrella organisation of design Icsid (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design) and from 2006 to 2007 chairman of the International Design Alliance IDA, thus holding the highest official posts in the design world. As a former Icsid president, he holds the rank of a Senator and is consulted on all important issues concerning the association.
For over 25 years, Peter Zec has been working as a design consultant with numerous companies in foreign countries. He has gained world-wide recognition with lectures in more than 30 countries. In October 2006, the largest German magazine for economics, the “WirtschaftsWoche“ (“BusinessWeek), elected Peter Zec one of the “20 creative unconventional thinkers worldwide changing the appearance of their companies and creating completely new markets”. On 12 May 2016 he will be honoured as “Kopf des Jahres” (Brain of the Year) by the Marketing Club Ruhr for his services to the region.
As an expert on the German as well as the international design scene he is the publisher of the Red Dot Design Yearbook and the International Yearbook Communication Design. He has published the following books among others: Informationsdesign (1988), Design goes virtual! (1996), German Design Standards (1997; 2005), Designing Success (1999), Good Design. (2000), Orientierung im Raum (2002), Hall of Fame. Companies Searching for Excellence in Design (2003; 2007), Return on Ideas – Better by Design (2006), Who’s Who in Design (2003; 2007), The Design Value – a Strategy for Business Success (2010).
Peter Zec lives in Essen and Berlin.