I.D. was founded in 1954 as Industrial Design. The name was later abbreviated to an initialism; in the 1980s the initials came to stand for International Design to reflect the magazine's broadened scope. Since 1954, the magazine has published the Annual Design Review, a juried design competition curated by I.D. staff and industry practitioners.
I.D. has won five National Magazine Awards: three for General Excellence (1995, 1997, 1999), one for Design (1997), and one for Special Interests (2000).