The organization was formally established in 1965 by the collaborative merger of the Industrial Designers Institute (IDI), the American Society of Industrial Designers (ASID), and the Industrial Designers Education Association (IDEA). However, its origins can be traced back to the 1920s, prior to the founding in 1938 of the American Design Institute (ADI), which was the predecessor of IDI. Its first chairman was John Vassos and its first president was Henry Dreyfuss.
The society publishes a quarterly journal, Innovation, in which Klaus Krippendorff coined the term "product semantics" in his 1984 article "Exploring the Symbolic Qualities of Form", as well as books such as Design Secrets: Products: 50 Real-Life Projects Uncovered.
- Industrial Designers Society of America. IDSA Overview. idsa.org
- Dubofsky, Melvyn (ed.) (2013). The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Business, Labor, and Economic History, p. 369. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199738815
- Sheumaker, Helen and Wajda, Shirley Teresa (2008). Material Culture in America: Understanding Everyday Life, p. 257. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1576076474
- Krippendorff, Klaus (2004). The Semantic Turn: A New Foundation for Design, p. 1. CRC Press. ISBN 0203299957
- Heskett, John (2005). Design: A Very Short Introduction, p. 138. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0192854461
- The Southeast Missourian (11 August 199). "1991 Dodge Neon Wins Award From Industrial Design Society of America", p. 3E. Retrieved 21 June 2014.