This paper presents the design of an infrared display consisting of an array of small, thermally-emitting elements, capable of displaying a wide variety of IR targets and scenes, and operating as an IR equivalent of a flat TV screen. Elements are fabricated on a silicon substrate using an anisotropic etching technique. An electronic device, either a diode or a pair of transistors, is fabricated with each emitting element to enable the electrical excitation of arbitrarily chosen individual elements without requiring a separate leadout for each element. The display can be operated in a wide range of environments, including cryogenic, vacuum conditions. The design and fabrication of the device are presented in this paper, and a companion paper l will present test results on preliminary versions of the device.