Design Reformation

Design Reformation

Return to our roots.

Types of Social Design

Today I came across the following content in Social Design Report, which is possibly the best explanation of the branches of social design that I've encountered thus far.


Three Distinctive Accounts of Social Design in HEIs

Within this ‘discursive moment’ and within HEI activities, a range of approaches to social design are have become discernible. Arguably, the most distinctive are as follows:

  1. Design for Social Innovation involves expert design contributions that help to identify, support and develop opportunities for amplifying changing social practices (Jégou and Manzini 2008). It includes working closely with participants to explore everyday activities and outlooks, and to develop design responses through prototyping, implementation and evaluation.

  2. Socially Responsive Design is less programmatic in its methods than design for social innovation. Here, the axes of the ‘T-shaped’ designer -- who has a breadth of understanding of different related fields and a deep knowledge of the technical and processual elements of design -- are reversed. Instead, they are experts in particular knowledge domains -- such as health, crime or local government -- but bring a designerly understanding to them (Gamman and Torpe 2011).

  3. Design Activism is more explicit in its political intentions than the two previous categories. It includes the creation of artefacts and experiences associated with political discussion and protest, but also results in designs that intervene into everyday lives while raising political consciousness concerning collective challenges (Markusson 2013, Julier 2013). It usually sits outside commercial or governmental structures and works through settings such as grassroots activities, community action or pressure groups.

Sharon Kongquote, social design