Category Archives: Activism: big picture

ethical oath: architecture (part 3 of 3)

Architects are typically licensed professionals, which means that they subscribe to a code of ethics as part of the licensing process. (I examined and wrote about a range of codes of ethics of design associations for my book, The Designer’s Atlas of Sustainability). Although a recent article in Dwell magazine about the merits of architecturalContinue Reading

ethical oath: product/industrial design (pt 2 of 3)

In the previous post I introduced the idea of a form of hippocratic oath for designers, and shared some examples of how the medical hippocratic oath has been adapted for landscape, lighting, graphic, and UX (user experience) design. In this post I turn our attention to product designers. Several practitioners and design observers have ponderedContinue Reading

An ethical “oath” for designers? (pt 1 of 3)

Before getting down to business, a quick reminder that I would like to get your input on design activism, through the short survey found here: (you can enter to win a drawing for an Amazon gift voucher.) In this series of 3 posts, I explore the notion of a “Hippocratic oath” for designers. RecallContinue Reading

7 questions about “the harvest”

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been working on a big project to help designers understand and use design as activism. It’s harvest time for this project and I’m getting ready to share the juicy results, but I need your help. Would you answer seven questions for me? Your input could help makeContinue Reading

Design for social impact-is it activism?

Have you been reading some of the interesting stuff about design for social impact? For example, The School for Visual Arts has recently finished up its summer workshop, “!mpact: Design for Social Change” which introduces participants to “the growing field of design for social advocacy.” One of the particularly interesting projects there was an effortContinue Reading

legitimate causes

Happy new year to all. Sorry I’ve been away from the blog a little longer than usual in the transition to the new year. During this period I’ve been thinking a lot about the question of legitimate causes for activists to pursue. This is a question that concerns designers, but others as well. From myContinue Reading

climate action day – the link to abstract policy

I am a few days late on the climate action blog post (action day was the 16th October). I want to divide this post into two parts. First if you’re just becoming aware or trying to inform yourself about climate issues. Second if you’re already active on climate issues.  In the first case, and onContinue Reading

how do design activists cope with fear, risk, and danger?

I’ve heard a lot recently about how those of us working on social change issues, from climate change to health care, should avoid trying to scare people into change. We shouldn’t be fear mongers. Object Orange, a Detroit group highlights abandoned, often crime ridden houses by painting them orange But a couple of recent episodesContinue Reading

Dear Readers: status of this blog

Dear Readers, I’ve been away from the blog for about a month now due to a few large projects on deadline. In that time I’ve reflected on the role and purpose of this blog. I assume that many of you, like me, scan some of the mainstream design and perhaps even sustainability blogs. It doesn’tContinue Reading

Comments on the US National Design Policy initiative

[addendum to this post: there was further discussion of this issue on a  discussion list focused on design research. I was prompted to write more about the national design policy in response to that discussion, from my social movement/activism perspective. The archive of the whole discussion is here. ] On January 5th a group calledContinue ReadingContinue Reading