Summer 2009

It is time to design our way out of the world’s problems

Do Good Design: How Designers Can Change the World

By David B. Berman. Forewords by Erik Spiekermann, Min Wang and Ric Grefé
New Riders, in association with AIGA Design Press, £15.99

Designers create much of what the world sees, wants, buys, uses and experiences. At this time of unprecedented environmental, social and economic crises, should we be creating the deceptions that encourage continuous consumption or figuring out a way to help counter it?

‘Designers have enormous power to influence how we see our world, and how we live our lives,’ writes Canadian designer David Berman in Do Good Design (the word ‘design’ is struck through to read ‘do good’). In a slim but powerful volume, he lights the way with his cogent manifesto – a persuasive biographical telling of his coming of age as a creative practitioner and subsequent transformation (he sold his successful graphic design practice in 2000) into passionate advocate for redefining the role of the designer in an ailing and debilitated world. Berman’s main thesis is: ‘Rather than sharing our cycles of style, consumption, and chemical addictions, designers can use their professional power, persuasive skills, and wisdom to help distribute ideas that the world really needs: health information, conflict resolution, tolerance, technology, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, human rights, democracy …’

[This is an edited extract from Eye 72. To order the full, printed magazine click the online shop button or ‘Subscribe’.]

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