The Role of the Designer as Moral Intermediary
by Nick Gregory
In Peter-Paul Verbeek’s “Materializing Morality: Design Ethics and Technological Mediation,” the author argues that designed technology shapes both the way that we interact with the world and the way that we perceive the world. He defines technological mediation as “the role of technology in human action (conceived as the ways in which human beings are present in their world) and human experience (conceived as the ways in which their world is present to them).” In summary, designed objects affect us through mediation of perception and mediation of action.
Technology can shape the way that we perceive the world. mediating our perception of anything and everything. Objects such as glasses modify the way in which we see the world in a literal sense. A thermometer “establishes a relationship between humans and reality in terms of temperature.” These objects are tools that give us insight into situations that we previously may not have had....
by Amanda Nguyen
Like any citizen, all actions of a designer impact others and they must be professionally, culturally, and socially responsible for their impact. Victor Margolin, co-editor of Design Issues, suggests that in a world of emerging manufacturing technologies, communication networks, and global marketing structures, designers can affect social change by embracing activism and entrepreneurship (Sisson).
Designers are promoting conversation and social change through their work at a local level. such as Skillet Gilmore’s “Shame Pat McCrory” banners to fight against HB2 and Kevin Lyons’ Raleigh mural in collaboration with the anti-smoking campaign, Truth. “Design activism” has disrupted the world of design by empowering designers to be a part of a movement for social change, explore answers to problems in the community, and change their role as designers.
Design as a vehicle for social change
In 2012, a graphic design conference in Belgrade, Serbia, called “Graphic Designer: Author or Universal Soldier.” underscored the idea that designers need to produce content beyond...
Public Interest Design in Transition
by Lauren Krutchen
“The human backside is a dimension architects seem to have forgotten,” said William H. Whyte, a well-known American urbanist (“William H. Whyte”). Whyte is describing how, historically, architects failed to include human perspective in their designs. However, Whyte, and a handful of other designers, realize that the most important goal of a design is that it responds to the needs of the people and communities it’s made for. Public interest design is a human-centered practice that enables designers to serve specific needs in communities, with an emphasis on social, economical, and environmental developments (“Public Interest Design”). It relies on a participatory approach of community development in which designers assess the needs and resources existing within a community and involve citizens in the process of “putting creative abilities to practical use to improve communities,” according to Bryan Bell, architect and founder of Design Corps (“Bryan Bell, AIA”). Public interest design got its start in 1968...