Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.”
-Robert L. Peters

Regardless of the field, design is at once a call to create newness and an artifact of the culture in which it resides. But, can they be separated? And if so, when and how do we as designers decide it’s time to consider a deviation from the cultural norms that we inhabit?

Design has long been charged with imagining a more desirable future, of being in the vanguard of new, creative frontiers. As designers it is our job to question, to identify problems, and to create better solutions within the confines of established systems. Precedents such as Modernism and the Bauhaus and the rules of frictionless UX Design and simplicity seem to rule all. Once these systems are in place, they seem to be immutable. However, it is imperative that designers do not stop questioning their necessity.

In addition, these systems act within the larger context of market demand, mass communication, and cultural norms. We are at a crossroads of reflection and action with ‘Design thinking’ as the new buzzword in nearly every discipline. Designers must take steps to usher in new systems that are more inclusive, thoughtful, and responsible. From politics to finances to conservation to transportation and housing, how can design incite action that highlights responsible human ingenuity and beauty?

The time is ripe for a rebellion. In Volume 39, we want to explore our roles as designers in enacting social change and to explore the uprising against systems as they pertain to design to move society in a direction of inclusivity, equality, and originality.

  • What systems does Design currently operate? How are they shifting within today’s uncertainty?
  • What is the role of Design in affecting social change? What is its role in building, shaping, and breaking down edifices?
  • Can we disrupt and break the systems of Capitalism, of racism, of sexism, of ageism, of ableism? And yet, how have we enabled them?
  • What happens when the once agreed upon systems begin to crumble?
  • How has the rise of freelancers and tech startups changed the norms of operation? How can Designers capitalize on that movement?
  • How can we adopt reflexive attitudes to ensure that we are designing experiences in both the digital and physical world?

Designers must ask: is it possible to create new futures within the confines of our current systems? Or does a more desirable future call for rebellion?  What happens when the design community becomes provoked, stirred, and ready to disrupt the norm?

We’re ready to Rebel – are you?



This journal will have a print and an online component. The online component will be open-­source, so as to be accessible to as many design students, educators and practitioners as possible. The print version will be sold at a nominal cost to libraries, design schools and whomever might want to get their hands on it. Our goal is to generate a publication that presents contemporary and emerging perspectives on the way that we design, think, and learn. To that end, we invite a variety of types of submissions, including but not limited to:

  • Personal reflections as essays, interviews, letters, or poetry / prose
  • Interviews: Via Skype, Phone or Text (email, text or Google Doc) that will be printed verbatim
  • Case Studies
  • Critical essays that question / expand our current thinking

We also invite a variety of media, including but not limited to:

  • Traditional Essays (Between 500-2000 words)
  • Interview (Via Skype, email, or in person)
  • Visual Essays (Maximum of 20 images + captions): Images of visual projects with captions. These might take the form of case studies, project evaluations or explanations or an experiment in visual narrative.
  • Micro Essays (100-250 words): Shorter essay option for contributors. We envision these as provocations, reflections, inquiries or introductory examinations.
  • Videos (with clear transference to print-­based medium)
  • Co-Authored Essay or Project

We welcome both new and republished work. If re-published, we ask you, the contributor, to write a nominal section to introduce and situate the contribution specifically within the current theme of The Student Publication.

The word count is a maximum of 2000 words for texts, but we encourage a wide range of contribution lengths.

Open Call Submission and Peer Review Process:

There are two possible channels for publication: print and online. We invite contributions of all types (as listed above.) We will employ a double-blind peer review process for the abstracts. The  final contributions will be evaluated by the Publication editors for content and alignment with the overall theme.

Format for final submission

Written essays can be submitted in Microsoft Word. All images, captions and attributes (copyright, etc.) should be submitted with the final draft as high resolution .tif or .jpeg files. Please indicate within the text document where the images should align.


This is a publication aimed at design students, practitioners and educators across disciplines. We imagine (and hope) that the topics and writings will also be compelling to anyone interested in the role of creative practice and process.

***e-mail submissions to

**Please submit all abstracts as Microsoft Word documents and make sure that your name does not appear anywhere in the document.