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Design, the Future & the Human Spirit Victor Margolin. Designers can work for the Public Good Designers ‘ responsibility to contribute in constructive way Ways designers can contribute ? Prescriptive Scenarios. Design for Socially Responsible Behavior Tromp, Kekkert , Verbeek.

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design the future the human spirit victor margolin
Design, the Future & the Human SpiritVictor Margolin
  • Designers can work for the Public Good
  • Designers ‘ responsibility to contribute in constructive way
  • Ways designers can contribute?
  • Prescriptive Scenarios
design for socially responsible behavior tromp kekkert verbeek
Design for Socially Responsible BehaviorTromp, Kekkert, Verbeek

Principle argument: Designers can facilitate

Individual concerns to align with Collective concerns

to act based on the larger Public Good

  • Intervention methods: Can change, User determines category

1. Coerce

2. Persuade

3. Seduce

4. Decisive

Strategies Based on Individual Concerns- pp 13-17


“In the 1960s I saw graphic design as a noble endeavor, integral to larger planning, architectural and social issues.

Aspen Design Conference

1966, Paul Rand


What I realized in the 1970s, when I was doing major corporate identity projects, is that design had become a preoccupation with what things look like rather than with what they mean.

  • Citicorp, Citibank Identification Program,
  • AnspachGrossman Portugal
  • 1975

What designers were doing was creating visual identities for other people - not unlike the work of fashion stylists, political image consultants or plastic surgeons.

  • Eye Bee M poster
  • Paul Rand
  • 1981

We had become experts who suggest how other people can project a visual impression that reflects who they think they are.

P Rand 1956-1985


And we have deceived ourselves into thinking that the modernization service we supply has the same integrity as service to the public good. Modernism forfeited its claim to a moral authority when designers sold it away as corporate style.

PRand, 1985


“He invented the term Radical Modernism to distance himself from both the formal constraints of Modernism and the post modern label.”

TM Magazine Cover

DF, 1972


”a reaffirmation

of the idealistic roots

of our modernity,

adjusted to include

more of our diverse

culture, history, research,

and fantasy."

1994, D Friedman

House Interior, DF @ 1978


“His approach is eminently reasonable

and certainlyresponds

to the mix of tastes, styles,

and ethnicities,

that have asserted a

presence withinour

emerging vision

of global culture.”

V Margolin

House Interior, DF @ 1978


“…design was in crisis and urged designers to see their work in a larger cultural context…”

3 Mile Island, painted lamp w found objects,

DF @ 1985

projects of optimism dan friedman
  • Live & work with passion & responsibility.
  • Try to express personal, spiritual, & domestic values even if our culture continues to be dominated by corporate, marketing, & institutional values.
  • Choose to remain progressive; don’t be regressive. Find comfort in the past only if it expands insight into the future, & not just for the sake of nostalgia.
  • Embrace the richness of all cultures; be inclusive instead of exclusive.

Think of your work as a significant element in the context of a more important, transcendental purpose.

  • Use your work to become advocates of projects for the public good.
  • Attempt to become a cultural provocateur; be a leader rather than a follower.

Engage in self-restraint; accept the challenge of working with reduced expectations & diminished resources.

  • Avoid getting stuck in corners, such as being a servant to increasing overhead, careerism, or narrow points of view.
  • Bridge the boundaries that separate us from other creative professions & unexpected possibilities.

Use the new technologies, but don’t be seduced into thinking that they provide answers to fundamental questions.

  • Be radical.

*p 209, Radical Modernism

Logo for exhibit: Radical Modernism, Moore College of Art &

Design, 1994, Philadelphia


“Premature specialization

in schools perpetuates

a similar isolation in practice and works against

the hybridization

that is increasingly desirable in real professions.”

  • Does it Make Sense, Design quarterly. April Greiman, 1986