18 February 2013

Just Design

Written by Published in Book Reviews

Socially Conscious Design for Critical Causes

Just Design by Christopher SimmonsJust Design presents the reader with three options on how to view the state of the world: Pessimism (‘We’re screwed’), Delusion (‘Whatever’) or Optimism (‘It’s possible to figure this out’).

Bridging the gap between the two most common types of design books, the lavish visual catalogue and the academic tome of a text, this book is designed to be read as well as looked at. It aims to be a stimulating nudge for designers to become problem-solvers in the great challenge of figuring out how to live on this lush planet we call home. 

It is peppered with straight talking, yet funny quotes and campaigns abound. Take, for example, the quote from Joel Makower: ‘Sustainability is like teenage sex … Everyone says they’re doing it, but no one is doing it well’.

Other examples are ‘Build-a-Beard’ for charity and Replate, a campaign to place unwanted leftovers in doggie bags on top of San Francisco’s trash cans and the Echo Park Time Travel Mart with the slogan ‘Whenever you are, we’re already then.’

It is time to tackle the bigger picture and use design to look, be and do good. Just Design manages to encourage this without being preachy or asserting the illusion that all designers should set off on a crusade to save the world through design. What it does is celebrate the best of cause-based design. 

Split into sections such as Supporting, Organising and Celebrating, the book covers designs from the very low-budget to the extremely well funded. It is indeed a contribution to socially conscious design for critical causes.

The author, Christopher Simmons, is a designer, writer, educator, design advocate and principal of the noted San Francisco design office MINE TM.

Just Design: Socially Conscious Design for Critical Causes by Christopher C. H. Simmons (How Books) £34.99


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