The New Designer
Rejecting Myths, Embracing Change
280 pp., 6 x 9 in
- Published: May 2, 2023
- Publisher: The MIT Press
How to develop an ethical design practice and build a better world.
The choices made by designers have a significant effect on the world. Yet so much of the discourse on design focuses on aesthetics rather than ethics. In The New Designer, acclaimed author Manuel Lima aims to change this by challenging common myths and preconceptions about what comprises good design. He argues that designers must take responsibility for the personal, societal, cultural, and environmental impact of their work, rather than simply following a standard template.
As he covers fields ranging from graphic design to industrial design to user-experience design, Lima identifies the major steps that designers must take to be a force for good in the world. Rather than sticking to outmoded ideas about perfectionism and individual genius, designers must work together to tackle some of the most challenging questions of the twenty-first century. How do you make room for humanity, with all its wondrous variations, in a society increasingly driven by metrics, algorithms, and profit? How can ecologically responsible designers consider a product's entire life cycle and look well into the future? And how can designers better respond to a community's local needs while taking advantage of global networks?
Blending approaches derived from ethics, psychology, economics, and ecology, The New Designer is a vital, field-changing treatise that will appeal to any reader who seeks to understand design's massive influence on the contemporary world.
“Truly understanding design requires both an expansive mind and a compassionate heart, qualities Manuel Lima generously brings to this important book and to our imperiled world.”
Jessica Helfand, Founding Editor, Design Observer
“Through embracing the political role of design and its systemic impact, Manuel Lima rejects the myth-driven status quo to instead reveal how to redesign design with ten powerful principles.”
Paolo Ciuccarelli, Founding Director, Center for Design, Northeastern University; coauthor of Visualizing the Data City
“Confirmation bias, perfectionism—these are things that hold designers back. The insights and tools in this book, including reflections on technology ethics and moral obligations, will allow designers to soar.”
Meredith Broussard, author of More Than a Glitch (The MIT Press)
“Designers are skillful makers of their own myths. Lima brilliantly breaks down these mythologies, offering a less heroic—and much-needed—agenda for design.”
Dietmar Offenhuber, Associate Professor, Northeastern University; author of Waste Is Information and Autographic Design (both MIT Press)