Design as Common Good Online Conference | 25-26 March 2021
Logics of social design by Lucy Kimbell
Social Design Institute, University of the Arts London
Abstract | This paper examines how different institutional social design forms relate to achieving the common good. This paper attempts this using a form of analysis called institutional logics which sees organisational action as existing in a social and institutional context, which shapes organisational and individual behaviours. The paper distinguishes three social design logics embedded within contemporary design in western European and North American contexts: innovation-austerity, deliberation-pluralism and anticipationutopia, each with a distinct mission, basis of legitimacy, professional identity, emblematic objects and practices, forms of organisation, socialisation mechanisms and strategies. It takes the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a definition of what the common good might look like, and outlines how the three logics play out in relation to them. By so doing, the paper shows there are varied instantiations of professional design acting towards the common good with distinct modes of operation, and sets out directions for future research.