Author: Angus Donald Campbell
“This article intends to add to the current professional and academic design discourse on participation in a complex and highly networked society, with particular relevance to ethical, political, and power inequalities. The exploration of lay designers adds to Ezio Manzini’s recent book that introduces social innovation as a process of “design[ing], when everybody designs.” In the milieu of diffuse and expert design, Manzini challenges contemporary designers by reminding them that they “find themselves in a world where everybody designs and where, as we have seen, their task tends to be to use their own initiatives to help a variegated array of social actors to design better.” This article seeks to highlight the importance of the lay designer, specifically within marginalized communities, and challenges professional designers to shift their gaze beyond human-centered design to those who design without a formal title. It takes up Manzini’s challenge by exploring how professional designers can bring about more authentic change by supporting the efforts of those designing on the margins. This is of particular relevance to contemporary professional designers who face worldwide economic and environmental unsustainability”.