1st Edition

Design for Life Creating Meaning in a Distracted World

By Stuart Walker Copyright 2017
    296 Pages
    by Routledge

    296 Pages
    by Routledge

    Stuart Walker’s design work has been described as life-changing, inspiring, disturbing and ferocious.

    Drawing on an extraordinarily diverse range of sources and informed by creative practice, Design for Life penetrates to the heart of modern culture and the malaise that underlies today’s moral and environmental crises.

    The author argues that this malaise is deep-seated and fundamental to the modern outlook. He shows how our preoccupation with technological progress, growth and the future has produced a constricted view of life – one that is both destructive and self-reinforcing.

    Based on over twenty-five years of scholarship and creative practice, he demonstrates the vital importance of solitude, contemplation, inner growth and the present moment in developing a different course – one that looks squarely at our current, precarious situation while offering a positive, hopeful way forward – a way that is compassionate, context-based, human scale, ethically motivated and critically creative.

    Design for Life is an intensely original contribution that will be essential reading for design practitioners and students. Written in a clear, accessible style, it will also appeal to a broader readership, especially anyone who is concerned with contemporary society’s rising inequalities and environmental failings and is looking for a more constructive, balanced and thoughtful direction.

    Prologue  1. The Subject of Design: personal involvement and positive change  2. A Narrowing: loss of narrative unity and the nature of design change  3. Counterpoints: restoring balance through design  4. The Shift: an inward path to holistic design  5. Creativity: and the imperative of solitude  6. The Mesh: freeing design from dominant dogmas  7. Rhythms: movement, making and meaning  8. Seeds: designing for a new awareness  Appendices 1. CONFESIÓN – relic from a future past  2. Listening to the Muse – a personal reflection  3. The Inadequacies of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)  4. Related Websites  Notes  Bibliography  Index


    Stuart Walker is Professor of Design for Sustainability at Lancaster University, UK. His design work has been exhibited in Australia, Canada, Italy and the UK, including the Design Museum, London. His numerous books include Sustainable by Design, The Spirit of Design and Designing Sustainability, also published by Routledge.

    'Design for Life is full of brilliantly original thinking and practical guidance for building a better world. It offers a framework for designers and consumers alike and makes a more meaningful material culture feel possible.' Sebastian Cox, Designer and Maker, Director, Sebastian Cox studio & workshop

    'This book adopts a wholly new approach to design, one that gets right to its heart. Rooted in values, beliefs and creativity it adopts a rhetorical approach to its subject, blurring the boundary between designing and thinking about design.' - Penny Sparke, Professor of Design History, Kingston University

    'Brimming throughout with intelligence and curiosity, this deeply rooted, powerful book shapes design around the processes of life.' - Kate Fletcher, Professor of Sustainability, Design, Fashion, University of the Arts London

    'Both contents and narratives are impressive. This book interprets design in a unique way, and the key clue is its glorious humanism. It is the foundation of design’s new missions, new roles and new approaches, in this changing era.' - Yongqi Lou, Professor and Dean, College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University, Shanghai

    'In this stunning book, Stuart Walker’s sensibility explores deep and complex dimensions of design thinking and doing, shedding light on the role of intentions, priorities and values.' - Maria Cecilia Loschiavo dos Santos, Professor of Design, University of São Paulo

    'Our society expects and needs a new wisdom for developing our lives in more meaningful ways. In this book, Stuart Walker opens the door for dialogue on wisdom in design. It is a wisdom permeated by creativity, the human imagination, intuition and comprehension.' - Takeshi Sunaga, Professor of Design, Tokyo University of the Arts

    'Stuart Walker's emphasis on reflection and values brings a welcome dimension to the design process. He stresses personal vision as a way of contributing to design's capacity to make the world a better place.' - Victor Margolin, Professor Emeritus of Design History, University of Illinois, Chicago

    'He offers an authoritative account with a voice developed through experience and the knowhow acquired while treading the line between theoretical research and design practice.'- Matt Malpass, Programme Coordinator, Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London