1st Edition

Design for Sustainability A Multi-level Framework from Products to Socio-technical Systems

By Fabrizio Ceschin, İdil Gaziulusoy Copyright 2020
    188 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    186 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book discusses the most significant ways in which design has been applied to sustainability challenges using an evolutionary perspective. It puts forward an innovation framework that is capable of coherently integrating multiple design for sustainability (DfS) approaches developed so far.

    It is now widely understood that design can and must play a crucial role in the societal transformations towards sustainability. Design can in fact act as a catalyst to trigger and support innovation, and can help to shape the world at different levels: from materials to products, product–service systems, social organisations and socio-technical systems. This book offers a unique perspective on how DfS has evolved in the past decades across these innovation levels, and provides insights on its promising and necessary future development directions.

    For design scholars, this book will trigger and feed the academic debate on the evolution of DfS and its next research frontiers. For design educators, the book can be used as a supporting tool to design courses and programmes on DfS. For bachelor’s and master’s level design, engineering and management students, the book can be a general resource to provide an understanding of the historical evolution of DfS. For design practitioners and businesses, the book offers a rich set of practical examples, design methods and tools to apply the various DfS approaches in practice, and an innovation framework which can be used as a tool to support change in organisations that aim to integrate DfS in their strategy and processes.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9780429456510, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.


    1. Addressing sustainability by design 

    2. Green design and product ecodesign 

    3. Emotionally durable design 

    4. Design for sustainable behaviour 

    5. Cradle-to-cradle design 

    6. Biomimicry Design 

    7. Product-service system design for sustainability 

    8. Design for the base of the pyramid 

    9. Design for social innovation 

    10. Systemic design 

    11. Design for sustainability transitions 

    12. Reflections on the past, present and future of DfS


    Fabrizio Ceschin is Senior Lecturer in Design for Sustainability at Brunel University London, UK

    İdil Gaziulusoy is Assistant Professor of Sustainable Design at Aalto University, Finland

    "This book is a map. It describes the territory on which, until now, sustainability and design have met. But not only this. Like all maps, it also allows us to trace a path: what design will have to follow to contribute to building a sustainable society. And to do it with the needed urgency."Ezio Manzini, Honorary Professor at the Politecnico di Milano, Italy, Chair Professor of Design for Social Innovation at the University of the Arts London, UK, and founder of Design for Social Innovation for Sustainability network (DESIS)

    "Ceschin and Gaziulusoy’s book is an impressive contribution to the maturing area of design for sustainability. It provides a comprehensive overview of the field’s evolution in both scholarship and practice via pedagogical and practical examples. In my view, it should be required reading for all design sustainability researchers, students and practitioners."Terry Irwin, Professor of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, USA

    "With their book Design for Sustainability the authors, Fabrizio Ceschin and Idil Gaziulusoy, set the first world standard for what should be the essential soul and driver of the design sciences. An absolute must for all students, scientists, designers, industries, policy makers and engaged citizens who want the world to be a better place, building on creative industry science and practices."Han Brezet, Emeritus Professor of Design for Sustainability TU Delft, Netherlands, Professor of Next Practices, Aalborg University, Denmark

    "Ceschin and Gaziulusoy map the messy terrain of design for sustainability. They provide practical and scholarly guidance for the sustainability expedition no designer can ignore. They share means and examples for designers to address sustainability from multiple angles and liberate them from believing in isolated and incremental improvements."Turkka Keinonen, Professor of Design, Aalto University, Finland

    "The need to design our way out of our climate and biodiversity emergency has never been so evident and so pressing. The world we have designed is unsustainable – socially, culturally, economically, technologically and ecologically. This book, reviewing decades of sustainable design methods and approaches will be an essential guide for practitioners and students drawn to the urgent process of designing a new future."Chris Ryan, Professor of Urban Eco-innovation, University of Melbourne, Australia

    "The transition towards a sustainable society calls for radical changes, questioning the whole current development model. And this change must begin now! A piece of good news is that very promising alternatives exist. A second piece of good news is that we know design can play a role on different levels; and we even know how. But there is a challenging journey ahead of us. I believe this book it is a key contribution, by clearly highlighting all the potential interventions where designers can take action now, as well as identifying promising new areas of research. My sincere thanks to Fabrizio and Idil for their great work!"Carlo Vezzoli, Professor of Design, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

    "This book shines a light on where designers are and where we’ve been. Our next task is to transform this knowledge and uncover a new relationship with the earth."Kate Fletcher, Professor of Sustainability Design & Fashion, University of the Arts London, UK

    "After about three decades, in which the design approach to sustainability evolved in many directions, the authors propose the first comprehensive map to navigate design strategies and approaches on different logical levels and dimensions. A solid ground to explore the future avenues for research, education and practice."Nicola Morelli, Professor of Design, Aalborg University, Denmark

    "This book is a truly instructive reading to clarify and update our knowledge about design for sustainability. More than this, it is extremely useful to frame our intellectual and practical approach to designing, since it raises awareness about the strengths and limits of each method."Anna Meroni, Professor of Design, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

    "This is a must-read book for all those looking for a comprehensive understanding on the epistemology of approaches on DfS. It is definitely a book that fulfills a void on the field. The various "tribes" on design for sustainability will find in this book a knowledge map that will enable them to put into perspective their own knowledge and identify the various inter-connections on the field and, hopefully, open-up minds to the larger set of possibilities at their disposal."Aguinaldo dos Santos, Professor of Design, Federal University of Paraná, Brazil

    "This book is authoritative and comprehensive - it is a welcome contribution to academic discourse in the field of Design for Sustainability. The authors have highlighted important milestones within the geopolitical and pedagogic domains informing developments in DfS, especially the socio-technical influences of DfS on the expanded field of industrial design." Mugendi M'Rithaa, President Emeritus World Design Organization (WDO), Professor of Industrial Design, Machakos University, Kenya

    "This book provides a truly comprehensive overview of the domain of design for sustainability from products, to product service systems and socio-technical systems. It is unique by bringing together theory, design methods and tools, and examples, as well as reflection on their benefits and limitations. I foresee that this book will become the gold standard for introducing design for sustainability in design education and practice. It easily navigates the reader through the history and different levels of design for sustainability. This is definitely the way forward to make design for sustainability happen!"Jan Carel Diehl, Associate Professor of Design for Sustainability, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands