Posted to the Ethnos Project by on April 6th, 2012

Foreword by William Drenttel | Illustrations by Ellen Lupton
Available now | Paperback, 160 pages, 146 color illustrations

About the Book

From the back cover: “Some call it design for the greater good. Others call it social design. Whatever you call it, it’s clear that an altruistic impulse is on the rise in the design community. The latest addition to our Design Briefs series, Designing for Social Change, is a compact, hands-on primer for graphic designers who want to use their unique problem-solving skills to help others. Author Andrew Shea presents ten proven strategies for working effectively with community organizations. These strategies can frame the design challenge and create a checklist to keep a project on track. Twenty case studies illustrate how design professionals and students approach unique challenges when working on a social agenda.”

“This essential guide provides design educators with a valuable teaching resource and professionals with a set of tools to use in their practice. A chapter on grassroots funding solutions can aid designers as they take on their own projects.”

The book includes 20 case studies from design educators and practitioners. Each project features design details, strategies, and reflections from designers about what they learned from their collaborations.


Contributors include DesignMatters Art Center (Los Angeles), PIECE Studio (Minneapolis), Kansas City Art Institute (Kasans City), Design Trust for Public Space (NYC), Firebelly Design (Chicago), Herron School of Art and Design (Indianapolis), Virginia Commonwealth University, Mende Design (San Francisco), Feast (NYC), Moving Design (Chicago), MTWTF (NYC), PieLab (Alabama), Center for Urban Pedagogy (NYC), Rise and Shine Studio (San Francisco), Go Welsh (Lancaster, PA), Design Rebels (Virginia Commonwealth University), Brute Labs (San Francisco), Center for Design Practice (Maryland Institute College of Art), Sunday SOUP (Chicago), and Canary Projects (NYC) among others.

Ten strategies are distilled from the 20 case studies and from research into a diverse group of disciplines including political activism, social work, business, and design. Ilustrations by Ellen Lupton accompany each of the strategies.


Designing for Social Change is part of Princeton Architectural Press’ Design Brief series. As they describe the series on their website, “These affordable, beautifully designed and produced books are ideal points of inspiration for both students and seasoned practitioners who want an overview of the fundamentals of design, and to learn new ideas about how far a strong understanding of the basics can take you.

The last chapter in the book features sustainable funding strategies from designers who successfully won grants, raised money for personal projects, or started a design practice that was dedicated to making a positive impact.


Andrew Shea is a graphic designer and writer. He has taught graphic design at Maryland Institute College of Art, Fordham University, and currently teaches at Parsons The New School for Design. His writing has appeared on Designer’s Review of Books and Core77. Contact Andrew to learn more about the book, collaborate on a project, or to say hi.


Read what others are saying about the book:

Fast Company World-Changing Brand Design That Works: 5 Case Studies

Core 77 GOOD Maker Challenge wants YOU!

Design Observer Designing for Social Change

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