Alice Rawsthorn – Design Emergency

Alice Rawsthorn

Design Critic and Author of Design Emergency

From The Conference August 29, 2022

“Design is an agent of change which can help us make sense of what is happening and turn it to our advantage. Design has done this long before word has been invented to describe it.”

How can we approach an everyday challenge as a design project? How can people use design for activism? What is the potential of design as a tool for societal change? How can people working as professional designers work with all of us as co-designers of the future?

In her optimistic keynote session, Alice Rawsthorn describes multiple examples from her books “Design Emergency” and “Design as an Attitude'' that illustrate design as a way to respond to unforeseen circumstances and illustrate human tragedy. If design is being used responsively, empathically and intelligently, it can be a catalyst for positive change, reconstruct our lives and spark hope.

One of her most recent examples is a group of graphic designers that are hacking road signs in the Ukraine to disrupt transportation - and world community awareness - of war. They repurposed highway signs to mislead Russian soldiers by showing the only destination as “the Hague” - the seat of the International Court of Crimes against humanity. 

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