Social Design Dictionary

Social Design

Social Design has many definitions and refers to design in its traditional sense, meaning the shaping of products and services. Other definitions refer to Social Design as the creation of social reality; design of the social world. Within the design world Social Design is sometimes defined as a design process that contributes to improving human well-being and livelihood. The idea is that designers and creative professionals have a responsibility and are able to cause real change in the world through good design. Designers can contribute to designing more ecological products by carefully selecting the materials they use. It is about designing for people’s needs rather than their wants. Designers have responsibility over the choices they make in design processes.

Social Design thinking within the design world joins developing human and social capital with new products and processes that are profitable. Profitability and ownership of the processes are the cornerstones of sustainability that underpins human well-being. It is not voluntary work but it should be seen as professional contribution that plays a part in local economic development or livelihood.



of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987)


Green consumer

Who is mindful of environment related issues and obligations, and is supportive of environmental causes to the extent of switching allegiance from one product or supplier to another even if it entails higher cost.

A customer who wants to buy things that have been produced in a way that protects the natural environment: The typical green consumer will only buy things that are environmentally friendly.



NGO – non-governmental organization

Any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group which is organized on a local, national or international level. Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions, bring citizen concerns to Governments, advocate and monitor policies and encourage political particpation through provision of information. Some are organized around specific issues, such as human rights, environment or health. They provide analysis and expertise, serve as early warning mechanisms and help monitor and implement international agreements. Their relationship with offices and agencies of the United Nations system differs depending on their goals, their venue and the mandate of a particular institution.

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