Citizen Designer - Book of the Year, 2003 in the design bookshelf
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Citizen Designer

Perspectives on Design Responsibility

Edited by Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne
Best of 2003

Citizen Designer
It doesn't matter how much this book costs...
it's required reading
for all visual and graphic
in today's world!

Citizen Designer Perspectives on Design Responsibility What makes this book so special is that it brings back conscience to the design profession. In today's world with all the sensitive issues, the designer sits behind the wheel of a powerful vehicle -- the vehicle of public opinion. Designers do influence people. They influence them in ways few people are aware of... in the products we buy, in the signs we see and in the media we watch. We have to continually reexamine what it means to be a designer in a corporate-ddven, over-branded, global consumer culture.
      This is a provocadve collection of writings from some of the world's most articulate designers. The writings explore design responsibility with a scope and diversity previously unseen.

Tough questions for Designers

If you design visual communications in today's marketplace you need to address some serious questions about who you are and what your primary job is...

  1. How can you, as a designer effect social or political change?
  2. Can design be more than a service to clients?
  3. When does a designer have to take responsibility for a client's actions?
  4. At what point must a designer take a stand -- and be different?
Tough questions. And sometimes you won't like the answers.

For instance: if you were hired to design a web site for the owner who was sending millions of spam emails to sell a fraudulent product, what would you do? You know, there are thousands of designers out there doing just that. Do you suppose they do their best to suck in people to be defrauded? Do you suppose they build the 'buy now' buttons to be as persuasive as possible knowing that when they click and purchase, their employer is committing a crime? Do you suppose those designers can sleep at night?

I'd be willing to bet those designers haven't read this book.

Who will you design for?

This book encourages designers and students of design to carefully research the clients they work with, to be alert about corporate, political, and social developments; and to design socially responsible products.
      You'll enjoy forty debate-stirring essays and interviews espouse viewpoints covering a wide range of social, professional, political, and cultural topics including: reality branding, game design, school violence, socially responsible advertising and exploitation, and design as a force for improving the environment.


Steven Heller is the art director of the NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW and co-chair of the master of fine arts design program at the School of Visual Arts. He is a conidbutor to PRINT, EYE, BASELINE, and I.D. magazines and has written and edited more than eighty books on graphic design and poWar and polidcal art.

Be sure to read our Interview with Steven Heller in DTG Magazine!

Veronique Vienn is a creative director, marketing consultant, and author who has written extensively on design ethics and business practice. She has edited, art-directed, and written for design Magazines such as COMMUNICATION ARTS, EYE, GRAPHIS, INTERIORS, IMAGE, METROPOLIS, and PRINT. A consultant for clients such as Yves Saint Laurent, Desgrippes Gobe Group, and Express, she is an expert on issues surrounding corporate design, branding, and advertising. A faculty member of the School of Visual Arts design program and the author of several books, she lives in New York City.

Design Responsibly

Citizen Designer will open your eyes to the stuff that makes a true difference between a designer and someone who designs. Buy this book because it's important -- and it's the right thing to do.

Published by Allworth Press, New York, New York; 257 pages, paperback.

* from the Design Department. Keywords for this item are: Design and Publishing: graphic design, layout, aesthetics, arts -- You can find many other titles from this department here!

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