Design in the Age of Change (Book)

Iconic design leaders reflect on current affairs and share their visions for the future. Includes Carole Bilson, Karim Rashid, Bruce Mau, Steven Heller and Don Norman. Foreword by the president of the World Design Organization, Srini Srinisavan. Conclusion by design philosopher, Ken Friedman. 12 b/w illus.


Gjoko Muratovski interview with The Design Research Society (DRS)

Interview with Carole Bilson


Change is inevitable. This is the only constant in our lives. Yet, change is also something that we fear. We seek comfort in the familiar, in routines and in conventions. We are afraid of things that we don't know or we don’t understand. We fear change because we don’t know how change will affect us. Change, however, is necessary for progress. Sometimes, change happens naturally due to circumstances beyond our control, and sometimes we initiate change because we can or because we must.

In 2020, we experienced the biggest change of our lifetimes. For a brief moment in history, the world came to a halt. Then, everything changed. Many things that we used to take for granted no longer applied. We experienced major disruptions to our daily lives. As if in some kind of perfect storm, so many things happened all at once – global pandemic, social inequalities, climate change, racial injustices, riots and unrests, gender struggles and rapid advances of new technologies. This book started to take shape in the midst of it all, and in a way, it is a time capsule of how we experienced the birth of what became known as the 'new normal'.

Designers are the kind of people who thrive in times of change. In fact, it is their job to create change. The nature of their job is such that they have to take an existing situation and change it into a better, or a more preferred situation. Some do this by relying on their imagination and personal experiences, and some use evidence-based research to inform their work. Regardless of this, many share the belief that they can somehow make the world a better place – on a micro or a macro level.

During this period of massive change, Gjoko Muratovski invited ten highly influential design figures – including iconic design leaders such as Carole Bilson, Karim Rashid, Bruce Mau, Steven Heller and Don Norman – to reflect on the state of things today. In return, each one of them shares a highly personal account on why change is good. The book also features a foreword written by the president of the World Design Organisation (WDO), Srini Srinisavan, and a conclusion by one of the greatest design philosophers of our time, Ken Friedman.

By looking to the past and reflecting on the present, these designers project very personal images of the future that they would like to see. The conversations are very broad, and they cover highly diverse topics. From the effects of the pandemic, to issues of race and gender, notions of beauty, technology and industry, to global and local economies, politics, power, privilege and the importance of community.

A 'must-read' for anyone interested in how designers and design can change the world.

Gjoko Muratovski is a university executive, award-winning designer and innovation consultant working with leading organisations, Fortune 500 companies and governments from around the world, and a fellow of the Design Research Society.




Gjoko Muratovski is a global design expert and innovation specialist working with leading universities, Fortune 500 companies and governments from around the world. 

Time capsule 
– Foreword by Srini R. Srinivasan
– President, World Design
– Organization

Welcome to “The New Normal” 
– Introduction by Gjoko Muratovski

What is the state of design today?
– In conversation with Carole Bilson

What is the future of design?
– In conversation with Karim Rashid

Why do we need creativity now more than ever?
– In conversation with Natalie Nixon

How can we change … everything?
– In conversation with Bruce Mau

What is the political power of design?
– In conversation with Steven Heller

Why do we fear gender-neutrality?
– In conversation with Alok Vaid-Menon
What’s it like to deal with racism?
– In conversation with Randall Wilson

What’s wrong with design education?
– In conversation with Don Norman

How can we create resilient economies? 
– In conversation with Ida Telalbasic

How do we find comfort in unsettling times?
– In conversation with Mark Boudreaux

Survival by design
– Afterword by Ken Friedman

Notes on the contributors

With societies and economies rapidly shifting in ways that we have never seen before; all our certainties may seem to be sliding away making us feel more vulnerable than ever. Designers play an important part in reshaping a ‘new normal’ during these challenging times. This book is a testament to how designers innovate and thrive in most circumstances. The perspectives of impressive designers and thought leaders, collected in this book, gives hope for a brighter future as informed by design.

Lisa Scharoun, Professor and Head of the School of Design, Queensland University of Technology

2020 put everyone on 'pause', interrupting fast-paced routines that left little time for reflection on forces shaping where design might and should go. Although conducted during a unique year, Muratovski’s interviews reveal an important paradigm shift from industrial to social; physical to intangible; singular to plural; and functional to meaningful. These interviewees are evidence that designers have a voice, asserting through their work visions of a future grounded in consequence rather than consumption.

Meredith Davis, Professor Emerita, North Carolina State University

In Design in the Age of Change, Muratovski has captured highly important insights and ideas from a diverse group of experts for these times of massive change. These viewpoints are valuable now and will be more so in the future as they guide us to find answers to future challenges. This book should be required reading for anyone questioning where the field(s) of design are going and where you will fit in.

Lorraine Justice, Professor and Dean Emerita of the School of Design
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