Design Studio Pedagogy

Peter Scupelli

Increasingly, designers are engaged in societal areas of human concern. For example, environmental degradation (e.g., Ortbal, Lange, Carroll, & AIGA, 1996), toxic chemicals (e.g., McDonough & Braungart, 2002), climate change (e.g., IDEO, 2009), voting rights (e.g., Lausen 2007), and so forth. The design methods movement explained the need for new design methods to deal with the increased complexity of societal concern (e.g., Jones, 1992). Societal areas of human concern are described as wicked problems that cannot easily be reduced to simple design problem (Rittel & Weber, 1973). Many design disciplines are engaged with societal challenges, examples include: architecture for humanity (2006), industrial design (e.g., Papanek, 1970), communication design for good (e.g., Berman, 2009), organizational change (Brown, 2009), instructions for continued life on planet earth (Fuller, 1969), and so forth. Design action within such areas of societal concern is complex and broad in scope and often requires multiple design strategies to find actionable design opportunities.

In this ongoing research we are investigating design studio pedagogy to account for the new challenges designers face.


Scupelli, P. & Rohrbach, S. (2013). Speak Lab: Using social change storytelling to teach design agility. Proceedings of the AIGA BLUNT conference.