Since the 1990s, in response to dramatic transformations in the worlds of technology and the economy, design - a once relatively definable discipline, complete with a set of sub-disciplines - has become unrecognizable. Consequently, design scholars have begun to address new issues, themes and sub-disciplines such as: sustainable design, design for well-being, empathic design, design activism, design anthropology, and many more.

The Routledge Companion to Design Studies charts this new expanded spectrum and embraces the wide range of scholarship relating to design - theoretical, practice-related and historical - that has emerged over the last four decades. Comprised of forty-three newly-commissioned essays, the Companion is organized into the following six sections:

  • Defining Design: Discipline, Process
  • Defining Design: Objects, Spaces
  • Designing Identities: Gender, Sexuality, Age, Nation
  • Designing Society: Empathy, Responsibility, Consumption, the Everyday
  • Design and Politics: Activism, Intervention, Regulation
  • Designing the World: Globalization, Transnationalism, Translation

Contributors include both established and emerging scholars and the essays offer an international scope, covering work emanating from, and relating to, design in the United Kingdom, mainland Europe, North America, Asia, Australasia and Africa.

This comprehensive collection makes an original and significant contribution to the field of Design Studies.

chapter |17 pages


ByPenny Sparke

part |80 pages

Defining Design: Discipline, Process

chapter |8 pages

Free for all

ByPenelope Dean

chapter |11 pages

Wall Street bounded and unbinding

The spatial as a multifocal lens in design studies
ByJilly Traganou

chapter |14 pages

Connectivity through service design

ByAlison Prendiville

chapter |11 pages

A curious journey into an unknown world

ByLouise Valentine

chapter |14 pages

Design decision-making

ByChristopher Boyko, Yi-Chang Lee, Rachel Cooper

chapter |10 pages

Drawing the dotted line

ByLois Weinthal

chapter |10 pages

The craft and design of dressmaking, 1880–1907

ByJanice Helland

part |70 pages

Defining design: objects, spaces

chapter |10 pages

Artifice, materials, and the choices of design

ByRobert Friedel

chapter |12 pages

Writing the design history of computers

ByPaul Atkinson

chapter |12 pages

Keeping it on the surface

Design, surfaces and taste
ByVictoria Kelley

chapter |11 pages

Table Stories

History, meaning and narrative in contemporary homemaking
ByTrevor Keeble

chapter |10 pages

Wall Street(s)

ByMarilyn Cohen

chapter |13 pages

Beyond perfection

Object and process in twenty-first-century design and material culture
ByViviana Narotzky

part |97 pages

Designing identities: gender, sexuality, age, nation

chapter |15 pages

Modern dressing

The suit as practice and symbol
ByChristopher Breward

chapter |11 pages

Arranging the aspidistras

Nature, culture and the design of the feminine sphere in the nineteenth century
ByPenny Sparke

chapter |10 pages

From Bright Young Thing to vile body to posthumous reliquary

Stephen Tennant, queer excess and the decadent interior
ByJohn Potvin

chapter |12 pages

Designing childhood

ByAmy F. Ogata

chapter |11 pages

Futures fairs

Industrial exhibitions in New Zealand, 1865 to 1925
ByNoel Waite

chapter |12 pages

A difficult road

Designing a post-colonial car for Africa
ByPaul Hazell

chapter |11 pages

A match made in Utopia?

The uneasy love affair of art and industry in Scandinavia
ByKjetil Fallan

part |93 pages

Designing society: empathy, responsibility, consumption, the everyday

chapter |13 pages

From ergonomics to empathy

Herman Miller and MetaForm
ByBarbara Penner

chapter |9 pages

How products satisfy needs beyond the functional

Empathy supporting consumer–product relationships
ByDeana McDonagh

chapter |13 pages

Refashioning disability

The case of Painted Fabrics Ltd., 1915 to 1959
ByJoseph McBrinn

chapter |13 pages

Socially inclusive design

A people-centered perspective
ByRama Gheerawo

chapter |13 pages

What is “socially responsive design and innovation”?

ByAdam Thorpe, Lorraine Gamman

chapter |11 pages

Design + anthropology

An emergent discipline
ByPrasad Boradkar

chapter |10 pages

Design, daily life, and matters of taste

ByBen Highmore

part |72 pages

Design and politics: activism, intervention, regulation

chapter |10 pages

Configuring design as politics now

ByTony Fry

chapter |10 pages

Design for the Real world

Victor Papanek and the emergence of humane design
ByAlison J. Clarke

chapter |12 pages

Impossible maybe, perhaps quite likely

Activist design in Helsinki's urban wastelands
ByEeva Berglund

chapter |14 pages

Design for meaningful innovation

ByStuart Walker

chapter |12 pages

Towards holistic sustainability design

The Rhizome Approach
ByRebecca Reubens

chapter |12 pages

Regulating design

Spaces and boundaries of the late-nineteenth-century public house
ByFiona Fisher

part |98 pages

Designing the world: globalization, transnationalism, translation

chapter |10 pages

A world history of design

ByVictor Margolin

chapter |12 pages

‘Why then the world's mine oyster'

Consumption and globalization, 1851 to now
ByGrace Lees-Maffei

chapter |12 pages

Designing and consuming the modern in Turkey

ByMeltem Ö. Gürel

chapter |13 pages

Three Dutchnesses of Dutch design

The construction of a national practice at the intersection of national and international dynamics
ByJoana Meroz

chapter |15 pages

Exhibiting independent India

Textiles and Ornamental Arts at the Museum of Modern Art in New York
ByElise Hodson

chapter |10 pages

Design Before Design in Japan

ByChristine M. E. Guth