Careers in Social Impact Design

Are careers in social impact design viable?

Social impact design has many definitions. Some exist within the world of design and refer to design in the traditional sense, products and services. Other definitions refer to the creation of social reality such as solving urban problems, addressing politics, globalization, health, and poverty through design.

Social impact design has been the subject for a number of recent public programs and exhibitions, such as the Cooper-Hewitt Museum’s Design for the other 90% in 2011/2012, and the Social Impact Summit in February 2012.

This area of design will become more viable if services increase within the social sector. More and more students are expressing an interest in using their design and creative thinking expertise in the area of social responsibility.

While there is no formal curriculum for social design at the moment many schools are addressing this subject through specific assignments that contribute to the conversation and support this type of thinking. Students interested in this field could prepare themselves by taking courses outside of their major to broaden their knowledge in fields such as sociology, anthropology, public health and international development. Another way to gain more skills in this field would be to intern with social design firms or volunteer with organizations like Design Corps.

Take a look at these resources to get a better understanding of who and what is leading the way in social impact design.

Editor’s Note: This site was hacked and the original content lost in 2014. This article, originally published in 2013, was recovered form a draft version and updated. #lost&found