Design for the World

Voluntary design for people in need
link to website

Design for the World is an international humanitarian organisation whose objective is to match the skills and commitment of volunteer designers with the needs expressed by disadvantaged populations and the organisations that serve them worldwide. Design for the World unites graphic designers, industrial designers and interior and architectural designers around one common idea: voluntary design for people in need.
Design for the World believes that people disadvantaged by poverty, war, disability, age or environmental conditions deserve equal access to practical design solutions that will improve their day-to-day lives. Design for the World seeks to extend the benefits of design to populations without access to adequately designed materials, objects, tools and living environments.

What does Design for the World
Over the last years, Design for the World has been active in different kinds of projects:

Exploration projects: investigating situations where people are vulnerable and have basic needs, to find out how design and designers can help improve the lives of those people. Ideally, the outcomes of these exploration projects become the inputs for one or more design projects, within Design for the World or for any other group of designers or design students wishing to participate.

Design projects: through our exploration projects, or through contacts with organisations working with disadvantaged people, we identify specific needs for which we try to find adequate solutions, with the help of designers and other professionals. The object of such a project may be the development of a product, a space, an information tool, a methodology or process.

Putting volunteer designers in contact with humanitarian and social organisations: in some cases, especially of well defined and limited scope, Design for the World will not be the motor behind the design project but just establish contact between the organisation expressing the need and professionals volunteering to help.

The project is managed between the organisation and the volunteers, although Design for the World can give some guidance and backup. For those projects, we generally invite professionals to participate through calls for help on Design for the World website and in Design for the World newsletter.

Communication and Awareness
Design for the World sees as an essential part of its role to raise the awareness of the potential of "design for people in need" - both towards designers and towards organisations working with people in need.

The Board of Directors of Design for the World has made the development of Design for the World as a "social design platform" a priority for the immediate future.

Who does Design for the World help?
Design for the Word works for people in need, all over the world - individuals or groups who Design for the World can assist by improving the design of their physical environment including the objects they live, work, study or play with.

These are the people who seek better living conditions, better tools, better information but who cannot afford the solutions offered in the normal marketplace. Through innovative design we hope to offer these people affordable and sustainable solutions.

These people will often be living in the developing world, especially vulnerable groups like refugees, the elderly, slum dwellers, people living with disabilities and children. But they can also be individuals or groups living at the margins of our so called "developed societies."

Design for the World's only prerequisite is that these people or the organisations working with them, should be willing to participate actively (each according to their abilities) to define the need and implement the best possible solution.

Design for the World works with some major international organisations, like UNICEF, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the Red Cross movement and Medecins Sans Frontieres. But we also collaborate directly with the people who need help, through their local associations.

Design for the World
Palau de Pedralbes (Annex)
Av. Diagonal, 686
E-08034 Barcelona, Spain.
T: +34 93 206 36 86
F: +34 93 206 36 82


map  project  partners  forum  resources  EDN