Responsible Design

Achieving balanced social, environmental and economic development by embedding ethical decision-making in inclusive and sustainable design practice.

In the School of Design and Creative Arts at Loughborough, our research into Responsible Design brings world-leading expertise to the development of theory and practice.

Alongside our independent research, we conduct industry and third-sector-led collaborations, encompassing the creation of new knowledge, the development of novel methods and tools, and the implementation of design interventions aimed at making positive impacts on society and education. Our research is global in outlook, and includes partnerships with academia and other organisations in countries including Botswana, China, Columbia, Iran, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey.

The Responsible Design research group currently comprises 15 academics and more than 25 PhD students. Together we investigate subjects such as:

  • The philosophy of the ethical practice of design;
  • Design for behaviour change;
  • Social Innovation and Design for Happiness;
  • Systems mapping and Transition Design;
  • Inclusive Design for diverse stakeholders.

Key projects

Responsible Design is an emerging field without a fully defined theory or definition, however within our research group we have established six principles which we attempt to embed in our research, teaching and practice:

  1. Responsible Designers are Ethical, both in the way they conduct and report research, and in the design interventions they propose;
  2. Responsible Designers are Pluriversal, rejecting the ‘defuturing’ nature of the technological status quo and accepting multiple plausible futures;
  3. Responsible Designers are Planet-centric, accepting and embracing the challenges of climate change, and factoring the needs of all stakeholders, both human and other;
  4. Responsible Designers are Decolonial, realising that a primarily Western conception and canon of ‘good design’ is limiting and harmful;
  5. Responsible Designers are Transdisciplinary, comfortable working with and being challenged by creatives outside of their own specialism;
  6. Responsible Designers are Optimistic, believing that designers can make the world a better place.

Further information