Freedom, equality, identity: the Right to Design

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Paula Trigueiros

Abstract: When advocating for typically excluded groups in society, it is common for arguments to invoke general principles of universality and equality, referring to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to other instrumental documents of a developed society. Considering the wide scope of design fields and its influence on products, services for our quality of life, we can perceive the power and responsibility of design in the observance of those principles. The proposed argument will be categorized according to three perspectives. First, Design as a noun: by enriching the markets for products and services that meet people’s expectations and needs, design is promoting freedom of choice. The second, Design as a verb, is about processes of promoting the right (of people with disabilities) to self-determination and to active and informed participation in decision-making and creation processes. Third, Design as a theme acknowledges designers’ powers and emphasizes their social responsibilities, as activists of change. This paper offers a reflection on the different contributions and responsibilities of Design in promoting fundamental rights such as dignity, freedom of choice, and the right to personal identity of diverse audiences. This article is therefore a manifesto for the Right to Design, drawing on relevant literature, practical experiences, and case studies.

Keywords: Social Design, Inclusive design, Role of the Designer in Society

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1001963

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