Two Approaches to Social Design: Focused Advocacy & the Big Picture

By Erika Goering,

  Filed under: KCAI, Learning, Read&Respond, Visual Advocacy
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Response to Good Citizenship and Design Thinking: A Useful Myth

The  main points made in the two readings were very different. One leaned heavily to the belief in focused, perhaps even biased design. The other was all about looking at a design problem as a component of a larger issue. Both of these strategies have legitimate importance, and I think it’s always wise to keep an open mind about which approach is the one to take for a particular project.

I will emphasize that it should be on a per-project basis and not a one-size-fits-all approach.

Social design and visual advocacy, as with any topic in design, is a highly varied and variable subject, and should be handled with care and consideration specific to the project’s own needs.

There is a time and a place to present your own focused set of values to a client or project. Concentrating on your own beliefs and values works very well when you have a vested interest in your design and its circumstances. Inversely, “big picture” problem solving is a good way to reach outside of a niche and find/address the other working parts of the social machine.

These two readings are hard and soft, subjective and objective, local and global, respectively. And there’s a legitimate purpose for each in their own realms.

Objectivity doesn’t mean soulless or distant. There will always be a piece of you in what you design.

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