RGD's Top 10

The Future of Human-Centred Design

by RGD

May 8, 2015

RGD’s “The Future of Human-Centred Design” webcast celebrates design’s power to encourage positive action, change behaviour and improve society





Cities across Canada connected via webcast on May 5 for the latest panel discussion hosted by the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) exploring “The Future of Human-Centred Design” with panelists from Purpose, UX For Good and California College of the Arts.


Discussion groups in Vancouver, Regina, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and other cities heard from creative professionals whose projects apply principles of design thinking to achieve “social good” objectives and change the world.



Founder of UX For Good Jason Ulaszek shared his organization’s work on The Inzovu Curve, which maps the emotional journeys of memorial museum visitors. Tracking transitions through pain, reflection, hope and action, the system identifies methods for enhancing the experience to emphasize the potential for change. Design Strategist and Creative Facilitator Marc O’Brien highlighted Alabamboo Make and Ride, and also Secret Project, as examples of how design can be used to visualize change and mobilize strategies to solve social challenges. Presentations wrapped up with Creative Director of Purpose Hannah Kreiswirth, whose projects “Everytown for Gun Safety,” “My Big Gay Illegal Wedding” and “#ClimateChangeIsReal” emphasized society’s shifting attitudes toward social issues and a growing desire to participate in the process of creating change.  


Here are RGD’s top 10 insights from “The Future of Human-Centred Design”:

  1. “The most dangerous thing a designer can do is what is expected.” – Marc O’Brien
  1. “New technologies have lowered the barriers to creating change and have given people the power to self-organize. Today, the power of people is unprecedented.” – Hannah Kreiswirth 
  1. “When working internationally, you can’t overlook the importance of getting members of the existing community involved. Having local cultural experts is imperative for effecting change.” – Jason Ulaszek
  1. “You can create the most beautiful thing in the world, but it’s useless if no one sees it.” – Hannah Kreiswirth 
  1. “Prototyping is about participation. People are more likely to give honest, valuable feedback on a prototype than a polished design because it leaves room for change and improvement.” – Marc O’Brien
  1. “Understand how people are getting involved in every step of the process — how are they participating through design, ideation, understanding, strategy, advocacy?” – Jason Ulaszek 
  1. “Single out those who are invested in your cause and nurture them to take the lead — you can’t always be on the ground when working on a project; you need others to champion the cause.” – Marc O’Brien
  1. “It’s fair to be skeptical of branded campaigns. Sometimes it’s better for a project to be owned by no one and let people take hold of it however they choose. A truly ownerless campaign creates more opportunities for dialogue.” – Hannah Kreiswirth
  1. “Focus on the specific areas of the issue that need to be addressed, otherwise you’ll just spin in circles. The people driving the initiatives must ask the right questions, make sure the right people are in the room.” – Marc O’Brien
  1. “When we generate ideas, we need to think about sustainability. How can we make that excitement and enthusiasm for solving the problem last?” – Jason Ulaszek 

RGD members can view the recording of the panelists’ presentations and the discussion on Vimeo. Visit the Members Only section of rgd.ca for links and passwords. Watch a clip of the discussion below.


Future by Design: Human-Centered Design, May 5, 2015 from RGD on Vimeo.


For more discussion from Future By Design: The Future of Human-Centred Design, search the hashtag #rgdFBD on Twitter. The next Future By Design will be on September 29 exploring “Research in the Digital Age” (details coming soon!).


Click here to find out more about hosting a discussion group in your city.


The Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) promotes professional standards in the graphic design industry and authors a Top 10 list on the Applied Arts website.


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