Metadesign; what is it and what can we achieve?

The D5 Graphic Design Blog.

Metadesign is one of those words that’s cropping up all over the place recently, everywhere but the dictionary that is.

I recently took a trip to London to test the waters in terms of my postgraduate study. I’d heard the term ‘metadesign’ thrown around and had a genreal conceptual grasp of its meaning but had never given it any more thought. After speaking with the academics at my prospective university I couldn’t help but notice it mentioned several times. So is ‘metadesign’ just one of those terms used to sound clever, or is it something worth looking into?


Every now and then the creative industries throw a new word at us, some people look around for it’s definition, some make assumptions and define it for themselves, personally I’d like to think that new terms are both pre-defined and are ever evolving thus whatever I write in terms of it’s definition now could be different, even to me, with time. Anyway metadesign, put simply is: The framework or design ideology concerned with creating social, economic, political or technical systems  for the greater good through collaborative methodology. Or in laymans terms: Designers get together and develop ideas that challenge current society or offer a newer, easier, healthier or better way to for people to live.  So, design not for monetary benefit, not for fame or glory but for the greater good of the planet and the human race.

politics image

‘Metadesigners’ believe that the current system in which we live, the way that we make decisions as a society, the way big issues are dealt with is fundamentally flawed. For example a government who’s primary objective is to raise figures such as GDP cannot have concerns with over population or the environment as manufacturing would raise GDP but lower environmental standards, more people would result in more things being purchased but raise concern as to overpopulation. One can draw the conclusion that governments are disconnected from the real issues, concerning themselves more with figures and statistics. These are all common opinions which cause many different political and social effects, some disagree entirely, some become angry, some want change. This notion is what forms the vast array of different political leanings. But could we design new systems, new ideas that offer a better solution? Creative collaborations are cropping up all over the world to generate new ideas to shape the future.

Here’s a great link for further reading.

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