You are here

The Culture of Design

The Culture of Design

Third Edition

December 2013 | 296 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
What is the social impact of design? How do culture and economics shape the objects and spaces we take for granted? How do design objects, designers, producers and consumers interrelate to create experience? How do new networks of communication and technology change the design process?

Thoroughly revised, this new Third Edition:
  • explores the iPhone
  • digs deep into the digital with a new chapter on networks and mobile technologies
  • provides a new chapter on studying design culture
  • explores the relationship of design to management and the creative industries
  • supports students with a revamped website and all new exercises
This is an essential companion for students of design, the creative industries, visual culture, material culture, and sociology. 

Chapter 1: Design Culture
Design culture as an object of study

Beyond Visual Culture: Design Culture as an academic discipline

Models for studying Design Culture

Design Culture beyond discipline?

Chapter 2: Design and Production
The rise of design

Freelance, in-house and consultancy design

The establishment of design consultancy

The 1980s design consultancy boom

Neo-fordist design

Post-fordist design

Towards a brand ethos

Speeding up design and production

Design within disorganized capitalism

The new economy

Chapter 3: Designers and Design Discourse
Definitions of design

The word ‘design’ in history

The professional status of design

Designers as ‘Cultural Intermediaries’

Historicity and modernism in design discourse

Second modernity versus design management

Service design

Design Thinking

Chapter 4: The Consumption of Design
The culture of consumption

Design and consumer culture

Passive or sovereign consumers?

De-alienation and designing

Commodities and the aesthetic illusion

Systems of provision

Circuits of culture

Designers and the circuit of culture

Writing about things

Consumption and practice

Anomalous objects

Chapter 5: High Design
Design classics

Mediating production

Consuming postmodern high design: Veblen and Bourdieu


Modern designers/modern consumers

Designers, risk and reflexivity

Critical design

Design art

Chapter 6: Consumer Goods


Doing the Dyson

Product semantics

Mood boards

Lifestyles and design ethnography

Back to the workshop

Product semantics and flexible manufacture

Designing global products

Product designers and their clients

Products and brand image

Product use

The iPod: consumption, practice and contingency

Chapter 7: Branded Places
Evaluating place: beyond architectural criticism

The Barcelona paradigm

Cultural economies, regeneration and gentrification

Museums and postindustrial place-making

Beyond nation-states: cities and regions

The branding of city-regions and nations

Problematizing the branding of place

Chapter 8: Branded Leisure
From Fordist to disorganized leisure

Time-squeeze and packaged leisure

The Disney paradigm


Naked and nowhere at Center Parcs

Televisuality and designing leisure experiences


Chapter 9: On-screen Interactivity
Computers and graphic design

Technological development and consumer growth

Professional practices

Critical reflection



Consuming interactivity

Cybernetic loss

Liberation and regulation: the bigger picture

Bytes and brands

Chapter 10: Communications, Management and Participation
Internal brand building

The end of advertising

Brand and communications consultancy

Employees as consumers

Aesthetic labour

Designing for creativity

Social participation and design activism

Chapter 11: Networks and Mobile Technologies
iPhones and smartphones


Closed and open networks

Cultural relativism and technological change

The competition of monopolies

Scipts and metadata




Boundary objects and spaces

Chapter 12: Studying Design Culture
A design culture turn

Writing design culture


Closed and open conceptions of design

Reflexivity and historicity





Concluding remarks


This is a thoughtful update on previous editions; Julier takes time to pick up on 'sticky' issues and explain them in detail without sounding pedantic or over-bearing. This new edition will be a welcome addition to contemporary design culture and of use to designers and students alike.

Dr Juliette MacDonald
Edinburgh College of Art

Just as the domains of design studies and practice are in a constant state of evolution, this Third Edition of The Culture of Design has evolved to present a comprehensive discussion of contemporary design as a socio-technical cultural phenomenon in theory and practice.

Professor Laurene Vaughan
RMIT University

Few books have had the success of producing a new scholarly field in the way of Guy Julier’s The Culture of Design. This book has proved to be the cornerstone in the curriculum of courses and new educations in Design Culture Studies.

Professor Anders V. Munch
University of Southern Denmark

The Culture of Design remains the only historically situated yet comprehensively contemporary account of how design as a creative industry materializes values into everyday lifestyles. Julier's capacity to extend his framework to cover the large and diverse changes design has undergone - in relation to digital economies and the rise of design thinking and social design - since the last edition, attest to his analyses' validity and power.

Cameron Tonkinwise
School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University

The third edition of The Culture of Design has again improved upon earlier versions. It has valuable new parts on economy that improve it and open new possibilities for research. Prof. Julier has also managed to keep the valuable features of his book. I believe there will be a global market for the book, and I find it still a valuable contribution to design education as well as research.

Ilpo Koskinen
Aalto University, Helsinki

We use the book as an illustration about what design might look like.

Dr Jules Verlaan
Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences, Delft University of Technology
January 16, 2018

This is one of these design books that offer a very good overview of all aspects of design culture.

Mrs Ann Laenen
Communications , University of Malta
April 20, 2016

This book is excellent in connecting design to current scholarship in other disciplines. It inspires a myriad of possibilities to study design as related to culture. The case studies are recent and illuminating.

Dr Javier Gimeno Martinez
Humanities , Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
November 19, 2015

Excellent overview of design methodologies, practices and industry agendas

Mr Christian Lloyd
Department of Design, Huddersfield University
November 22, 2015

great book for completing research and to use for further reading

Mr Brendon Pettit
creative studies, Great Yarmouth College
January 13, 2015

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase or sample this product on our Sage College Publishing site:

Go To College Site