Framing the concept design literacy for a general public
Keywords:design literacy, literature review, critical innovation, general education
Educating the general public to be design literate can be a catalyst for both environmental protection and degradation, human aid and human-made disasters depending on how the scope of design is framed – and how ‘design literacy’ is defined. This paper explores how to cultivate design literacy that supports critical innovation and a transition towards more sustainable societies. The research approach is a literature review of key texts that promote and conceptualize design literacy as part of general education. Four narratives are identified as vital: a) ‘Awareness through making’, b) ‘Empower for change and citizen participation’, c) ‘Address complexity of real-world problems’, and d) ‘Participate in design processes’. Moving towards more sustainable modes of consumption and production, a design literate general public provides a critical mass of users empowered to question how a new innovation supports the well-being of people and the planet and to voice their own ideas.