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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 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


an engaging text

Mr Richard Kotter
Geography & Environmental Management, Northumbria University
December 12, 2014

An excellent book that continues to be relevant to students whose disciplines demand an engagement with design and culture.

Dr Jamie Brassett
MA Innovation Management, Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design
November 25, 2014

This book has in previous editions been a core text on our Design Studies 2 module, which is taught across three undergraduate Product Design programmes and the new updated edition is greatly welcomed and has been updated on the students reading lists.

The book is written in a manner that is easily accessible to students and on topics that support seminar discussion within this module well.

Dr Matthew Watkins
Product Design, Nottingham Trent University
October 31, 2014

This book covers contemporary issues in design against a historical background. It is an ideal text that demonstrates the necessity of theoretical writing to underpin design research.

Mr David Jones
Design and Applied Arts, Wolverhampton University
June 12, 2014

Julier carefully negotiates some of the complex theory underlying the concepts of culture and design, and their historical development. The new version is refreshing in its inclusion of social impact design, but could further benefit from a less Eurocentric perspective of design culture. We have ordered multiple copies of the book for the universities libraries as supplemental reading for our students.

Mr Angus Campbell
Industrial Design, University of Johannesburg
April 21, 2014

Too narrow in scope for this course. Very good book though - just not a good match for a media sociology course aiming at visual communication.

Mr Mikael Sorknaes
Business & IT, Business Academy South West
April 9, 2014

A worthwhile read for all art & design students giving them a thorough and useful insight into the culture of design.

Mrs Sue Martin
BCAT, Basingstoke College of Technology
March 10, 2014

This book challenges contemporary design thinking and is engaging for both practising designers and for students of design. Although there is much that is familiar, Guy Julier provides a fresh set of 'lenses' on design by creating a domain between traditional design histories and material cultures. A useful and provocative text.

Mr John Backwell
Design Department, Goldsmiths College
March 4, 2014

This book gives way to better understanding about design, society, and everyday life. Further, This may help my students in investigating the lifestyle from somewhat different perspectives.

Dr Ruly Darmawan
Faculty of Art and Design, Institut Teknologi Bandung
February 21, 2014

A great book full of case studies illuminating different aspects of design. However, a bit lighter on the cultural angle.

Mr Indranath Neogy
Communication Studies, Hult International Business School
February 13, 2014

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ISBN: 9781446273593

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