Design Transitions

Inspiring Stories. Global Viewpoints. How Design is Changing.

This book explores transitions in design practice and features ‘untold stories of innovative design practices from around the world.
Joyce Yee, Emma Jefferies and Lauren Tan
Article number: 9789063693213
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Discover where design practice is today - and where it will take us in the future.
Design Transitions presents 42 unique and insightful stories of how design is changing around the world. Twelve countries are represented from the perspectives of three different communities: design agencies, organizations embedding design; and design academics. 

Our journey has taken us across the globe in search of the most innovative design practitioners, and their answers to the question How are design practices changing? From small practices to vast corporations, the renowned to the lesser known: these are the stories of people working at the fringes of the traditional disciplines of design. They have opened up their design worlds to reveal the methods, tools and thinking behind their inspirational work. Some of the organizations and individuals featured includes: Droog, BERG, Fjord, thinkpublic, FutureGov, Hakuhodo Innovation Lab, DesignThinkers Group, INSITUM, Optimal Usability, frog Asia, Ziba, Banny Banerjee, Ezio Manzini, Carlos Teixeira and Adam Greenfield.

Design Transitions is divided into three sections:
Section I: Changing Practices features 25 stories from design practices in a range of disciplines. 
Section II: New Territories features five organizations introducing and embedding design approaches into their core practice and operations. 
Section III: Viewpoints features 12 interviews with leading design academics, offering additional insights and a critical perspective on the key themes that have emerged from our case studies and interviews.


JOYCE YEE, PhD is a senior lecturer at UK's Northumbria University's Design School, teaching interaction, service and design methodologies across undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Joyce holds a Master of Arts in Visual Communication from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (UK) and was awarded a PhD in Design from Northumbria University. She has over 10 years working experience in a wide range of academic and professional environments as a graphic, interaction and service designer. Joyce has published regularly since 2003 and her research is bound by a common theme of exploring and identifying how designers develop and improve their own practice. Design Transitions enables Joyce to continue her interest in codifying the value and role of design beyond its current professional boundaries. More information on her research and design interests can be found at

EMMA JEFFERIES, PhD is an independent design consultant and a dyslexic troublemaker. Her natural habitat is out in the wild, consulting with global innovation and design teams in places like South America, Asia and Europe to improve the way they innovate. Working under the name of The Design Doctors, she pulls together networks of great minds from academia and industry to support the further development of design's role in the innovation space. She holds a Multimedia Design degree and an internationally award-winning Design PhD from Northumbria University, UK on enhancing visual practices. Emma's dream is to create a new living global ecosystem, in which innovators and governments come together to explore, rethink and provide new local solutions to the challenges faced by people with dyslexia. More information on her activities can be found at 

LAUREN TAN, PhD has worked as a designer in various capacities in graphic design, management consulting, service design and social design. She has more recently been involved in building design capabilities for innovation in not-for-profit organizations and in government. Lauren holds a Bachelor of Design Honours degree from the University of Technology Sydney and a Master of Business degree from the University of Sydney, Australia. In 2012 Lauren was awarded a PhD in Design from Northumbria University, UK. Her research investigated the Design Council’s Dott 07 (Designs of the Time 2007) design programme looking at the changing role of the designer. Design Transitions continues Lauren’s passion for observing, writing and sharing innovative uses of design in our complex world.


“Using design to address social challenges is now a truly global phenomenon. Important questions must be asked of design itself as the discipline seeks to make sense of its new role in the world. Design Transitions then is a timely and commendable resource that not only highlights emerging practice and practitioners, but also explores the important question of where next for design practice.”  
– Brenton Caffin (Director of Innovation Skills, Nesta and founding CEO, TACSI)

"Design Transitions is an important snapshot of design's new-found maturity and strategic importance. The collection of viewpoints from across the globe shows that this metamorphosis is not just the purvey of design elites in London and New York, but a worldwide and irreversible phenomenon. Highly recommend to anyone interested in understanding where design is heading in the next decade. And that should be everyone."
– Dr Andrew Polaine (Co-author: Service Design: From Insight to Implementation)

“Design Transitions is both a well-designed and well-researched book packed with valuable case studies and interviews. The case studies impressively illustrate how design can change organisations and their business models, but also how design itself constantly progresses way beyond its traditional understanding. I recommend this book to everyone working in the field of design, everyone with an interest in a new understanding of design, and everyone who is looking for examples that design is not (only) about aesthetics, but about a much much broader picture.” 
– Marc Stickdorn (Editor and Co-Author of "This is Service Design Thinking", Co-Founder of smaply and ExperienceFellow)

“If you know what you have to innovate, but you don’t know how, read Design Transitions! I needed to develop instruments and policies and innovate these mechanisms for the Dutch Energy Sector. Design Transitions allowed me to meet on paper a wide span of innovation organisations. The insights and learning’s I have gained from how these organisations have developed products and services, allowed me to implement different approaches when designing instruments and policies for my governmental department.”  
– Dounia Ouchene (Strategy Advisor, Department Energy Strategy and Transition in Netherlands) 


"Transformation is easy to talk about but hard to do. The young firms in this lively book are reshaping design across the board - by doing it, not (just) by talking about it. It's a welcome and energising read."  
– John Thackara, Founder, Doors of Perception


ISBN: 978 90 6369 321 3
Author: Joyce Yee, Emma Jefferies and Lauren Tan
Foreword by Tim Brown
Format: paperback with flaps
Dimensions: 24 x 17.5 cm
Pages: 240

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