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Our favourite books on design and sustainability

The recently formed C Collective Book Club have selected their go to books on all things design and sustainability.

Emotional Durable Design by Jonathan Chapman

Emotional Durable Design is a book that presents a new approach to sustainable design, highlighting the importance of emotions in the design of durable products. The author argues that users' emotional attachment to objects can increase their durability, reducing premature disposal and excessive consumption. He points out that the throw away culture also comes from the consumer, seeking new experiences built by the industry through the centuries, which keeps a whole chain of obsolescence.

Through practical examples and case studies, Chapman demonstrates how the application of emotional design strategies can result in more attractive and valuable products for consumers. In addition, the author reflects on the relationship between objects and human emotions, emphasizing the importance of considering the emotional impact of products on people's lives.

In summary, Emotional Durable Design is an essential read for designers, architects, and professionals involved in the creation of sustainable products. The book presents an innovative and inspiring approach to design, emphasizing the importance of emotions in the conception of durable objects.

Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth

Doughnut Economics is a must read for anyone interested in understanding the limitations of our current economic system and the planetary boundaries within which we need to redesign it.

I love how Kate Raworth makes this complex topic approachable. The doughnut details the nine planetary boundaries and connects them with social needs. Inside the doughnut is the safe space where we need to redesign our world, staying within the ecological ceiling and social foundations.

While many would argue the word sustainability has been used too loosely and vaguely, I think planetary boundaries are one of the best frameworks to understand what sustainable design entails.

Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights

Interviewing is a foundational user research tool that people assume they already possess. Everyone can ask questions, right?

Unfortunately, that's not the case. The book provides invaluable interviewing techniques and tools that enable you to conduct informative interviews with anyone. You'll move from simply gathering data to uncovering powerful insights about people.

Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds by Arturo Escobar

In Designs for the Pluriverse Arturo Escobar presents a new vision of design theory and practice aimed at channeling design's world-making capacity toward ways of being and doing that are deeply attuned to justice and the Earth. Noting that most design—from consumer goods and digital technologies to built environments—currently serves capitalist ends, Escobar argues for the development of an “autonomous design” that eschews commercial and modernizing aims in favor of more collaborative and placed-based approaches. Such design attends to questions of environment, experience, and politics while focusing on the production of human experience based on the radical interdependence of all beings. Mapping autonomous design’s principles to the history of decolonial efforts of indigenous and Afro-descended people in Latin America, Escobar shows how refiguring current design practices could lead to the creation of more just and sustainable social orders.

Change by Design by Tim Brown

How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation

In his book, Tim Brown, CEO of renown innovation consultancy IDEO debunks the the myth that extraordinary concepts magically manifest within the minds of prodigies. Rather, it unveils the truth: genuine innovations emerge through hard work - a meticulous journey of scrutiny, wherein exceptional ideas are unearthed and refined before materializing into new products or capabilities.

The book allows readers - whether they are designers or not - to delve into the realm of design thinking. It explains the collaborative process that harnesses the designer's sensibilities and methodologies to align with the genuine needs of people. Not confined solely to technical feasibility, this approach also takes into account the practicality of solutions for the bottom line. By metamorphosing needs into compelling demand, design thinking emerges as a profoundly human-centric problem-solving method, fostering innovation and boundless creativity for individuals and organizations alike.

UX Strategy: Product Strategy Techniques for Devising Innovative Digital Solutions by Jamie Levy

User experience strategy lies at the intersection of UX design and business strategy, but the process is always easier said than done. This practical book guide offers a good framework for designers, product managers and entrepreneurs looking to create and market innovation. It covers simple product strategy tools, techniques and case studies to help create innovative solutions that people really want.

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