The New Designer: Rejecting Myths, Embracing Change


Designer and author Manuel Lima writes in his important new book that the old ways of practicing design no longer work and that it’s time to rethink design. Organized around myths in the design industry (from the obvious “design is perfection” to the provocative “design is for humans”), Lima proposes that the designer of the future is focused equally on the product and the system, the user and the environment, the aesthetics, and the ethics. Lima’s prose is friendly and accessible and each chapter ends with actionable advice for designers to immediately apply to their work. —Fast Company

by Manuel Lima

How to develop an ethical design practice and build a better world.

The choices made by designers have a significant effect on the world. Yet so much of the discourse on design focuses on aesthetics rather than ethics. In The New Designer, acclaimed author Manuel Lima aims to change this by challenging common myths and preconceptions about what comprises good design. He argues that designers must take responsibility for the personal, societal, cultural, and environmental impact of their work, rather than simply following a standard template.

As he covers fields ranging from graphic design to industrial design to user-experience design, Lima identifies the major steps that designers must take to be a force for good in the world. Rather than sticking to outmoded ideas about perfectionism and individual genius, designers must work together to tackle some of the most challenging questions of the twenty-first century. How do you make room for humanity, with all its wondrous variations, in a society increasingly driven by metrics, algorithms, and profit? How can ecologically responsible designers consider a product’s entire life cycle and look well into the future? And how can designers better respond to a community’s local needs while taking advantage of global networks?

Blending approaches derived from ethics, psychology, economics, and ecology, The New Designer is a vital, field-changing treatise that will appeal to any reader who seeks to understand design’s massive influence on the contemporary world.

Hardcover | 280 pages | The MIT Press | 2023

A fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, named “one of the 50 most creative and influential minds” by Creativity magazine, Manuel Lima is the founder of, author of three bestseller books (The Book of Trees, The Book of Circles, Visual Complexity), and Head of Design at Lima is a respected design leader and startup mentor, and a regular lecturer at conferences around the world.

He has 15+ years of experience designing digital experiences and leading product teams at companies like Google, Microsoft, Nokia, and R/GA. Manuel loves big ideas and ambitious projects. He believes in the explosive mix of grit, talent, and optimism. He grows smart and talented teams through empowerment and autonomy, mentoring and inspiration, and let’s not forget, fun and passion.

Manuel is a leading voice on information visualization and has spoken at 100+ conferences, universities and festivals across four continents, including TED, Lift, OFFF, Eyeo, Visualized, Ars Electronica, Harvard, MIT, Yale, Royal College of Art, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, ENSAD Paris, University of Amsterdam, MediaLab Prado Madrid. His talks have been watched by 3M+ people around the world and he has been featured in various magazines and newspapers, such as Wired, New York Times, Science, Nature, BusinessWeek, Creative Review, Fast Company, Forbes, Grafik magazine, Étapes, and El País.

In stock (can be backordered)

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