AIGA San Francisco

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Design-Altruism-Project: Arguing With Success

By David Stairs

“The subordinate place of history, theory, and criticism in design education is concomitant with the difficulty most designers have in envisioning forms of practice other than those already given by the culture.”
–Victor Margolin

Turf Wars
When Victor Margolin published those words in 2002 in his Politics of the Artificial I chastised him for being too tentative about change. It seemed to me at that time that the design world was on the verge of embracing socially relevant design, one of the new forms Margolin was advocating for. I had just returned from two years overseas. HOW magazine had published an article about my initiative starting a 501©(3) called Designers Without Borders, and there had been a mild ripple of interest, mostly from younger designers ostensibly looking for alternative design practice opportunities.

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