Alison J. Clarke, MIT Press, 2021

In Victor Papanek: Designer for the Real World (MIT Press, 2021), Alison J. Clarke explores the social design movement through the life of its leading pioneer, the Austrian American designer, theorist, and activist Victor Papanek. Papanek’s 1971 best seller, Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change has been translated into twenty-two languages and never fallen out of print. Its politics of social design, anti-corporatism, and environmental sustainability have found renewed pertinence in the twenty-first century and dominate the agendas of design schools today. Drawing extensively on previously unexplored archival sources, Clarke uncovers and contextualizes the movement’s controversial origins and contradictions.

Read More

Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany and Victor Papanek Foundation, University of Applied Arts Vienna, 2018

Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design (2018) offers a comprehensive overview of the work of the designer, author, and activist Victor J. Papanek. His main work, the instructive guide Design for the Real World published in 1971, is as much in focus as his designs and his commitment to social minorities, the so-called Third World, and the considerate use of natural resources. 

This book documents countless photographs, artistic works and designs, objects, drawings, letters, and other materials, some of which are published here for the first time.

Read More


The research of the Papanek Foundation is regularly featured in contemporary design exhibition catalogues, cutting-edge design publications, and media. 

Disain Tegelikule Maailmale (Design for the Real World)

EKA Press has recently published an Estonian translation of Victor Papanek's polemical title Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change (1971). As a widely translated text, the work continueto be read by design students and practitioners around the world 50 years after its inception. This edition is translated  by Triinu Pakk, edited by Neeme Lopp and Ruth-Helene Melioranski. Sandra Nuut has written an afterword to this new edition.

Read More

Design Struggles

Design Struggles critically assesses the ways in which the design field is involved in creating, perpetuating, promoting, and reinforcing injustice and inequality in social, political, economic, cultural, and ecological systems. This book shows how this entanglement arose from Eurocentric and neoliberal thinking. The voices and practices represented here propose to question and disrupt the discipline of design from within, by problematising the very notions of design. They aim to do so by generating new, anti-racist, post-capitalist, queer-feminist, environmentally conscious, and community-based ideas on how to transform design.

Read More

Émigré Cultures in Design and Architecture

Émigré Cultures in Design and Architecture, edited by Alison J. Clarke and Elana Shapira, addresses the lasting contribution made by Central European émigré designers to twentieth-century American design and architecture. The contributors examine how oppositional stances in debates concerning consumption and modernism's social agendas taken by designers such as Felix Augenfeld, Joseph Binder, Josef Frank, Paul T. Frankl, Frederick Kiesler, Richard Neutra, and R. M. Schindler in Europe prefigured their later adoption or rejection by American culture. 

Read More

Design for the Good Society

In Design for the Good Society, Victor Margolin, pioneering scholar in the discourse of social design, calls on designers, architects, and educators to emulate the work of utopian visionaries such as William Morris, Walter Gropius, and Richard Buckminster Fuller, and dare to envision what it takes to design for the Good Society. Alison J. Clarke contributed “Émigré Culture and the Origins of Social Design,” to the volume.

Read More

Design pour un monde réel (Design for the Real World)

A critical re-edition in French of Victor Papanek's fundamental work Design for the Real World (1971) co-edited by Alison J. Clarke, Director of the Victor Papanek Foundation, and Emanuele Quinz, Associate Professor at Paris 8 University and at École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (EnsAD). 

Read More