Designers’ Agency: Human-centred Design in Communication Design Practice

By Yoko Akama.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper raises questions about the designers’ agency in human centred design using a communication design project as the site for investigation. It builds on the discussion surrounding human-centred design where the designer is viewed as a key agent in the design process. What is the designer’s role? What is their agency? How is agency enabled? These questionings moves the discussion beyond the traditional boundaries of ‘form giving’ that characterises the practice of communication designers. Furthermore, the paper critically reflects upon the interactions that had occurred amongst the stakeholders in this project and explores key factors that enable agency, such as roles, value and empowerment.

Keywords: Human-centred Design, Communication Design, Collaborative Practice

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.1-6. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 513.997KB).

Yoko Akama

Lecturer, Communication Design, School of Applied Communication, RMIT University / ACID, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Yoko is finishing her practice-led PhD at RMIT University, School of Applied Communications. Her background is in Communication Design, where she has been practicing for the last 10 years in various locations including London and Melbourne. Her research is situated within the practice of Communication Design, where she is investigating how the designers’ agency, and the agency of other stakeholders are valued to enable a human-centred approach to design projects. Yoko has also been teaching Communication Design for 5 years. She teaches into undergraduate and postgraduate levels into various programs including Industrial Design, Media Studies and Communication Design. In the last year, she has been involved as a researcher in one of the Australian CRC for Interaction Design (ACID) projects. Oh, yes, she's Japanese by the way. And no, she wasn't named after the infamous woman who split up the Beatles…


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