Social Design Enterprises in Thailand: Potentials and Challenges

Main Article Content

Boonanan Natakun
Khemmiga Teerapong

Abstract

Design professions have generally connected to the commercial world rather than being a socially conscious practice. This paper aims to explore ideas and operations of social design practices that combine the value of social responsibility with designers’ day-to-day practices. This study examines social design enterprises in the field of advertising and architectural design in Thailand: Choojai Creative for Good(s) and Openspace. Although potential clients, products, and production time required by these two design businesses are relatively different in nature, they share similar design philosophy and process which is participatory applied at the beginning of the project until the production process. Thus, these professional social design groups are able to embed social responsibility values into their design projects which are illustrative of a social model of design enterprise that serves specific groups of people and Thai society more broadly.


In-depth interviews with co-founders, designers and partners/ clients of the selected social design firms were employed to explore ideas, aspirations and needs. Moreover, to examine values embedded in their social design, discourse analysis of media release and reviews of their successful design projects were also undertaken. Findings have shown that social design firms have emerged and become part of Thai design industry when designers and architects can balance between idealism with pragmatic management of limited resources. The discussion has illustrated potential and challenges of social design firms as a business model by concluding that designers’ past reputations, social networks and broader community engagement through media releases are essential for social design firms to succeed their social design projects and to survive as business firms in the real market.

Article Details

Section
Articles

References

Akama, Y. (2012). A ‘way of being’ in design practice: Zen and the art of being a human-centred practitioner. Design Philosophy Papers, 1, 1-10.

Armstrong, H., & Stojmirovic, Z. (2011). Participate: Designing with user-generated content. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Choojai, Bangkok. (2014a). A participatory workshop among parents of autistic children. Retrieved April 12, 2014, from https://www.facebook.com/mommadetoys/photos_stream

Choojai, Bangkok. (2014b). An exhibition of the Mom-made Toy project. Retrieved May 23, 2014, from https://www.facebook.com/mommadetoys/photos_stream.

Choojai, Bangkok. (2014c). A media press conference. Retrieved June 11, 2014, from http://www.tcdc.or.th/src/17619/Article/5-22-58/ชูใจ-กะ-กัลยาณมิตร-ความสร้างสรรค์เพื่อสังคมที่ดีกว่า.

Choojai, Bangkok. (2014d). An infographic presenting names of the volunteers and locations. Retrieved June 7, 2014, from https://www.facebook.com/mommadetoys/photos_stream.

Grillo, J. (1960). What is design?. Chicaco: Paul Theobald.

Openspace, Bangkok. (2014a). A community meeting at “Samakkee Lee-rat House”. Retrieved June 15, 2014, from https://www.facebook.com/openspacebkk/photos_stream.

Openspace, Bangkok. (2014b). Poster of “Pa Tid Pai Tor”. Retrieved June 15, 2014, from https://www.facebook.com/openspacebkk/photos.

Openspace, Bangkok. (2014c). Samakkee Lee-rat House on a daily entertainment news program. Retrieved February 16, 2014, from http://news.thaipbs.or.th/content/เปิดบ้านสามัคคีลีลาศ-รวมพลนักเต้นรำในย่านนางเลิ้ง).

Heller, S. (2003). Citizen designer: Introduction. In S. Heller & V. Vienne (Eds.), Citizen designer (pp. ix-xi). New York: Allworth Press.

Heller, S., Bierut, M., & Drenttel, W. (2002). Looking closer 4. New York: Allworth Press.

Heller, S., & Vienne, V. (2003). Citizen designer: perspectives on design responsibility. New York: Allworth Press.

Jégou, F., Manzini, E., & Bala, P. (2008). Collaborative services: social innovation and design for sustainability. Milan: POLI.design.

Julier, G. (2008). The culture of design. London: Sage.

Koberg, D., & Bagnall, J. (1974). The universal traveler: A soft-systems guide to creativity, problem-solving, and the process of design. Los Altos, CA: W. Kaufmann.

Komin, S. (1990). Psychology of the Thai people: Values and behavioral patterns/Suntaree Komin. Bangkok, Thailand: Research Center, National Institute of Development Administration.

Lawson, B., & Dorst, K. (2009). Design expertise. Oxford: Architectural Press.

Lee, Y. (2008). Design participation tactics: the challenges and new roles for designers in the co-design process. CoDesign, 4(1), 31-50.

Manzini, E. (2007). The scenario of a multi-local society: Creative communities, active networks and enabling solutions. In J. Chapman & N. Gant (Eds.), Designers, visionaries and other stories: A collection ofsustainable design essays (pp. 76-86). London: Earths can.

Margolin, V., & Margolin, S. (2002). A “social model” of design: Issues of practice and research. Design Issues, 18(4), 24-30.

McCoy, K. (2003). Good citizenship: design as a social and political force. In S. Heller & V. Vienne (Eds.), Citizen designer (pp. 2-8). New York: Allworth Press.

Papanek, V. (1972). Design for the real world: human ecology and social change. New York: Pantheon Books.

Papanek, V. (1974). Design for the real world: human ecology and social change. St. Albans: Granada.

Papanek, V. (1985). Design for the real world: human ecology and social change. Chicago: Academy Chicago.

Peters, S. (2011). Design for enabling sustainable livelihoods in disadvantaged communities: A case study in Amphoe Phrapradaeng, Samut Prakran Province in Thailand. (Doctoral dissertation), Retrieved from http://researchbank.rmit.edu.au/view/rmit:160136

Roberts, L. (2006). Good: an introduction to ethics in graphic design. Lausanne; Worthing: AVA Academia.

Rowe, P. G. (1987). Design thinking. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Shaughnessy, A. (2010). How to be a graphic designer, without losing your soul. London: Laurence King.

Shea, A. (2012). Designing for social change: Strategies for community-based graphic design (1st ed.)New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Smith, C. E. (2007). Design for the other 90%. New York: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Organization.

Sommer, R. (1983). Social design: Creating buildings with people in mind. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Thorpe, A., & Gamman, L. (2011). Design with society: why socially responsive design is good enough.CoDesign, 7(3-4), 217-230.

Trottier, J. (2011). A framework for recording the design process. Design Principles & Practice: An International Journal, 5(3), 267-277.

Vittayasamrit, P. (2013). Choojai’s co-founders at On-nuch dump site [Photograph]. Bangkok: Choojai.

Whiteley, N. (1993). Design for society. London: Reaktion Books.