Sustainable design Education: Explorations of the meaning of the consciously responsible Communication Design student in Higher Education

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The Purpose – This paper intends to determine the extent to which sustainability issues are understood within a body of communication design undergraduates and how we can progress this understanding by integrating it in the submission and assessment practice of the design programmes.

Design/methodology/approach – students from communication design programmes, level 5 and 6/7 were invited to participate in focus groups to discuss their understanding of sustainability and what this meant within their practice and how it applied within their university journey. Transcripts were made, with themes picked out, and analysed.

The Findings – The focus groups showed that, while it was acknowledged that sustainable issues are important and relevant to design courses, they could not see or understand how and where to place this thinking. It also flagged the need for design academics to also be inclusive in this process of change.

Practical implications – The paper informs communication design academics, especially in Graphic Design, that we need to work harder to educate our next generation of designers about their power and duty to help the planet, climate and people. It highlights gaps in process and delivery that could be helped with new thinking on submission and assessment.

Originality/value – This paper builds on work in other disciplines about incorporating sustainability. Where there has been some broader consideration of the impacts of digitising assessments for practice based subjects, there has been no real significant focus on the notion of ‘sustainable submissions’.


ConferenceHER 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
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