Exploring the studies of design culture from the transdisciplinary writing of design history

Ju Joan Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review


This study aims to explore under what academic background the studies of design culture emerged from the development of design history. In the 1990s, research groups focusing on design challenged the academic dominance of design history, thus, it was necessary to re-establish its legitimacy. Moreover, the long-term interaction between design history and cultural studies, anthropology, science, technology, and society (STS), have laid a knowledge foundation for such reform. The research interests and main concerns of design culture are clarified through demonstrating the theoretical relation between design history and related theories. In reality, modern design has extended to border areas to become a part of people's daily life in the wave of globalization. Design artifacts have continued to advance to other research fields: such as visual, product, interior design, etc., which integrates and reconstructs the professional division. Using visual cultural research as the method, design culture tries to exceed the limit of visual- centrism to break the dividing line of images, products, and interiors, and form a new research frame and topic by combining the theoretical viewpoint of humanities and social sciences, including culture research, anthropology/consumption study, STS, etc., with emphasis on three aspects-(designer and design discourse) value creation, production of creativity, and consumption practice. Thus, design culture not only crosses the boundaries of design history to advance with the time, but also enhances academic vitality, which becomes complex in order to respond Neoliberalism in reality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-60
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Design
Issue number4
StatePublished - 01 12 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Chinese Institute of Design. All right reserved.


  • Design culture
  • Design history
  • Neoliberalism
  • Visual culture studies


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