Culture Sensitive Design: A guide to culture in practice

A.G.C. van Boeijen, I.S.J. Zijlstra (Illustrator)

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


Societies worldwide are increasingly interconnected through trade, migration, education, and digitisation. This has resulted in a profound new complexity of cultural groups. Consequently, designers are confronted with the challenge of gaining a clear understanding of this cultural diversity. Culture is a complex phenomenon defined by an on-going process of shifts in human interactions and experiences. In addition to the functional, technical, and economic requirements, it is primarily culture that defines how any designed object and service will perform and prove itself: a process that largely takes place outside the domain and control of the designer.

This book provides an overview of theory as well as practical models and methods, aimed to motivate and inspire design students, practitioners, and educators; to get in touch with different cultural values, customs, and symbols; to avoid mistakes that may be obstructive for certain groups of people; to enable cross-cultural cooperation; to learn more about the diverse and complex layers of culture that define who we are, how we think, how we imagine, and how we create; to open up the design space, thereby creating a tremendous source of new ideas.

Richly illustrated by examples of real-life situations, the book provides everything necessary to generate optimal circumstances for the best design solutions to emerge.

DESIGNER can use it to fine-tune their cultural lens, to stage their design processes, and as a source of inspiration.
DESIGN EDUCATORS can use it as a reference manual to support students in their earning process.
EVERYONE INTERESTED IN THE TOPIC can use it to discover layers of what constitutes culture.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherBIS Publishers
Number of pages160
ISBN (Print)978-90-6369-561-3
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • culture-sensitive design, culture sensitivity, design methods, contextual research


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