Design and the Law: Opportunity and Constraint (Feb 2014, Chicago USA)

Dates: 12-15 February 2014
Location: Chicago, USA
Deadline for submissions: 6 May 2013

Session chair: Carma Gorman, Southern Illinois University Carbondale,

Product designers, graphic designers, and fashion designers all work within the constraints of a constellation of state, national, and international laws and standards governing patents, trademarks, copyrights, copylefts, licensing, product configurations, color specifications, rules of origin, trade agreements, labor conditions, liability, accessibility, environmental protection, and so on. Although legal scholars have written extensively on these issues, relatively few humanistic scholars of design (among them Lawrence Busch, Howell John Harris, Sarah S. Lochlann Jain, Otakar Macel, Frederic J. Schwartz, and T’ai Smith) have examined how laws and standards have shaped manufacturers’, clients’, and designers’ decision-making and creative processes, and, in turn, how these groups’ practices have reshaped the law. This session therefore seeks papers that address the ways in which laws and standards have shaped or constrained the manufacture, configuration, or circulation of consumer products, graphics, and garments (or vice versa), either in the past or present. Both traditional scholarly analyses and first-person “constraint narratives” by designers are welcome.

To submit an abstract for consideration, please follow the instructions in the CAA “General Guidelines for Speakers” (available at Please send your preliminary abstract of one to two double-spaced, typed pages; a brief letter explaining your interest/expertise in the topic and your CAA membership status; a CV with contact information; and your completed session participation proposal form (available on the last page of to by MAY 6, 2013 to

About Fil Salustri
I'm a design methodologist and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Adjectives that describe me include: secular humanist, meritocrat, and long-winded. Some people call me a positivist too, as if that were a bad thing. Go figure. My real home page is

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