International Journal of Design – Special Issue on “Designing for Subjective Wellbeing”

Theme: Designing for Subjective Wellbeing
Deadline for submissions: 1 March 2013

Possible themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Theory, principles, and frameworks for wellbeing-driven design;
  • Tools, methods, approaches to wellbeing-driven design and the assessment of wellbeing impact of design;
  • Ethical, social, cultural, and commercial implications of wellbeing-driven design.

Besides long papers, we also invite short papers presenting original design cases that illustrate opportunities and challenges of wellbeing-driven design.


Call for papers:

Wellbeing, someone’s enduring life appreciation, is emerging as a prominent guiding principle for purposeful design. More and more designers find inspiration in the idea that they have the ability to wilfully transform conditions to stimulate the wellbeing of the people who engage with their designs. This growing interest can be observed in the lively discussions on topics such as empathic design, value-centred design, socially responsive design, meaningful design, positive design, and happiness-driven design. Although the variety of initiatives differs in approach and theoretical underpinnings, they all express an aspiration to explore how design can consciously contribute to the quality of life of individuals and communities.

The interest in wellbeing is certainly not new: reflections on the responsibility of designers to contribute to human flourishing can be found throughout the history of design discourse. However, the topic has regained urgency now that design has recently been embraced in several other disciplines as a golden opportunity for dealing with major societal challenges that require novel approaches. This development underlines a growing need for an optimistic and possibility-driven yet pragmatic and realistic perspective on the responsibility of designers. Therefore, we believe it is an ideal time to examine the relationship between design and subjective wellbeing.

Our focus is on the practical, scientific, economic, and ethical questions involved in wellbeing-driven design. For example: should we, and can we indeed generate the resources for people to interact with products, services, systems, and environments with the key intention to improve their wellbeing? If so, how? What knowledge of people and users is required, how can this knowledge be acquired, and how can it inspire and direct creative processes? What opportunities can be identified, and what are the main challenges? How can we assess the wellbeing impact of existing designs and new concepts? What business models are required to foster wellbeing-driven design? Our aim is to provide a platform to initiate and structure the dialogue on wellbeing-driven design. The overarching intention is to cultivate and encourage wellbeing-driven design and design research. We are seeking original papers that address both theoretical and/or practical issues of wellbeing-driven design.



  • Full Paper Due (extended): 1 March 2013
  • Notification of Acceptance: 1 May 2013
  • Final Version of Paper Due: 1 June 2013
  • Special Issue Publication Date: 31 August 2013


Special Issue Editors

Pieter Desmet and Anna Pohlmeyer
Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering
Delft University of Technology

Jodi Forlizzi
School of Design; Human-Computer Interaction Institute; School of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University


The complete call for papers can be found here (html) or (pdf)

2013 Design 4 Health Conference (July 2013, Sheffield UK)

Location: Sheffield-Hallam University, Sheffield UK
Dates: 3-5 July 2013
Deadline for abstracts: 8 February 2013

This conference seeks to explore the relationship between design, and health and wellbeing. Good design can deliver widespread benefits to society but how can design practice and processes meet the challenges of health and wellbeing in the 21st Century? Through this conference we aim to develop environments and propose creative strategies for future living in which people of all ages and abilities ‘not merely survive’ but are enabled and empowered to live with dignity, independence and fulfilment.

The conference provides a platform for dialogue between designers, healthcare professionals, funding bodies, researchers and users. The conference features an exhibition of innovative health related artefacts and designs plus special sessions and workshops.

Those participating in the Call for Papers and Exhibition Proposals might include designers, practitioners and researchers in health and wellbeing, and representatives from the health and design industries and funding bodies.

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DIS’12 Workshop: Designing Wellbeing (June 2012, Newcastle UK)

Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Dates: 11-12 June 2012
Deadline for submissions: 16 March 2012

This two-day workshop will bring together an interdisciplinary group of researchers, designers and practitioners who are currently working on wellbeing in the field of interaction design or health care, or are interested in the topic.

Wellbeing is defined as positive mental health, it is not only the absence of mental illness but the presence of positive psychological functioning. The workshop aims to establish a foundational agenda for interaction design research around this concept of wellbeing. It will provide a platform to share experiences and resources, create new ideas for design and build valuable future collaborations. The workshop will further include activities that allow for the experience of different aspects of wellbeing. Moreover, workshop attendees will be invited to collaboratively create design concepts that have the potential to support peoples’ wellbeing and will develop first prototypes using Gadgeteer.

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