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Explores the challenges of both designing for users and designing with users to meet changing social and environmental needs.

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Design involves a spectrum of contexts and complex sets of processes.

Society explores many different social dimensions of design practice and its performance, considering varied perspectives on what society wants from design. Our research embraces a broad scope of design, ranging from urban form, buildings, and open spaces, to everyday objects, processes and services. We have expertise in a very wide range of specialised research techniques with distinctive links to design issues, including site analysis, behavioural observation, life cycle assessment, interviewing, collaborating with clients and end users, managing design and procurement processes, creative design practice, developing narratives, archiving and exhibiting design outcomes, and policy analysis and development.

Social and environmental sustainability are core considerations underpinning all of these research approaches, as we seek to understand and enhance the resilience and adaptability of design practice in its many forms.

Society sees design practice as a collective task requiring the constant, active involvement of communities of makers and users, and not as a separate domain of experts. Our researchers are dedicated to engaging with the challenges posed by both designing for users, and designing with users. We have a considerable track record of high-impact research outcomes in collaboration with a broad network of government and non-government organisations, businesses, international university partners, and user groups. Our work understands how cultural perceptions shape the public reception of design and policy initiatives. We have particularly strong capability in addressing the design needs of undeserved and vulnerable groups. d___Lab is also distinguished by its extensive archives of past design work across a wide range of RMIT’s creative practice.

Our mission
• To conduct research that informs and enhances innovation, quality and sustainability in design practice, policy and outcomes.
• To demonstrate the value of good design across a wide range of fields.
• To build research partnerships outside the university and exchange knowledge with those who create, regulate and benefit from design.
• To engage in funded empirical research, creative practice, consultancy, teaching, training, publication and other modes of disseminating new knowledge in design.