'Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.'

Charles Eames

'To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master.'
Milton Glaser

Social, Moral and Cultural Design Issues

Social Issues
In Design and Technology, social issuescan arise when a new product has an unforeseen side-effect on a group
of people. This can be a good or a bad thing. For example, the rise in use of mobile phones to send
text messages has increased the demand for such phones.

● provides employment for factory workers.
● enables people to keep in touch more easily.
● means that there is less need for people to meet each other in person.

Cultural Issues
Cultural issues can arise when a new product does not take into account the fact that a particular shape, colour or name can have very different meanings to different groups of people.
Designers need to take care not to offend groups of people with different traditions and beliefs. For example, different
cultures celebrate religious festivals in different ways.


However, a careful choice of name, shape and colour can help promote a sense of unity between different
global cultures. An Easter Bunny chocolate egg.


Moral Issues
Moral issues occur when a new product could help someone do something that might be considered undesirable or illegal. For example, children enjoy playing with toy guns, but some people think that this encourages them to be more violent. So, designing a toy gun might raise moral issues.

Another example might be designing a poster that discouraged teenagers from taking dangerous drugs. This would be considered by the majority of people to be morally good.


Q: Should children be stopped from playing with water pistols?

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© Julian Kupper