Gui Bonsiepe: Design Visionary and the Quest for Social Change

August 28, 2023
2 min read

Gui Bonsiepe is a renowned figure in the field of design, known for his significant contributions to design theory and practice. His works and legacy have had a profound impact on design, culture, and society. Here is a critical examination of Gui Bonsiepe's works and legacy:

  1. Design Theory and Practice: Gui Bonsiepe has been an influential figure in design education and practice since the 1960s. He has taught graphic design and industrial design in various countries, including Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Germany. Bonsiepe's teachings have emphasized the importance of design research and its role in shaping the discipline. He has advocated for investigating the foundations of design to create identity, awareness, and self-awareness within the field.
  2. Dissenting Design Imagination: Bonsiepe is known for his dissenting design imagination, which challenges conventional design thinking and approaches. He has pushed the boundaries of design by exploring alternative perspectives and questioning established norms. His work encourages designers to think critically and creatively, fostering innovation and pushing the field forward.
  3. Ontological Interface Design: One of Bonsiepe's notable contributions is the development of ontological interface design. This approach focuses on the relationship between humans and technology, considering the impact of design on human cognition, perception, and interaction. Bonsiepe's work in this area has influenced the design of user interfaces, emphasizing the importance of user-centered design and the seamless integration of technology into everyday life.
  4. Design for Social Change: Bonsiepe's legacy extends beyond design theory and practice. He has been actively involved in using design as a tool for social change. Bonsiepe has collaborated on projects that aim to address social issues, promote sustainability, and empower marginalized communities. His work reflects a commitment to using design as a means to create a positive impact on society.
  5. Legacy in Design Education: Bonsiepe's teachings and writings have had a lasting impact on design education. His emphasis on design research, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary approaches has influenced generations of designers. Bonsiepe's legacy can be seen in the work of his students and the continued exploration of his ideas in design schools and institutions worldwide.

Gui Bonsiepe's works and legacy have made significant contributions to design, culture, and society. His dissenting design imagination, focus on design research, and commitment to using design for social change have shaped the field and inspired designers to think critically and creatively. Bonsiepe's legacy continues to influence design education and practice, leaving a lasting impact on the discipline.


  1. "Traces and Hopes of Design Research: An Interview with Gui Bonsiepe, Klaus Krippendorff, Siegfried Maser, and René Spitz" - JSTOR: Link
  2. "The Disobedience of Design: Gui Bonsiepe" - Bloomsbury: Link
  3. "Design Research Now: Essays and Selected Projects" - Burg Campus Online: Link
  4. "Can design change society? – Gui Bonsiepe: Technological Transformation" - YouTube: Link
Tagged: design

SCTY is a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) incubator, advisory and consultancy based in NYC. Founded by Ali Madad, SCTY engages in works for culture, commerce and public policy.

© 2024 SCTY, Inc. All Rights Reserved.