Open Design Now

Now open: the new book Open Design Now: Why Design Cannot Remain Exclusive. Every month, the official website will unlock selected material from the book, which examines current developments in the emerging open design movement and looks ahead to its future in essays, case studies, provocative “adverts” and a 72-page Visual Index. Key figures from the world of open design tell us what’s changing at the production and distribution levels, which consequences and possibilities open design presents for the profession, and what its social significance is and will be.

Why design cannot remain exclusive
The dramatic rise in accessibility of cheap computer-driven production techniques is one of many new developments designers face and a main reason why design cannot remain exclusive. Open design “will change everything for everybody”, Paul Atkinson argues in Open Design Now. While it is not yet entirely clear how, the book’s tone is positive and socially engaged. The attorney Andrew Katz suggests that designers will profit from a “social approach to creativity”. Professor Joost Smiers argues against copyright and bestsellers and in favour of “well-sellers”.

As blogger Regine Debatty writes at We Make Money Not Art, "Even if it is not yet acknowledged by the creators and buyers who gather in Milan each Spring for the Salone del Mobile, open design has the potential to change design as we know it."

Open Design Now, the first survey of open design, traces its roots, identifies the forces driving it, and peers into its future. Designers, of course, have their say. Some of open design’s first practitioners explain how they use the model to work and earn money. Joris Laarman argues that the modernists would have embraced open source if they had had the option. He acknowledges the revolutionary power of the changes and predicts a future in which anyone will be able to download his designs. And Renny Ramakers of Droog Design tells of her plans for downloadable Droog.

Three angles on open design
Premsela, Creative Commons Netherlands and Waag Society, which conceived the book, represent three complementary perspectives on the subject. Our respective emphases – design, sharing and innovation – came together in a natural way in the joint (Un)limited Design project, begun in 2009. The first (Un)limited Design Contest was intended as an open design experiment. Entrants could submit product designs on the condition that they shared their digital blueprints so others could modify and improve their designs or manufacture them using Fab Labs. Creative Commons licences allowed entrants to share their designs without relinquishing copyright. The contest elicited innovative and imaginative designs and led directly to Open Design Now.

Open Design Now: Why Design Cannot Remain Exclusive was made possible in part by Dutch Design Fashion Architecture.

The 72-page Visual Index constitutes an illustrated ABC of open design, from Activism to WYS=/WYG (“what you see is not what you get”). The “Aesthetics: 2D” listing depicts 3D objects made quickly from laser-cut 2D layers.
Open Design Now
11,2% and counting!Open Design Now is now open at More essays, case studies and Visual Index pages will go online each month.

Open Design Now - Book Launch
Watch the video
Open Design Now

Publisher: BIS Publishers
Editors: Bas van Abel, Lucas Evers, Roel Klaassen, Peter Troxler
Concept and design: Hendrik-Jan Grievink
ISBN: 978-90-6369-259-9
Cover price:

Book Launch at Berlin Festival
We Make Money Not Art reports
Open Design Now
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