Call for essays

The Future of Design Education essay series publishes on its website short essays on topics of concern to educators, students, design firms, and other hiring organizations. The focus is upon on how to educate designers.

We invite everyone to participate in this series. We want to hear from those whose voices are not usually heard as well as from established experts. We also seek essays from design students and young academics, as well as design professionals.

Essay topics

We seek thoughtful, serious writings, supported by evidence. Our goal is to add to existing knowledge and perspectives that can serve as useful resources for design educators. The audience for these essays consists of university faculty members and design students, as well as professional practitioners with an interest in design education.

We are particularly interested in essays on new and non-traditional issues. If the topic of an essay relates to an existing field, it should address how the field might change to be relevant in the 21st century. If the essay focuses on such current concerns such as ethics, indigenous knowledge, sustainability, business models, or changing technology, it should address how these issues might affect the design curriculum.

We also invite essays on any of the Future of Design Education principles, themes, student characteristics, or pedagogical principles. These appear in the Overview document which you can download here. If you feel that we have left out any important issues, we’d like you to address them.

Almost any topic of an essay will be complex, so that a single short essay cannot possibly cover all of the important issues. We therefore invite multiple essays on similar topics as long as they are not redundant. As much as possible, we will post essays on similar topics in the same section of the website to make it easier for readers.

Submission process

Submissions are welcome at any time. There is no specific deadline. Essays will be reviewed continually.

If you are not certain that an essay would be of interest, please write a query, together with a brief statement of the goal and topic of your essay.

Submissions should:

  • Be short (see the description of this in the section “How long is short?”).
  • Use 10-point type, single-spaced with 1” margins on either American Letter size or A4.
  • Cite references in a standard format. We request APA or Chicago Manual of Style but if you cannot do this, make sure you reference all material with sufficient precision that the editors can format it properly.
  • List names of all authors and their Institutions (if any). If more than one author, state who is the “Corresponding author”” (the person we can contact and that readers can write to for further information).
  • Send submissions as a Word file. The title of the file should include: author’s family name(s); abbreviated essay title; and date (Example: Kirschner and Norman. Learning Science. Dec. 30, 2020).

Essay submissions should be sent by email to:

How long is short?

Albert Einstein once said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” We will follow this principle, rephrasing the quotation to be, “The essay should be as short as possible, but no shorter.”

We prefer essays of 2-3 pages (including figures, but not counting references). However, some material requires a longer text.

The absolute upper limit is 10 pages (including figures, but not counting references).

The editorial process

Although this is not a peer review process, editors will follow traditional academic editorial principles and standards. The editors will review essays quickly. Many authors will receive suggestions for improvement and requests for revisions. Accepted essays can be found on our Published Essays page.

Authors will retain ownership and all rights to their writing

Essays will be published under a Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND). Authors will own and control all uses of their essays. Authors are free to post essays or reuse the content. When you submit an essay, you give the Future of Design Education permission to post and reuse the final, accepted essay for the purposes of the initiative. Any use of the essay will always give full credit to the authors by name. Although traditional academic journals do not generally publish articles that have already been published or articles that are widely available, short essays should not interfere with the future publication of expanded works.

Editorial board

Editor-in Chief

Debroah Littlejohn: Assoc. Prof Graphic Design, North Carolina State University

Associate Editors

Alice Comi: Asoc. Prof. of Design, Tongji University (Shanghai)

Luke Feast: Senior Lecturer, Industrial Design, Auckland University of Technology, N.Z.

Susan Hagan. Assoc Teaching Prof., CMU Qatar

Ali Ilhan. Assist. Prof. Özyeğin University, Istanbul


Meredith Davis

Ken Friedman

Don Norman