Design toolkit for social inclusion

Inclusive Signs Toolkit front cover.
Front cover of the Toolkit.

Social inclusion is a complex topic mainly because it’s not something you can make and touch. It requires a new way of approaching design that avoids bias, stereotypes, and established methods. Emilio Rossi has developed a card-based toolkit to generate creative inclusive design concepts. It’s titled Inclusive Signs and is based on a visual card system. One set has a different picture or symbol, and the second set has text labels. The cards are used to stimulate creative thinking in brainstorming sessions.

A short video on the welcome page of the online version on the toolkit provides a great overview of the basic concepts. 

The first part of the handbook explains the background and how to use the the toolkit. The second part has 180 cards and a worksheet. The toolkit is useful for both design practitioners and educators. It would also be good in co-design processes. The goal is to stimulate deep reflections on social inclusion in all design processes.

Overview

Although disability is one of the topics, design for social inclusion goes further. It tackles issues of social wellbeing, rights, human values, and inequalities.  Designers often struggle to create inclusive products and services beyond access codes. Rossi says moving beyond access codes is crucial for enabling solutions.

The key is gaining insights in the design conception stage. “Otherwise designers will continue to use biased concepts in their creative practice. That is, designing what is known, rather than what may work.”

You can download the 120 MB PDF document.  The 60 descriptive cards have current keywords relating to social inclusion. The aim of the 120 visual cards is to stimulate reflection, emotion, and lateral thinking. The images provide both negative and positive representations. 

Designers should find the content of the toolkit interesting even if they don’t use it in practice or teaching. 

The online version of the Toolkit is also available in several languages. Below are three examples of the text cards.

Card reading shared visions and ideas.

Card reading yes, with, together, visible, for all.

This card reads, participation.