A Design History of the Covid-19 Virus

Paul Rodgers, Fernando Galdon, Craig Bremner

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The Covid-19 crisis and the designed interventions we have catalogued in this book appear to prove definitively that design does care. We have documented this as it evolved every day from the 1st of January 2020 to 31st May 2020 inclusive. As the cover and back cover, influenced by the work of Sean Clarke, Antonio Voce, Pablo Gutierrez and Frank Hulley-Jones at The Guardian’s 100 days project, illustrate, we look at all of this care and caring from the point of view of design and, by the sheer volume of design interventions we have documented, illustrate that design is good in a crisis.
What the Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated is that for the first time in modern history capital was totally irrelevant. Money could not save your life. Only design could. Rapidly designed masks, shelters, hospitals, instructional posters, infographics, dashboards, respirators, sanitisers, virtual and local communities emerged to save us. From January 2020, design became king. The Covid-19 global pandemic presented an ontological reality; design is more than margins or profit. In fact, design became extremely valuable when it stopped concentrating on those things and started to care about peoples’ lives. This brief episode in history is repositioning the status of design and reconfiguring its signifier from consumption to care.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLancaster
Number of pages611
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2020


  • care
  • design
  • covid-19
  • coronavirus pandemic
  • design research


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