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Mike Monteiro - How to fight fascism?

All design is political, because all politics are designed. The world is a mess because a certain set of people designed it to be a mess. Now we need a different set of people to design our way out of it. This is not a choice. Regardless of whether this is what we wanted or not fascism is knocking on our front door. This is how we knock back.

“Do you wanna talk about design or politics” - this was the first question Mike Monteiro asks his audience. As he admits later on, it is the tricky one because for Mike “design is always political”. During his speech, he explains that every choice a designer makes is political: from choosing someone to work for, to the problems we want to work on, to the decisions that we make while solving the problem, to the ways in which solutions are implemented and, most importantly, to the people who will be positively or negatively affected by these solutions.

Based on the definition: “Design is the intentional solution to a problem within a set of constraints”, Mike presents the examples of political, economic and social situation in the US and all over the world which in his opinion prove that quote. What he stresses the most is the conviction that design must have an ethical core and working ethically is a non-negotiable part of designer’s job.


Mike Monteiro is the co-founder and design director of Mule Design. He prefers elegant, simple sites with clear language that serve a real need. He prefers that designers have strong spines. Mike writes and speaks frequently about the craft and business of design.

He loves client services so much he wrote two books on the topic, Design is a Job and You’re My Favorite Client, both from A Book Apart. Mike received the 2014 Net award for Conference Talk of the Year for his inspirational polemic on responsibility, “How Designers Destroyed the World.

Published: Aug 23rd 2017

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