A Good Design Glossary to Decode the Jargon

Posted by John Cary

After last year's Social Impact Design Summit, we began to work on one popular request: to compile a glossary of social impact design terminology. In the emerging field of social impact design, we've seen important discussions and efforts hamstrung, sidetracked, or misunderstood due to the lack of a unifying vocabulary. This glossary sheds light on the redundancy of certain words and phrases, and we hope it also sheds light on the fact that many leaders and practitioners are using different terms to describe almost identical processes and approaches. Despite arguments over “correct” terminology, we are all speaking the same language. 

We're eager to improve and expand this glossary, and welcome any and all corrections, edits, and additions. In particular, we ask for your help in identifying entities and individuals associated with each term as part of our larger effort to map the field. Please email glossary@publicinterestdesign.org. The glossary can also be viewed at publicinterestdesign.org/glossary.

Illustration by Jessica de Jesus