Gender-sensitive Design: A Manifesto from the Communication Design Perspective


In a framework in which Italian universities are acting to promote the use of an inclusive language from the point of view of gender and sexual identities, the following questions emerged: what does it mean to foster a gender-sensitive language for designers involved in communication? Is it possible to draw up a set of suggestions and guidelines encompassing verbal language as well as the iconic language that is peculiar to communication design? This contribution is aimed at fostering the reflection concerning good practices – which, as designers, we are called upon, by social responsibility, to put into action in our work – for gender-inclusive design through the presentation of a case study: the ‘Manifesto for a gender-sensitive communication’, drawn up by the dcxcg (communication design for gender cultures) research group. The manifesto opens with a declaration of intent and it aims to provide suggestions and alternative forms that enable designers to overcome the sexist bias perpetuated by iconic and verbal language, without breaking recognised linguistic and grammatical rules. In a path that goes from the particular to the general, 10 principles were identified and summarised, 10 unavoidable requirements, to which we believe gender-sensitive iconic and verbal language must respond. The aim is to state a stance and provide communication designers with a useful tool to activate a series of inclusive good practices and to carry out a self-examination and critical reading of their own work.


Michela Rossi
PhD Candidate, Design Department, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy

Francesca Casnati
Student, Master Degree in Communication Design, Politecnico di Milano, Design Department, PhD School, Milano, Italy

Valeria Bucchetti
Full Professor, Design Department, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


2023 Special Focus—New Agendas for Design: Principles of Scale, Practices of Inclusion


Communication Design, Inclusive languages, Gender-sensitive, Manifesto

Digital Media


Gender-sensitive Design (mp4)