Design without Borders

Design without Borders: Designing for Social Justice


Design without Borders is a non-profit program linking design skills to efforts for development and humanitarian aid.

Design without Borders is founded on the belief that design and designers can make a significant contribution towards a better and more sustainable society. The program aims at utilizing the creative and analytical skills of industrial designers to develop solutions that promote long-term development and increases the quality of emergency aid. 

Design without Borders also aims to support local product development competency and raise awareness of design as a tool for development.


Design without Borders participates in projects where the need for its involvement is expressed by relevant organizations or institutions.

Design without Borders collaborates closely with international and national partners on projects within the following areas: 
• Humanitarian response 
• Industrial development 
• Environmental challenges 
• Health and mobility 
• Urban development

Our project involvements focuses on four key areas: 
1) To identify and express design needs in cooperation with partners. 
2) To procure suitable designers. 
3) To participate in obtaining funding for projects. 
4) Professional follow-up of the project in the area of design.

Norwegian designers work on the projects in collaboration with designers from the countries where the projects are carried out. The designers are individually selected, ensuring a match between the requirements of each project, to the skills and experience of the design team.


Design without Borders was initiated in 2001 as a joint venture between Norsk Form (the Foundation for Design and Architecture in Norway) and the design office of Peter Opsvik.

In 2001, the program initiated a co-operation with Universidad Rafael Landívar in Guatemala. The aims of the joint program, Design without Borders – Guatemala, are parallel to the aims of the program in general. In the case of the projects in Guatemala, Landívar and Norsk Form have jointly selected project partners among institutions in Guatemala that have expressed an interest in design support to their activities.Based on positive results from the work in Guatemala, a similar program was established between Makerere University and Norsk Form in 2005. Design without Borders -¬ Uganda facilitates the exchange of skills between Norwegian and Ugandan professionals. It will contribute to the efforts of the Makerere to develop tangible links with both large scale and small scale industries in Uganda in order to solve technological and management challenges in industries.