DESIGNERS’ INQUIRY an inquiry on the socio-economic
condition of designers in Italy

Designers’ Inquiry, an inquiry-project by the Construction site for non-affirmative practice, is an investigation into the social and economic profile of who today defines him or herself as “designer”, including in this definition a broad range of overlapping disciplines (graphic, web and product design, animation, fashion, illustration, architecture, design research, etc.). The project was launched in April 2012 through an anonymous online questionnaire, which in two months collected the responses of 767 designers. The publication Designers’ Inquiry is the account of the data and the testimonies collected.

To find out about all the initiatives connected to Designers’ Inquiry see:


As designers, how do we relate to the structural precariousness of everyday life, to the cuts to culture and welfare, to the lack of social protection and support as workers? How are we reacting to an educational system that forms “industry-ready” creative subjects? How aware are we, as producers of knowledge and languages, of being a fundamental component of the current economic system?

The investigation Designers’ Inquiry takes as a starting point both questions like these and a series of difficulties in contemporary society that brought us to desire a radical change for our lives. The inquiry can thus be seen as an attempt to address these questions and desires: on the one hand, by capturing the conditions of life and work of designers in Italy, and, on the other hand, by initiating a dialogue as well as a critical reflection on the profession itself.

Influenced by the model of co-research, the 78 questions elaborated in the Designers’ Inquiry tried to involve the participants in a reflection on their own condition, thereby opening the path for possible cooperations and common struggles. A first “collective step” had already been taken in the stages following the collection of the responses: the evaluation of the data and their conceptual, visual and verbal elaboration have been developed publicly through workshops at which a diversity of designers interested in the project participated. The long-term objective of Designers’ Inquiry is to continue to produce tools of analysis, but above all tools for shared actions that aim at intervening in the present state of reality.


BUY (shipping to Italy only)

  • 1 copy: 3,00€ + 2,60€ postage = 5,60€

  • 2 copies: 4,00€ + 2,60€ postage = 6,60€

  • In order to buy the report from outside Italy or to buy 3 or more copies of it, contact us via e-mail: [email protected]


  • Italian


  • A4


  • Risograph


  • cover - recycled, 170 g/sm
  • pages - recycled, 100 g/sm


The money raised from the sale of the publication goes towards covering their production costs.




Moreover, it is possible to have access to the complete database of the inquiry in excel format. To get a copy of the database (in Italian) e-mail us at: [email protected]



The project Designers’ Inquiry and the publication of the report have been wholly realised by the Construction site for non-affirmative practic. All contents are published under Creative Commons license (Attribution - Noncommercial - ShareAlike 3.0).


The realization of Designers’ Inquiry would not have been possible without the people who responded to it and who helped us to disseminate it.
Special thanks to Careof DOCVA and FDV Residency who hosted us for various workshops, Julia Franz and Isabelle Attali for the translation into English, and Stefano Fiemazzo for the work on the database.
We would further like to thank everyone who worked with us on it, in particular, Dario Banfi, Elisabetta Calabritto, Giulia Ciliberto, Ana Cisneros, Paolo Ciuccarelli, Francesca Depalma, Angelo Gramegna, Emilio Grazzi, Silvio Lorusso, Cristina Pasquale, Roberto Picerno, Gianluca Seta, Silvia Sfligiotti, Daria Tommasi.