The Design Play Cards Design Play Cards
The Design Play Cards
Eco Innovators Pty Ltd
Suite 12, Level 11
125 Swanston Street
Ph: 03 8669 2046
About the cards
Melbourne creative agency Eco Innovators is up to
sustainability mischief again with their new Design Play Cards,
a deck of 50 quirky playing cards designed to challenge,
inspire and explore design for sustainability.
Gamification is recognised as a valid educational tool, and the
Design Play Cards assist educators convey complex
approaches to design problem solving using fun and engaging
The cards are divided into three groups:
groups The ‘Design Problem’ set challenges players to solve social and
environmental design issues, the ‘Design
Design Inspiration’ set encourages players to find inspiration through real
world solutions in action and the ‘Design
Design Strategy’ cards help players discover opportunities through
sustainable design thinking.
The Design Play Cards have been created by award winning sustainable design practice Eco Innovators, and
includes a deck of 50 playing cards designed to challenge, inspire,
and inform designers and students about
abou opportunities for
integrating sustainability into the design process. There are a
number of flexible formats for using the cards including group play
and design challenges. The cards are being used with great success
in both secondary and tertiary design courses around Australia and
in the United States.
Design Play Cards are available in the traditional boxed deck of
cards style or as a FREE DIY ‘print and play’ download. Both
versions are available from the
Design Play Cards website
Design Play Cards: the FUN
way to discover sustainable
How to play!
There are many ways to use the design play cards. Here we have provided a few options that we think really work.
The cards can be used as a reference set or played with groups of people.
Design Problem Solving
In small groups of between 2 – 6 players: give each group a design problem card and 1, 2 or 3 design strategy /
solution cards. Give the groups 20 minutes to solve the problem using the strategy cards. The groups report back to
the rest of the group and the best design is selected as a winner. This can also be played in rounds or heats with
shorter designing times.
One group between 2 – 10 players: divide the cards out evenly among the group. One person starts and plays any
card into the centre. The person to their left has to then try and play a complimentary card such as a problem card:
‘e-waste’ gets solved by the strategy card: ‘disassembly’ or ‘recyclability’ or the inspiration card: “WEEE”. If no-one
contests the card played then they get to collect the cards as one set – which wins them one point. If the person
can’t play a card successfully then the next person to the left can try a play or pass and this continues until someone
wins the point. Play then resumes with a new card and continues clockwise until all the cards are gone or no more
cards can be played. The winner is the person with the most points at the end.
2 – 8 players: Place all of the cards on a table with the play side down. Take it in turns to turn over 2 cards and try
and match the problems with appropriate solutions or match strategies with inspiration cards that relate to them.
There are many matching options possible but the group decides if the match is correct and the player who turned
the two over gets to keep them as a point. Play continues until all the cards have been matched up and the winner is
the person with the most cards at the end of play.
Design Challenge Competition
Groups with any number of players but minimum of 2 groups: one design problem card is selected and the
appropriate design inspiration and strategy card that accompanies it. The challenge is set to solve the problem in a
set time (depending on how resolved the design outcome needs to be this will vary from half an hour to a full day).
The group with the best resolved design solution wins.
A Selection of the cards