On Monday, December 18th, 2023, Industrial Design professor Dr. Isabel Prochner’s latest book, Design for Sex and Gender Equity, will be released via Routledge Publishing, one of the most prestigious publishers of academic texts. The book is part of Routledge’s Design for Change series, exploring the barriers to design equity and how design interventions can and do overcome those barriers.

Dr. Prochner interviewed designers and design researchers about the role of gender in a variety of specific design topics–including toy design, personal protective equipment, smart devices, modest sportswear, and more. She found that when it comes to design for play, there have been improvements to girls’ toys, but there is a gap in representation when it comes to toys for boys. She emphasized the importance of responding to needs in personal protective equipment – N95 masks, firefighting gear, etc – is extremely important, as it can be the difference between life and death. 

According to Routledge’s description of the book, “Prochner not only brings attention to sex and gender problems related to design artifacts but also provides a unique overview of creative design responses to these issues.” This book will be useful across the industry to designers interested in industrial, product, fashion, and interaction design, as well as scholars in design, sex, and gender studies.

In addition to this new book, Dr. Prochner recently signed a contract for her third book, Human Factors for Industrial Designers, also with Routledge. This book aims to fill the role of the classic The Measure of Man and Woman publications for the 2020s and beyond. It will present diverse human factors data relevant to industrial designers through accessible texts and figures.

However, her research extends beyond academic writing; she has been working to improve the design of chest binders for several years and is starting collaborations with professors of biomedical engineering and with the medical school to further this work.  It has been found that 97% of binder users report negative physical symptoms related to binding; these range from itching and back pain to rib fractures. Prochner is working on a design for a product that enables transgender and gender non-conforming individuals to bind in a way that minimizes pain and adverse health effects.

You can get your copy of Dr. Prochner's book here.