Designing for transformative play Articles uri icon

publication date

  • July 2017

start page

  • 18:1

end page

  • 18: 28


  • 3


  • 24

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1073-0516


  • Numerous studies have foregrounded how play is only partially shaped by the artifacts that their designers design. The play activity can change the structures framing it, turning players into co-designers through the mere act of playing. This article contributes to our understanding of how we can design for play taking into account that play has this transformative power. We describe four ways that players can engage with framing structures, which we classify in terms of whether players conform to explore, transgress, or (re)create them. Through the examples of three case studies, we illustrate how this model has been useful in design: as an analytical tool for deconstructing player behavior, to articulate design goals and support specific design choices, and for shaping the design process.


  • play; play design; explorative play; transgressive play; creative play;play engagement