Dr Laura Santamaria


Dr Laura Santamaria

Dr Laura Santamaria is a design practitioner and academic. She specialises in cultural and meaning-making aspects of innovation, with a particular focus on design for sustainability.

Laura has a background in brand strategy, product/service innovation and user experience. She has gained extensive experience in Design Innovation, Design Management and Strategy, working in the corporate and non-profit sectors in the UK since 1993, both on a freelance capacity within London design agencies and as an independent consultant through her own agency, SantamariaMedia
In 2007, Laura co-founded Sublime Magazine, a publication dedicated to making sustainability topics accessible and aspirational to wider audiences. Her expertise and insight in lifestyle aspects of sustainability have gained her recognition as a leading expert in the subject, often representing the UK press at international sustainability conferences and events, taking part in industry expert panels, keynote speaking and competition judging.

Academic background

Laura holds a PhD in Sustainable Design Innovation from Loughborough University. She currently lectures at postgraduate level in Design Thinking at Loughborough University London, Design Management and Cultures at London College of Communications, and is a Visiting Fellow at the School of Business, Law and Communications at Southampton Solent University since 2012. 
She obtained a BA in Visual Communication Design and an MA in Branding and Strategic Design at the University of La Plata, Argentina.

Current research and collaborations

Laura’s current work and research focus on semiotics and aesthetic aspects in design for services and user experience, and strategies for amplifying the impact of social innovation and entrepreneurship through design. 
She has been working in design-driven socio-economic development since 2009, partnering with EU funded organisation Grampus Heritage and Training, to lead apprenticeship and residency programs in rural villages in Europe. This involved acting as a consultant for business and non-profit organisations, as well as facilitating design students’ engagement with bottom-up innovation and entrepreneurship based on contemporary reinterpretation of traditional skills and crafts.

Interests and activities

Laura is a member of the Sustainable Design Research Group, the Design Research Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
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