John Emerson of Backspace, a design consultancy dedicated to research, development, and promotion of design in the public interest, maintains a great blog called Social Design Notes. Today he posts, for the edification of us all, a list of design manifestos going back a hundred years:
Since the days of radical printer-pamphleteers, design and designers have a long history of fighting for what's right and working to transform society. The rise of the literary form of the manifesto also parallels the rise of modernity and the spread of letterpress printing.
* 1909 Futurist Manifesto
* 1922 Taller de Grafica Popular Manifesto of the Painters' Union
* 1923 Topology of Typography, El Lissitzky
* 1923 The New Typography, László Moholy-Nagy - a call for design against the bourgeois, in support of the proletariat.
* 1959 The journal "New Graphic Design," though not explicitly a manifesto, called for a radical rethinking of design along more scientific lines.
* 1964 First Things First
* 1971 La coscienza del designer, by Albe Steiner
* 1978 Atlante Secondo Lenin- not so much a design manifesto, as a designed manifesto. The innovative infographics visualize theories for gaining power.
* 1983 The Free Software announcement, later clarified in 1985's GNU Manifesto
* 1987 Design memorandum. Dall'etica del progetto al progetto dell'etica.
* 1989 Carta del progetto grafico
* 1991 The Function of the Graphic Designer, Pierre Bernard
* 1996 Viewer's Declaration of Independence
* 1998 Ne Pas Plier statement
* 1998 People's Communication Charter
* 2000 First Things First update - not just about advertising this time, but setting new values.
* 2000 Bruce Mau's Incomplete Manifesto for Growth (though I thought Dean Allen did a tidy job of demolishing this.)
* 2001 AIAP, diseno etica e comunicazione
* 2001 Socialist Designer's Manifesto - a series of ideologically driven limitations along the lines of Dogme 95.
* 2002 First Declaration of the St. Moritz Design Summit
* 2004 The Free Culture Manifesto
* 2006 The Public Role of the Graphic Designer
* 2006 Owner's Manifesto, The Maker's Bill of Rights
* 2008 Metahaven, White Night Before A Manifesto
* 2009 The Repair Manifesto from Platform21
[since he's taken the trouble to link to those he could find online, I'm not going to do that here, click through for his list of resources]