Touchpoint - The Journal of Service Design

The Journal of Service Design

p-ISSN: 1868-6052
e-ISSN: 2940-2778

Jesse Grimes

Service Design Network gGmbH
Mülheimer Freiheit 56
D-51063 Köln, Germany

Guidelines for Contributors


This journal uses a double-blind approach during our editorial process, meaning that both the reviewer and author identities are concealed from each other. Abstracts received during the Call for Papers period are assessed by Guest Editors for their potential suitability for inclusion in the journal (see About Touchpoint). The outcome of the review process is the rejection or acceptance of abstracts, and those that submitted the abstracts are notified within two weeks of the close of the Call for Papers. The abstract review process is double-blind, as described below. In the case of disagreement between Guest Editors on the merit and appropriateness of the paper, further input may be sought and additional review undertaken. In all cases the Editor-in-Chief's judgment is final.
Abstract Review Phase
Prospective authors submit abstracts during the Call for Papers phase, in which they propose the article they wish to write. Identifying details of those prospective authors are removed from the abstracts that are presented to guest editors for review. That means that editors’ decisions on whether to accept or reject an abstract during the review phase are made without knowledge of who submitted it. After two weeks, prospective authors that submitted abstracts will be notified whether their proposed article is accepted or rejected.
Article Editing Phase
Furthermore, once abstracts are accepted, authors' identities are not revealed in their article documents. This means that guest editors assigned to edit each article during the article editing phase are unaware of who the author is, until after publication.

See also our Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement.


Abstract Submission
Below, you find the 'submit an abstract' button. By clicking the button, the abstract submission form will be shown. On the submission form, you will need to fill in, besides your contact information, the following information:
  • Category: Please arrange your submission in one of the Touchpoint sections (Feature, Cross-Discipline, Tools and Methods, Education and Research).
  • Scope of your contribution: Please indicate the proposed length of the article you would like to write if your abstract is selected. Short article: 700 – 800 words (2 pages in Touchpoint) / Medium article: 1100 – 1400 words (4 pages in Touchpoint) / Long article: 1900 – 2200 words (6 pages in Touchpoint).
  • Title: the proposed title of your article with 5-8 words.
  • Abstract: the abstract (max. 2000 characters) should outline the objective, the structure and the benefit (three key learnings) of your article for the readers. Please also indicate what existing data or evidence you will refer to or what research will be carried out to support your article.
  • Relevance to service design: Brief description (max. 300 characters) on why your article is interesting to service designers and what new knowledge it will bring to the service design discipline.
  • Biography: short biography (max. 300 characters) of the author(s) including background, key activities and projects.
After filling in the form, click on 'Submit'. You should receive a confirmation email with the copy of your abstract in case of a successful submission (please check your spam folder as well).

In case you experience any problem submitting your abstract via the system or don't receive the confirmation email, please send us via email your abstract submission in a Word file following the required fields on the abstract submission form. We will confirm the receipt of your submission per email within a week.

Submission of the article
If your abstract has been accepted by the editorial board, you will receive an invitation to submit your article within two weeks to the editorial system.


Language, Spelling and Grammar
The editorial language of Touchpoint is British English. Please ensure that the entire text of your article is set to “English (UK)” as the ‘Language’ if you are using Microsoft Word (‘Tools’ menu -> ‘Language’ -> ‘English (UK)’, and ensure ‘Do not check spelling or grammar’ is not selected).

If you are not a native English speaker, your article must be proofread by a native speaker before you submit it.

While articles are professionally proofread at the end of the editorial production process, it is the responsibility of the author(s) to ensure the article (including all captions, author bio(s) and text within imagery) is checked for spelling and grammar.

Ensure that phrases and nouns are recogniseable to a global readership; do not assume that readers will always know what city or country a specific organisation is in, for example.

Also avoid cliches or casual expressions/slang that may not be familiar to those who are not native English speakers.

Tone of Voice
Touchpoint articles are neither too casual in tone, nor too formal or academic. Avoid overly formalistic language, as well as excessive jargon. Focus on conveying insights to readers in an approachable, informed and easy-to-understand way. But do not be too casual or expressive. A neutral tone is preferred, and the so-called ‘first person’ style (“I did this”) is not often used.

When writing your text please focus on the benefit of your article for the readers – do not only report about project steps, but present project learnings as well as outcome(s). A critical view on projects (including challenges) is valued by readers. Bringing out the benefits of service design in your article will help to promote the discipline to clients.

Do not write text that can be interpreted as too promotional of an individual or organisation.

Please familiarise yourself with Touchpoint tone of voice by reading previously-published articles.

Lenght of article and references
There are three different lengths of articles, which are selected by prospective authors at the time of abstract submission:
  • Short article - 700 – 800 words (typically 2 pages when published)
  • Medium article - 1,100 – 1,400 words (typically 4 pages when published)
  • Long article - 1,900 – 2,200 words (typical 6 pages when published)
Please do not exceed the given word limit. If you have several diagrams, tables and/or pictures you should aim for the lower end of the word count range associated with your article length.

References (footnotes) are optional. If they are used, do not exceed five in total.

The use of AI
While AI may be a tool to enhance the writing process (e.g. language editing or grammar correction), it should not substitute human expertise.

If used, AI should not replace core author tasks, such as data analysis, interpretation, or drawing conclusions. Furthermore, its use must be disclosed (AI model used, the extent of its involvement (e.g., text generation, editing, idea generation)).

Authors remain fully responsible for the accuracy, originality, and integrity of their work, regardless of AI assistance. This includes ensuring the factual correctness of the content, proper attribution of sources, and the absence of plagiarism.

Ethical standards
Authors must comply with our Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement.
File format
Please download our article template (Word file) from the Google Drive folder (link provided to you via email) and use the article template document when writing your article.

Please provide author bio(s) in the separately-provided document, and not in the article file.

Save your article as a Word file (.doc or .docx) and please use the following convention in your article’s filename:

TPVol-No_author1lastname_ author2lastname (e.g. TP11-2_Smith_Müller). The article template document contains the following settings:

Title and Subtitle
Please make sure that the title of your article is interesting and attractive; do not just use the name of the project as headline. Please use Word Caps for the Title (e.g. In a World of Products, Service is King). The article could also have a subtitle (optional). Titles as well as subtitles should be no longer than 8 words.
Authors are asked to write a brief introduction, opening your article. Introduction should be no longer than 50 words.
Body text
  • Font, Arial; size, 12
  • Line space 1,5
  • Left justified
Heading 1 and Heading 2
Please set the Heading 1 to bold and Heading 2 to bold italic. Headings should not be numbered (for lists use bullet points or numbered lists). Please do not include a third level of headlines.
If you would like to present parts of your contents as a list, please select the respective part and click ‘Bulleted List’ or ‘Numbered List’ on the formatting toolbar. Please make sure that the bigger part of your article consist of running text – not lists.
Quotation marks
Double quotation marks (“…”) are only to be used to directly attributable quotes that can be referenced to a person (i.e. from books, speech, recorded interviews, writing, etc.).

Single quotation marks (‘…’) should be used at all other times, e.g:

  • To non-attributable sayings: ‘Do not try to eat the elephant in one bite’ was one of the best pieces of advice I ever heard.
  • Nicknames (named terms) or project names: … based on the ‘double diamond’, which combines…
  • To highlight a word or term in a sentence: Remember though that ‘why’ often includes a combination of factors.
  • No-English words: The term ‘haute couture’...
Italic should be used only to highlight:
  • Titles of publications and media (books, newspapers, magazines, websites, films, plays, etc.): The latest issue of Touchpoint. The Harvard Business Review.
  • Title of Exhibition and events: The Service Design Global Conference was...
Underline should be used only to highlight hyperlinks (URLs, shortened URLs, email addresses).
Use lower case for job roles (e.g. service designer), areas of expertise (e.g. service design, marketing), and departments and teams (e.g. marketing department, service design team). Use word case for specific job titles (e.g Client Services Director) and degrees (e.g. Master in Communication Sciences).

As a rule, the term ‘service design’ is not capitalised, nor are methodologies or deliverables. Proprietary named methods or techniques can be introduced with single quotation marks, but are typically not capitalised. The only exception would be for trademarked methods such as ‘Net Promoter Score’.

Use numerals for measures (e.g. 485 years, 2,201 kilometers) and amounts greater than ten. Spell out numbers between one and ten. Use numerals for 11 and upwards.
All paragraphs are to be separated by a carriage return. paragraphs’.
Touchpoint aims to facilitate the sharing of expertise and knowledge amongst the service design community. Please provide us with at least 2–3 visuals that illustrate your article’s content as vividly and meaningfully as possible. They can either illustrate the process of your project, the challenges you are/ were facing and the project outcomes. Photos of yourself or team members/clients at work are also acceptable.

All images, graphics and tables should be given captions. Please include the images in your Word file, indicating their approximate position in the text. However please be aware that when the text is laid-out, images may be positioned differently. Therefore, do not refer to images positionally within the text (e.g. “In the image below”).

Precede captions with “Fig. X:”, e.g. “Fig. 1: A co-creation workshop”. In the text of the article, write “Figure”, e.g. “Several co-creation sessions were conducted (see Figure 1).”

It is assumed that any imagery accompanying an article may be freely published (it is free of copyright or other rights restrictions), and that the author holds full rights for the imagery provided. If the image should be credited, please provide the credit information adjacent to the caption as indicated in the article template. Typically, images created by an author are not separately attributed in the caption with a ‘source’ reference.

Photos that depict people are usually the most attractive ones. Please do not distort the images with Photoshop filters. Please make sure that all images are formatted in CMYK and have a resolution of 300 dpi and a size of at least 19x24 cm (min. 2280 x 2810 pixel).
Graphics and tables
Please send us your graphics and tables in a vector format, such as Adobe Illustrator files (.ai) or (.eps) files. Fonts, colours and sizes might be adjusted according to the Touchpoint visual style. If significant re- styling of your graphics and tables is required to bring them to a publishable standard, we may have to charge for this work. We will contact you beforehand to discuss this. Furthermore, please consider the following guidelines:
  • Ensure artwork is delivered on a white or transparent background and not a colored background
  • Avoid using color gradients, which may reproduce poorly (especially in print)
  • The Touchpoint graphical style is rather simplistic and minimal, therefore do not use excessively stylistic visual elements (e.g., drop shadows, graphical embellishments, non-standard typefaces etc.)
  • Do not use proprietary company branding and logos within artwork
  • In addition to uploading the artwork separately, ensure that artwork is placed within the Word document of the associated article, allowing editors to see the artwork in-context
Infographics and Ilustrations
Infographics and illustrations are particularly welcomed. The file can be send as an image or vector format, such as Adobe Illustrator files (.ai) or (.eps) files. Fonts, colours and sizes might be adjusted according to the Touchpoint visual style. If significant re-styling is required to bring illustrations to a publishable standard, we may have to charge for this work. We will contact you beforehand to discuss this.
Supportive material
In addition to visuals to be printed in the journal, authors are encouraged to share digital versions of documents, deliverables, templates and/or examples of work that can be made available to readers online.
References and quotations
Because Touchpoint is a practitioner-oriented journal rather than an academic one, we explicitly recommend that you avoid academic-style references and quotations. When including quotes, ensure they are not longer than approximately 20 words.
If you need to refer to any literature, please do not exceed the limit of 5 references. Include the references as footnotes, numbered in order of occurrence in the text. For all references, please make sure that the format of the reference list is in accordance with the below examples:

[Journal article]
1 Smith, I. M. C., & Brown, P. (2005). Methodologies of Interaction Design. International Journal of Design, 1(1), 57–66.
2 …

[Journal article, Internet-only journal]
3 Curry, D. (1995, Spring). Children’s cognitive development. Early Childhood Development and Behaviour, 5(1). [Online] Retrieved March 5, 2008, from [Book]
4 Robinson, A. (1905). Psychology and Research (5th ed.). Berlin: Engelman.

[Unpublished master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation]
5 McIwan, D. (1958). Designing women: Gender, modernism and interior decoration in Sydney, c. 1920–1940. Unpublished master’s thesis, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

Alongside the article, Touchpoint publishes a small portrait photograph and small biography for each author. Please see the author bio template document for guidance on writing author bios.
Author photographs
Please send us a recent portrait photo of each author, preferably a professional-looking headshot rather than a casual photo. The image should be saved in CMYK format and have a resolution of 300 dpi and a size of at least 5x6 cm (min. 1500 x 1800 pixel). JPG format is preferred. Please use the following standard to name your portrait picture: name_lastname.jpg
In the Google Drive folder, you will find the ´Agreement for Publication and Transfer of Copyrights´. Please, follow the steps:
  1. Open and review the document
  2. On the last page of the document you will find form fields to complete and sign. A digital signature is required. If you do not have a digital signature, the form will guide you through the process.
  3. After having read, completed and signed the document, submit the document via email through your PDF application, or manually via email.
  4. You can also print the document, sign it manually and scan it, before returning it as PDF.
This Agreement describes the author’s transfer of copyright to the Service Design Network. The SDN then holds the exclusive right of publication for the article in various formats, including through third parties. The Agreement also permits the SDN to publish the Article online with or without restrictions on access. If the Author wishes to obtain permission to publish the article outside Touchpoint (for example within an institutional or discipline-based repository), they must ask for and receive written permission from the SDN. Authors must seek approval to write about a project (e.g. from a client that they worked with, or from higher management) those approvals must take place prior to the submission of the first draft of the completed article. If authors are unsure that approval will be given, or are concerned that approval will take a long time to receive, they should account for this in their timelines, and notify the Touchpoint production coordinator.