Design enables us to adapt the built environment to people's needs and to empower people interacting in the environment. Yet, design knowledge about how to design products effectively is limited. Neither traditional intuitive design methods centered on visual language nor human-centered design methods centered on cognition adequately address the needs of people of different cultures in different contexts. A rhetorical approach to design can provide methods and principles to understand people's culture and context. In this study, the researcher sought to map and understand the rhetorical appeals (i.e., logos, pathos, ethos) in design for social change. This research is a pragmatic primarily qualitative study developed in three stages. (1) The researcher examined design products for social change (i.e., animated viral videos) with rhetorical appeals analysis and expert interviews. (2) He led the design of a product (i.e., a mobile web application for Latino parents about childhood obesity prevention called Lifecast) and conducted an auto-observation of his behavior as the designer. (3) He evaluated the design product with design experts and in the real context using heuristics, participant observation, and in-depth interviews. The researcher found that strength of the three rhetorical appeals generates a wide reception. He concluded that an effective strategy of rhetorical appeals should be carefully planned and continually reviewed. In the evaluation of the design product, he found that parents and their children were motivated to use the design product and exhibited positive change in their knowledge, attitudes, and behavior. The researcher identified salient indices and strategies that constitute an inventory to organize the rhetorical appeal concepts in graphic design, that thus far are imprecise theoretical concepts. Also, he proposed rules of thumb about the rhetorical appeals in design for social change. Future research should focus on not only visual and textual elements, but also on design concept, design format, and interactivity elements. Finally, the researcher examined design research methods and discussed issues of design practice in research, research frames, and research paradigms. Based on the concepts mapped in this dissertation, future research on rhetorical appeals in design for social change should include experimental methods.