The development of design for sustainability is considered within a design-centred research approach. This form of investigative activity is of particular interest to the design disciplines and here it is distinguished from other types of design research and discussed in terms of its potential relevance and contribution in advancing material culture in more sustainable directions. As its name suggests, this emerging form of design research within academia focuses especially on the activity of designing, and is complemented by more traditional primary and secondary source research methods. However, in order to advance this type of research activity, particularly in the challenging area of design for sustainability, it is necessary, at least temporarily, to disconnect design from the bottom line in order to more freely explore new ideas and new possibilities. A basis for design-centred research is outlined and supplemented by examples from the author's own research experiences.