Critical Design Fiction

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Imagined Worlds

Critical Design



Design as critique has existed before under several guises. Italian Radical Design of the 1970s was highly critical of prevailing social values and design ideologies, critical design builds on this attitude and extends it into today’s world.
During the 1990s there was a general move towards conceptual design which made it easier for non-commercial forms of design like critical design to exist, this happened mainly in the furniture world, product design is still conservative and closely linked to the mass market.
The term Critical Design was first used in Anthony Dunne’s book Hertzian Tales (1999) and later in Design Noir (2001). Since then many other people have developed their own variations. (2018).

The approach to critical design can be yet difficult to understand as its not yet out there as another design could be, nevertheless critical design fiction was termed by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby describing the term

‘an approach to design that avoided producing maskable commodities, and instead focused on posing questions, sparking debate, provoking action and challenging the way we think.’

this kind approach broadens the vision in design from traditional practise, as critical design has gained exposure, the discipline has been itself criticized, for some fore dramatizing dystopian scenarios. Where it may be reflective of real-life connections in some places in the world.

What critical design causes will challenge it’s audience’s preconception and expectations, this kind of design uses fiction that challenge the role of objects that is used in everyday life. It also uses artefacts (designed) on consumer culture. This kind of artefact and process of design causes reflection on existing practises, move and value in a culture.




 Dunne & Raby. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Nov. 2018].




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