Speculative and Critical Design ? Features, Methods, and Practices

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Johannessen, Leon Karlsen; Keitsch, Martina Maria; Pettersen, Ida Nilstad
Series: ICED
Institution: Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Section: Design methods and tools
DOI number: https://doi.org/10.1017/dsi.2019.168
ISSN: 2220-4342


Speculative and Critical Design (SCD) confronts traditional design practice. Instead of reproducing and reinforcing contemporary perceptions of products and services, SCD seeks to change them, with the goal to spur a public debate e.g. on what is a preferable societal development. SCD methods comprise among others speculative narratives and design of critical objects. However, the theoretical fundament of SCD is feeble, and concepts and methods are upheld of mere examples.

The article aims to present the features, methods, and practice of SCD, and locate it in the design field. Following the introduction, section 2 presents features and SCD methods and practices. Section 3 links SCD to traditional design and identifies benefits and challenges relating to its role as a supplement to today?s design practice. The final section suggests topics for further SCD research.

The article benefits designers in search for alternatives to commercially oriented design approaches. Findings indicate that SCD can contribute to creating new societal roles for designers, foster innovation in the relationship between designers and users, and encourage creativity through imaginative aesthetics.

Keywords: Speculative and Critical design, Discursive design, Design theory, Design methodology, Ethics


Please sign in to your account

This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyse your use of our products and services, assist with our promotional and marketing efforts, and provide content from third parties. Privacy Policy.