Week 25_ Critical Design [Blog task]

Week 25_ Critical Design [Blog task]

“Designers are usually seen as problem solvers. Their function is to make a product better or more beautiful, or to make a process more efficient. But what if, instead of solving problems, they posed them?””—Financial Times
The book “Speculative Everything: Design Fiction and Social Dreaming. London: The MIT press” written by Dunne, A. and Raby F. in 2013 is the first book that analyzes  the results of an approach not to design products to be sent out into a slightly uncertain future but rather to imagine how that future might be entirely different.

Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, professors at London’s Royal College of Art, have been the most articulate proponents of the idea of “critical design”. The outcome of the book is a series of scenarios that help to highlight moral, ethical, political and aesthetic problems.(Financial Times)

According to the book, critical design is a form of design that aims to open up new perspectives on what are sometimes called wicked problems.
Usually it starts by creating a scenario with a “What- if” questions which are intended to open up spaces of debates and discussions about alternative ways of being, and encourage people to freely imagine. An important thing that you need to have in consideration is to  forget how things are now, and wonder of how things could be.

Moreover a fascinating diagram is very useful on creating a successful critical design.


First Cone –“Probable”
Here is where designers operating and understanding the probable futures. it describes what is likely to happen unless there is some extreme change to the world.(example:war, financial crash etc.)

Second Cone: “Plausible Future”
This cone is where designers can plan and foresight their scenarios of what could happen and i do not mean to predict the future but to explore alternatives futures to make sure that an organization will be prepared for and develop in a number of different futures.

Third cone: “Possible”
Here you can make a link between today’s world and the suggested one. Here, the scenario should be scientifically possible and should be a path from where you are today to where you are in the scenario. The point here is  to make the scenario acceptable not impossible so as the viewers to relate the scenario into their own world.

Fourth Cone:Intersects  the “Probable” and the “Plausible”
Here is the preferable futures. This is the section where you play a role of voter and consumer and it is determined by government and industry.

According to the aforementioned, as designers you should not define futures for everyone else but generate futures that act as catalysts for public debate and discussion.


Dunne, A. and Raby F., (2013). Speculative Everything: Design Fiction and Social Dreaming. London: The MIT press.


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