Critical Design is becoming an increasingly influential discipline, affecting policy and practice in a range of fields. Matt Malpass's book is the first to introduce critical design as a field, providing a history of the discipline, outlining its key influences, theories and approaches, and explaining how critical design can work in practice through a range of contemporary examples. Critical Design moves away from traditional approaches that limit design's role to the production of profitable objects, focusing instead on a practice that is interrogative, discursive and experimental. Using a wide range of examples from contemporary practice, and drawing on interviews with key practitioners, Matt Malpass provides an introduction to critical design practice and a manifesto for how a radical and unorthodox practice might provide design answers in an age of austerity and ecological crisis.
Matt Malpass is a Senior Lecturer on MA Industrial Design and a Research Fellow in Critical Design at Central Saint Martin's College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London, UK.
Chapter 1: Introducing critical design Challenging orthodoxy Challenging colloquialism: the problem with critical design What's so critical about critical design practice Why study critical design? Researching critical design practice `Critical' in critical design practice Industrial design as a discipline The structure and approach to writing Chapter 2: History A forgotten history of critical design practice An emerging critical design practice Challenging hegemony Anti-design Participatory design Unikat Design: adding nothing but the concept Representative design Design Interactions Critical Design at the Royal College of Art Synergies between precedents and contemporary examples of critical design Chapter 3: Theories, methods and tactics Design as a medium for inquiry Post-optimal design and Para-functionality Rhetorical use Discursive design The aesthetics of use and meaningful presence Exploratory potential Design fiction Speculation and proposition Constructing publics Ambiguity Chapter 4: Criticism, function and discipline Design Art Design art and society Function in critical design practice The paradox of critical design in commercial use Modelling the field Design at users Directing critique through design practice Chapter 5: Practice Associative design Speculative design Critical design Design practice as satire The uses of narrative Rationality and ambiguity Towards a taxonomy of critical practices in design The taxonomy as an analytical tool Applications of the taxonomy Chapter 6: Critical design practice and its disciplinary contribution Summary Challenging disciplinary orthodoxy An extended role for industrial design: discipline, science and society Bibliography