I have been thinking about how a lot of critical designs only exist as concepts. So some might say they don’t really exist, and yet, they are a great tool to stir our thoughts, and conversation starters. When I think of expensive sketches, I don’t necessarily mean in the sense that it has to be constructed, but it just has to be proposed. I like this idea. A lot. But it is not just the proposal, but the discussion, going through the process of designing this (even as a hypothetical), that makes us learn about our present, and expose the status quo in a way.

According to Dunne & Raby:

“The purpose of critical design is to make people think… Design needs to be closer to the everyday life, that’s where its power to disturb comes from… it suggests that the every day as we know it could be different, that things could change …things can be used and that we ask questions – questions about the here and now.”

So how can I bring this into my professional endeavours. Let’s say I get a client that is looking to improve the existing website. The ask is easy. So where would me throwing critical design concepts at my team come into play? I think there will be an interesting balance between cocepting and ideating just for kicks, before going back to the same design paradigms (the client wants a website, or the client wants an app), and slowly transition into different options, and being comfortable exposing the client to these, and who knows, maybe they like pushing those boundaries slowly. I like to think that if I make a point of always try concepting through a critical design lens, I will become more attuned to the boundaries of our design paradigm, and will perhaps be able to better serve the end user, by not subjecting them to a role I believe they should play in the system/service I help design. But I can already see the struggle. A constant uphill battle of satisfying the ask, and not adding to the world another senseless design, part of the trend, because at the end of the day, products sell (ughhh). But can we use what we learned in the process, taking those proposals, and going from the proposed future, to the present we are shaping?

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