News  |    |  April 30, 2016

A Case for Speculative Design in an Era of Post-Traumatic Designers

News article by Phil Balagtas. Published on


What is Speculative Design? I get that question a lot, and sometimes I stumble trying to explain it because I believe it’s best portrayed through examples. And depending on who you talk to, you might get a different name for it: Critical Design, Design Fiction, Discursive Design, Interrogative Design, Ludic Design. Really, it’s all the same thing. And if you asked Cameron Tonkinwise, he’d say it’s all “just design”.

In 2015 I founded a meetup organization and consultancy in San Francisco called Speculative Futures. To cover a broad range of topics we had to settle on one term. We use Speculative Design to describe work that uses design (products, services, scenarios) to address challenges and opportunities of the future. We tend to look 5–10+ years forward and speculate on how things could be and what future we want or don’t want based on these scenarios. Our mission is to try to democratize the process and expose our members to the work and methods that have been culminated over the years. [ . . . ]