Skip to content

Speculative Design: Crafting the speculation

Auger, J. (2013). Speculative design: crafting the speculation. Digital Creativity, 24, 1, 11-35.

Drawing on the work of Dunne and Raby this article outlines a number of approaches to Speculative Design practice. Auger draws on case study examples to scope the approaches to speculative practice and outline a number of research methodologies.  The paper focuses on the creation of desire and discomfort in speculative design and creating prototyping possible and plausible futures. The paper has a focus on iteration and reconfiguration of projects to best engage an audience with the designers values, message or objective. For Auger the mode of delivery is important to urge the audience to question the authenticity of the product.

Useful quotes
“The definition of speculative design, as it has much in common with other design related activities such as critical design, discursive design, design probes and design fictions.” (p 11)

“The word ‘fiction’ before design immediately informs the viewer that the object is not real; ‘probes’ infer that the object is part of an investigation; and both ‘discursive’ and ‘critical’ reveal the intentions of the object as an instigator of debate or philosophical analysis.” (p 12)

“speculative futures imagine, through the extrapolation of contemporary systems and product lineages, near future products and services. These are intended to act as a form of cultural litmus paper, testing potential products and services on both a mainstream audience and within industry, before they exist. Second, alternative presents are design proposals that utilise contemporary technology but apply different ideologies or configurations to those currently directing product development.” (p 12)

“If a design proposal is too familiar it is easily assimilated into the normative progression of products and would pass unnoticed.” (p 14)

“It is these real-life delivery methods that differentiate speculative designs from many of their cousins in science fiction” (p 20)

Further Reading
Bunzl, Martin. 2004. “Counterfactual History: A User’s Guide”. ahr/109.3/bunzl.html.

Philips. n.d. “Design Probes.” Accessed 27 February 2009. page.

Published inPhD