Design Fiction is….

The Praxis and Poetics reading made a connection between design fiction and design research that I previously wouldn’t have considered. I view design research as a means to examine how people act and think now to influence how we design for them in the near future. Design Fiction on the other hand, to me, is making a statement about a future possibility through the creation of a world, scenario, or object.  Based on this and the reading, I still feel that they are separate practices. However, they do rely on each other. As in the scenario discussed, history and research can influence the creation of design fiction and vis versa, a compelling piece of design fiction could inspire design research into a particular area. I think it is essential to think of these practices as separate because their different fundamental starting points. Design research starts at looking at a behavior, situation, or place and digs to find out how something could be changed, how people act, or why they do. Design Fiction takes a situation, practice, etc and sees far ahead in what could result from it and begins to shape a world around it. While the two can help each other drastically, one should not be confused for the other. If the reading had provided a definition and discussion into what design research, it could redefine what the relationship is between design fiction and design research.

I think that Design Fiction is a misleading term because its difficult to understand the term “design” without practicing it. Designers tell non-designers about how designers work effectively with other disciplines and need to know a bit of everything to design effectively. So when design fiction offers more complicated ideas and prototypes involving in depth understandings of other areas, it can seem like  design fiction is trying to predict the future, even when its not. However, if you don’t practice design it isn’t always obvious that a key part of design is about sparking conversation and utilizing it to create something better. Without the understanding of how design functions, it is easy to misinterpret design fiction and miss the conversation.


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