Response to The Poetics of Design Fiction

After reading The Poetics of Design Fiction I’m not entirely sure what point the authors were trying to make. They first state that:

“…design fiction as a method enabling the designer to “remove normative constraints from the commercial sector that define normative design processes”….design fiction as a much needed complementary method in user centered design that give designers access to inner felt aspects of user experience”

However, they later go on to enforce different constraints onto the process of designing design fiction pieces in their 4-step workshop. Although the outcomes of their workshop seem as unique as any other piece of design fiction, I wonder if their enforced design process held limitations for the designers working within the imposed constraints. One may argue that the 4-step process was merely a framework for building a speculative future. At what point does a framework for design become a constraining prescribed design process.

They also continually make the statement that in order to understand pieces of design fiction as a legitimate tool for design research they must be viewed through the lens of poetic literature.


“In this paper we argue that a better understanding of design fiction ultimately relies on an integrative view of poetics and design praxis.”

After reading a statement like this:

“Also, in Dunne and Raby as well as Auger literary techniques and writing practice are rarely brought into the methodological cross-breeding between literary practice and design, between the author and the designer.”

Do they mean to simply make the point that poetic literature is an under used tool in the arsenal of design fiction techniques? It’s just that, another tool. Maybe the reason it is less often used to prototype design fiction scenarios is simply because it’s a tool that designers, who create design fiction, are less familiar with and feel less comfortable working in. True, it is an important tool to helping an audience understand a piece of design fiction. That being said, when does using literature as a way of forming and analyzing design fiction does it become instead a piece of science fiction. When also does over analyzing a piece of design fiction cause it to lose it’s visceral impact on the audience. This experience can be disturbed by over analysis. Like the over explanation of a joke. Maybe it’s more effective if the audience seeks reflection on a piece in their own thoughts or through conversation rather than a written explanation.



One thought on “Response to The Poetics of Design Fiction

  1. I agree with you that designers maybe don’t use poetic literature in design fiction very often because it’s not what they are familiar with. But I also question whether its an underused tool. I’m still confused as to why many doctor who episode aren’t considered poetic literature as a medium for practicing design fiction. However it might be interesting to see what would come from a design program that didn’t require any physical manifestations for final project but also allowed for submissions of poetic literature. What does it look like to describe design solutions using poetic literature outside of the realm of design fiction?

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