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Pentagram partner and award-winning designer Natasha Jen created quite a stir when she confidently announced to the world in June 2017 that ‘Design Thinking was Bullshit’. Jen’s critique was fairly simple. In a sharp and witty 13 minutes denunciation, she pointed at the lack of design critique within Design Thinking practices.
Design critiques — or crits — are a cornerstone of design practices; and it would be difficult to assess the relevance or value of any design proposition without them. Empirical and discursive rather than logical and terse, they push designers to answer the ultimate and only valid question: why?
Critical Design is often defined as a discipline that challenges the status quo. A discipline that challenges audiences’ pre-conceived ideas and expectations, thereby provoking new ways of thinking about a design, or an idea. And if design is also its thinking then Natasha Jen’s keynote surely was a critical design piece of its own.