CCS Critical Design: Theory into Professional Practice

Mini Block 3 Brief Introduction 

“Design can be described as falling into two very broad categories: affirmative design and critical design. The former reinforces how things are now; it conforms to the cultural, social, technical and economic expectation. Most design falls into this category. The latter rejects how things are now as being the only possibility; it provides a critique of the prevailing situation through designs that embody alternative social, cultural, technical or economic values… Critical design or design that asks carefully crafted questions that make us think, is just as difficult and just as important as design that solves problems or finds answers.”  Dunne and Raby, Design Noir the Secret Life of Electronic Objects, 2001

This week we are back with our original tutors for CCS Dipti and Tom who introduced our new brief, Critical Design: Theory into Professional Practice. Learning about critical theory and the concepts of critical design. Helping us with this mini block and next years dissertation. 

We were set homework to take a look at two readings, States of Design 04: Critical Design, by Paola Antonelli and MIRZOEFF, Plug-In Theory. A clear introduction to theoretical ideas and thinking. 

After reading both we were asked to answer the question; What connections can you make between the ideas in both readings? and map the answers out by creating an A4 poster. I created my map using a very clear colourful key which helped to categorise my answers.

Mindmap CCS.jpgWe were also asked to bring to the seminar a list of examples of Criticality. 

  • Experiments
  • Conclusions
  • Laws
  • Decisions 
  • Beliefs
  • Physics

Last but not least we had to watch two videos linked to the theme of Critical Design one titled Alice’s Restaurant, a popular song by Alro Guthrie which was released in 1967 and Benjamin Zepphaniah, Britain’s  political poet performing his poem titled ‘To Do Wid Me’.

All of the above readings and videos have helped me to have a clearer understanding of Critical Design thinking how it can be very closely linked with all things Cultural, Economical, Political and Social. 




Exploring Ethics

In CCS for the past 6 weeks we have been studying the Ethics. We have rocketed through 6 subjects linked to Ethics and I have taken notes regarding each subject.

Underlining ethic issues such as;

Sustainability | Green Concerns – Copyright Law | Intellectual Property – Codes of Advertising Practice ‘Telling the Truth’ – Responsible Practice when Imaging People – Digital Ethics (The Net Etc) – Gender – Race – Disability – Age – Discrimination

I have chosen to base my essay on Death within Photography and Telling The Truth. How in some cases history can be hidden due to what people want to reveal and what others may or may not want to hear. My essay features three very famous images The Most Beautiful Suicide By Robert.C Wiles and Dead Haitian Girl By Fabienne Charisma.







Below is a link to my essay in PDF format, feel free to read through and comment. 

The Hidden ‘Truth’ – All that may be historically unknown

Chapman Ethics Case Study


CCS | Olympic Park

D E A R  D I A R Y,

One breezy afternoon, I ventured out to visit the newly built Olympic Park in Stratford, East London. Existing since the 2012 Olympics. Many incredible drastic changes have been made to Stratford in the past two to three years, along with the newly built shopping centre, Stratford City, Westfield, the park itself and the olympic village which are still growing day by day. A futuristic city built for people of all ages.

Taking the first long, cobbled path I had once travelled before, I noticed many new and improved parts to the area. Creative sculptures I never noticed on my last visit. A small interesting part of the park caught my eye. A small scaled green, filled with colourful flowers, a beautiful nature scene unexpected to be found in the middle of one of East London’s park. The flowers bring a calm and collective feel to the industrial area along with it’s long strips of cobbled pavement, and inviting walkways.

I was intrigued by the amazing sculptures, all created specifically for the park by independent contemporary artists who worked in partnership with architect and designers to develop and install each design piece. Each artist inspired by the waving landscapes, buried histories, community memories, song titles, flowing water, energy, ideas of shelter and protection, discovery and adventure. Very rooted ideas helping to fire up new creative conversations and adding art to this very textured part of East London.

Design commissioned and supported by a group of young filmmakers from east London. The first sculpture I was drawn to was a two panelled elemental shelter shaped design. An inviting cave shaped space. I was attracted to It’s leaning concrete slabs which cross in an X styled shape which are only accessible from one side. A perfect hiding place for young children. The dark coloured slabs reflect and represent the industrial history of Stratford.


CCS Images 1

O L Y M P I C  S I G N


CCS Images Olympic Rings

T U M B L I N G  B A Y  P L A Y G R O U N D , C L I M B I N G  T O W E R


CCS Image Playground


CCS | City Places

Mapping Personal and Sharing Journeys 

There are many ways in which cities and journeys are imaged. Each one artistically designed to show direction, colours are added to express details included in many journeys travelled which makes each journey easier for people to follow. The structured lines express how long or short certain routes are helping us to work out the length and time it will take to reach destinations using public transport or on foot.

Installation for the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Triennial: Inside Design Now, 2004

Scher’s essay is written in a very personal context, expressing her families history. Her essay has taught me to appreciate the fine art of map design and how others may see direction differently. Maps are not just lines or detailed drawn roads to show us which way to go. They are made up of amazing features, typography, patterns, and art full of beautiful hidden messages.

Her father was a “ civil engineer ” focusing mainly on photogrammetry. He studied the science of cameras, a subject I have never come across before now. Maps can be pretty personal to us especially the ones closest to home or places we love to visit. I agree with the strong point she made about being younger and how she would sometimes mistake or misinterpret certain things her father had told her. e.g: “distortion” was akin to “lying” something was either true or false, black or white, no shades of gray.” I feel distortion is expressed mostly in the image titled Installation for the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Triennial: Inside Design Now, 2004. This map looks pretty difficult to follow with very small font in most places. I would not be able to follow this map as it is not very clear.


‘Pattern of the World’, Tea and coffee stains on dressmaking pattern papers, Susan Stockwell, 2000. Museum no. E.1095-2000

I was drawn to this image instantly. A stunning introduction image titled ‘Patterns of the World’, designed using the tea and coffee stain method. The minimal use of colours attracted me. The light beige shaded paper and deep caramel printed patterns add a military styled effect. The perfect earthy textures adds a lot of individuality to this map design. A mixture of two simple images, a birds eye view of our world map combined with geometric shaped patterns similar to exterior design sketches. I love the way two aspects of the world are blended together in such a delicate way. I feel this map design focuses a lot on culture, the colours used expresses poverty existing in different countries. The sharp sketched edges frame the world map design focusing the viewers eyes directly to the tea stained print. Similar to a treasure map with very minimal detailed lines, an image of imagination. This is another map which is difficult to follow as there are no labelled areas.