Design Against Design is a creative research project investigating critical and oppositional graphic design practice and theory.
Conventional narratives of graphic design position the discipline as a glorified handmaiden to capitalism or as a purely aesthetic and technical practice largely divorced from the social contexts within which it exists. With the growing popularity of “design thinking”, “service design”, “social innovation” and “social impact design”, the language of marketing and commerce are further naturalised and celebrated. Participation, diversity, and inclusion are subsumed into a managerial and mercantile logic with, at best, token gestures towards charity or incremental political reform.
This narrative logic masks a vibrant counter-history of critical and activist design practices, rooted within struggles for social change and social justice. It marginalises the roles of contemporary politically engaged practitioners who are actively challenging the definitions of what design can be, what design can do, and whom it could serve.
Design Against Design seeks to deconstruct this logic and demystify graphic design in order to explore how it can genuinely support movements dedicated to social change and contribute to a dynamic and vital culture of resistance.
We invite you to use the #designagainstdesign hastag to highlight projects and initiatives that fit within this context. We aim to create a living archive to document, articulate and disseminate contemporary socially engaged design practices.