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Design research is constantly in need of a critical and interpretative views. This matters because we need to unpack the processes of designing. It is important that we are able to to make explicit the legacies of what we design and the designs we study, along with their dynamics and power to communicate.

Products, interactions, systems and services – and their blends – embed and encapsulate choices and configurations. These too are situated in contexts of their shaping, use and circulation. Research in design builds knowledge through making and reflection on it, including the generation of new concepts and methods. Yet it also tackles how and what we know by applying and critiquing theoretical and methodological approaches. Our view is that criticality is often also a tacit part of the activities of designing and needs to be highlighted in interpretative, hermeneutic and theoretically rich analyses. Design research needs to draw on a variety of research methods and approaches that also connect to the roles and functions of design in social, cultural and political contexts. Criticality has a cental role in teasing out the methodological approaches and modes of knowing that are implicated within practice-informed and practice-led research in design. Design also needs theory building and this too is included in our perspective on a sociocultural framing of design and research.