Demonstrating and Anticipating in Distributed Design Practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Research units

  • Illinois Institute of Technology


The organizational forms of design work, like that in many other industries, are being transformed through the possibilities and constraints of the adoption and use of digital technologies. Based on a two-year qualitative study of over 65 designers and design educators in four countries, this article describes the emergent digital materiality of design work. While designers are still heavily invested in studio-based practices that prioritize face-to-face sessions along with highly visual and tangible physical materials, they are also finding ways of working in distributed contexts. By analysing the ways in which digital technologies are used, mapped onto existing design practices and mobilized, we describe the ways in which the boundaries of design practice are being extended beyond the studio. Building on key theories in science and technology studies, such as inscription devices and conscription devices, we argue that these emergent practices can be understood through notions of anticipatory topologies and anticipatory devices in which designers must find ways of sharing and presenting their work for distributed contexts. Specifically, to successfully design for these contexts, designers are re-considering issues related to legibility, ownership and persuasion in anticipation of the needs of their collaborators and clients.


Original languageEnglish
JournalDemonstrations: Journal for Experiments in the Social Studies of Technology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

ID: 31051706