M/C Journal was founded (as "M/C – A Journal of Media and Culture") in 1998 as a place of public intellectualism analysing and critiquing the meeting of media and culture. M/C Journal is a fully blind-, peer-reviewed academic journal, open to submissions from anyone. We take seriously the need to move ideas outward, so that our cultural debates may have some resonance with wider political and cultural interests. Each issue is organised around a one-word theme (see our past issues), and is edited by one or more guest editors with a particular interest in that theme. Each issue has a feature article which engages with the theme in some detail, followed by several shorter articles.
Between its broader sense of intent and that of making a drawing or plan, design appears to be expanding in both meaning and its application. Design is well understood when related to our material culture, where the medium often bears the imprint of the designer/s. Design has moved relatively seamlessly from the physical into the digital world. It makes sense that someone designs the applications that we use and that digital content, just as much as a poster, requires design. Design activities are rarely inseparable from a market economy, but the language of design has infiltrated business more broadly. Design processes are used in seemingly novel ways across business and governments seeking to improve their digital and real-world services. New usage related to users, perhaps unknowingly, replicates the interests of designers in the 1960s who sought a more equitable solutions to social problems experienced in the physical world. What loosely unites these disparate design disciplines diachronically and today is a shared sense that design improves the world we live in. But even with the best intentions, design does not inevitably lead to a better world. Our desire for stuff, and the social status this might bring, has helped to elevate designers into celebrities, but also heightened distinctions between the copy and the original. Design, either analogue or digital, has unintended consequences. These include, among other examples, the environmental degradation that emerges from design consumption through to the carbon footprint of the digital world.
This issue of M/C Journal seeks to critique design across its range of disciplines. Contributors are encouraged to engage critically with varied senses of design as method, practice and product, examining your own disciplines and research interests. The editors welcome papers that explore, but are not limited to: