Bruce Sterling’s “Design Fiction” piece is today’s required reading:
The infrastructure of publishing constrains the thinking of writers. Obviously, all forms of art and design have some inherent constraints-but it seems to me that writers are especially misled by the apparent freedoms of language. Published language, in print, on paper, is not language per se: It’s an industrial artifact.
Writers cling hard to the word, to semantics, to meaning and sensibility. Design, by contrast, is less verbal. Design is busily inventing new ways to blow itself apart. Design is taking more risks with itself than literature. That is why contemporary design feels almost up to date, while literature feels archaic and besieged.
Design and literature don’t talk together much, but design has more to offer literature at the moment than literature can offer to design. Design seeks out ways to jump over its own conceptual walls-scenarios, user observation, brainstorming, rapid prototyping, critical design, speculative design. There is even “experience design,” which is surely the most imperial, most gaseous, most spectral form of design yet invented.
There is a lot to digest, and it’s tasty and awesome.