The Manual of Design Fiction

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From the Near Future Laboratory, the definitive book describing in accessible and vivid detail the origins, evolution, and practice of design fiction: “the practice of creating tangible and evocative prototypes from possible near futures, to help discover and represent the consequences of decision making.”

by Julian Bleecker, Nick Foster, Fabien Girardin and Nicolas Nova in collaboration with Patrick Pittman and Chris Frey of No Media Co.


 

Anab Jain

“The Manual of Design Fiction is an unparalleled, rigorous insight into the philosophy and practice of design fiction from the pioneers of the approach. With this extensive publication, The Near Future Laboratory demonstrate the need and urgency of bringing design fiction approaches to business. This book is not a step by step how-to guide nor is it a treasure trove of quick fix methods and tools for those interested in applying design fiction to their work. Rather, and more importantly, this is a book about an approach, a philosophy, a mindset. And a crucial one at that; one that will not limit us to tools we already use to address familiar problems, but rather an approach that opens up the ways in which we can address uncertainty and traverse new possibilities.”

Anab Jain - designer, futurist, filmmaker and educator, co-founder of Superflux


We find ourselves at a moment in time when an increasingly complex state of the world - and our place within it - makes an orientation towards the future not only relevant, but essential. Today, no future is improbable, which is why the unanticipated white space - the void of unknown unknowns - must be investigated, considered and discussed at all levels of an organization.

From climate change and economic instability to rising inequality and the fragility of democratic institutions, we face a panoply of uncertainties. For too long major decision makers have largely treated the future as a matter of business modeling, an engineering problem, some sort of sexy vision exercise, or savvy marketing campaign to foment anticipation around future products. What we need are alternative frameworks or mindsets for decision making that consider solutions along with their risks and implications, while incorporating a diversity of both disciplinary and human viewpoints. Design fiction is a method to vividly render tangible future scenarios before taking action, using a process that is broadly collaborative and includes a variety of stakeholders or interests.

Over fifteen years in the making, this book explores the origins of design fiction, and details the practical approach to assessing the consequences of decision making by creating tangible artifacts from possible futures. Design fiction opens up new conversations and considerations whilst augmenting existing, well-trodden research and foresight practices.

The Near Future Laboratory has used design fiction approaches with clients such as Apple, Warner Bros, IKEA, Edelman, Dubai Museum of the Future, Google and Facebook, and aims to bring these techniques to a wider audience through the publication of this book.


Product Details:

Hardcover, Cloth Bound, Silk Ribbon, 261 pages.
Written by Julian Bleecker, Nick Foster, Fabien Girardin and Nicolas Nova with Chris Frey and Patrick Pittman; additional contributions by Israel Viadest
Edited by Chris Frey and Patrick Pittman of No Media. Designed by Chris Lange
Set in Lyon Text (2009) by Kai Bernau and anchored with Classic Grotesque (2012) by Rod McDonald.
Language: English
Published by Near Future Laboratory, Venice, California, USA
First printing, 2022
Printed by Ofset Yapimevi in Istanbul Turkey on the Heidelberg Speedmaster SX102
ISBN 978-0-9905633-1-0

Anticipated ship date November 1st, 2022.


“Somewhere between whimsy and earnestness, between hope and terror, between seriousness and sight gags, lives ‘design fiction’, a method and a medium for structured hope about futures we may dread or yearn for”

Cory Doctorow - Journalist, Author