Design Writing

by Peter Hall

[email protected]


• "Building a Forum: The Ayotzinapa Case: Stefan Laxness with Peter Hall" (2019); Diagrams of Power: Visualizing, Mapping and Performing Resistance, edited by Patricio Dàvila. Eindhoven: Onomatopee.

• "Of Neon, Road Signs, and Head Shapes: A Case for Generative Criticism" (2018) The Routledge Companion to Criticality in Art, Architecture, and Design, edited by Chris Brisbin and Myra Thiessen. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis.

"When Objects Fail: Unconcealing Things in Design Writing and Criticism" (2017) in Encountering Things: Design and Theories of Things, edited by Leslie Atzmon and Prasad Boradkar. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

• "Critical Visualization: A case for rethinking how we visualize risk and security" (2015) co-authored with Claude Heath and Lizzie Coles-Kemp. In Journal of Cyber Security. Oxford University Press. 

• "Counter Mapping and Globalism" (2014).  In Design in the Borderlands, edited by Eleni Kalantidou and Tony Fry. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis. 

• "Changes in Design Criticism". Design and Culture March 2013

• Opening and Closing Remarks, DesignInquiry Fastforward. June 2013

•"On Mapping and Maps". Design Philosophy Papers 2/2012 

• "Graphic Design"; in Norman Bel Geddes: American Designer, edited by Donald Albrecht. New York: Abrams, 2012. 

• "Bubbles, Lines, and String: How Information Visualization Shapes Society"; in Graphic Design: Now in Production, edited by Andrew Blauvelt and Ellen Lupton. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 170-185. 


Peter Hall is Senior Lecturer and Course Leader, BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins University of the Arts London. His research uses mapping and visualisation as participatory design processes, with recent applications in cyber security, health and well-being. 

Dr Hall was previously Programme Director of BA Design and Design Futures at Griffith University Queensland College of Art in Australia (2012-15), Senior Lecturer in Design at the University of Texas at Austin (2007-12), and Lecturer in Graphic Design at Yale School of Art, USA (2000-2007). Recent essays appear in the journals Design and Culture, Design Philosophy Papers and the books Design in the Borderlands (2014), Graphic Design Reader (Bloomsbury 2018) and The Routledge Companion to Criticality in Art, Architecture and Design (Routledge 2018). His books include Else/Where: Mapping - New Cartographies of Networks and Territories (edited with Janet Abrams, 2006),Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist (1999) and Sagmeister: Made You Look (2001). He is a Visitor to the Information Security Group at Royal Holloway University of London and Co-founder of DesignInquiry, a non-profit educational organization devoted to researching design issues in intensive team-based gatherings.


• "Re-integrating Design Education: Lessons from History" Design Research Society 2016: Future Focused Thinking. 27-30 June 2016, Brighton UK. 

• "DI(dot)EDU - A DesignInquiry Agitation, with Denise Gonzales Crisp, Emily Luce and Ben Van Dyke. Swiss Design Network Unfrozen 2016 .

• “The Uses of Failure” keynote, School of Visual Arts, New York, April 30, 2010. Crossing the Line: The 2010 D-Crit Conference from D-Crit on Vimeo.

• "Writing Design History: Problems and Provocations" at D-Crit, School of Visual Arts, New York, December 8, 2009. (Core77 post). Full lecture here!

• "Mapping as a Design Process" at ICOGRADA World Design Congress 2009 Beijing, China October 28, 2009.

• "Problems of Design History" at Why I Write, a London College of Communication event held at the Design Council, London, June 3, 2009. 

• "Weapons of Mass Persuasion: Collaborative Planning with Loaded Tools and Wicked Problems"Mapping/Networks: Exploring the intersection of media, public process and design Harvard Graduate School of Design, Thursday, April 16th, 2009 

• “Mapping as a doubly operative design process,” lecture, University of Houston (Graphic Design). October 17, 2008

• “Mapping and Representation,” panel, Conflux 2008, American Institute of Architects, New York. Moderator, September 12, 2008

• “Disassembly & Immateriality: How We Make Stuff Disappear” lecture, IDSA Texas Design Odyssey 10 | BEING GREEN University of Houston, College of Architecture. Feb 9, 2008 

Older articles & essays:

• "The Total Package: Grimshaw Industrial Design creates a seamless interface between the building and its users." Metropolis March 2011

• "The Art of Mapping" TEDx Austin February 18 2011.

• "Museum of Design Failure", Australian Broadcasting Corporation By Design 9 February 2011.

• "Uses of Failure/Usare il fallimento: The days of armchair design criticism are over. How does design work? And where does it go wrong?" Abitare 508, December 2010. 

• "Mapping Design History" Adobe Design and Film School Connection

• "New Contexts/New Practices: Six Views of the AIGA Design Educators Conference. (FUDGE IT AND NUDGE IT)" with Alice Twemlow, Design Observer, December 2, 2010.

• "From CSS to Crystal Palace: Learning Design History by Building Connections." Paper presented at Southeastern College Art Conference conference, Richmond, VA. Oct 23, 2010

• Report on Social Economies: Enterprise with a New Cultural Geography co-authoring group (with Alice Twemlow) at New Contexts New Practices, AIGA educators Conference, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. Oct 8-10, 2010. 

• "Back to School: Education experts tell us that kids today learn in fundamentally different ways. Why haven’t our classrooms changed to reflect this shift?" Metropolis June 2010

• "Water Works: Led by a hard-charging CEO and his right-hand man, Grohe uses design to remake both the bathroom and its own business." Metropolis March 2010

• "Next Big Thing: Ross Lovegrove’s new series for Artemide is just the latest in the company’s 50-year investment in design." Metropolis May 2009

• "Disorderly Reasoning in Information Design" Perspectives, special issue of Journal of American Society for Information Science and Technology (Wiley 2009)

• "Diagrams and their Future in Urban Design" Marck Garcia, ed., Diagrams of Architecture (Wiley 2009) 

• "True Cost Button-Pushing: Rewriting Industrial Design in America." Design Philosophy Papers Issue 2/2009.

• "A Good Argument: The 20th-century definition of “good design” was driven primarily by form. Today the stakes are too high, and the world too complex, for a superficial response." Metropolis, March 2009

• "Selective Recall: Critics of the Museum of Arts and Design missed the real point of the building." Metropolis, November 2008

• "Critical Visualization" Design and the Elastic Mind (Museum of Modern Art, Feb 2008) 

• "Sizing China: The world’s first digital database of Asian head and face shapes could help change the way all industrial designers think about ergonomics and fit." Metropolis, March 2008

• "Hear Color, See Sound: Architect Christopher Janney’s playful public art acts as an aural and light-filled salve to the alienating effects of the built environment." Metropolis, September 2007

• “The Principals of Play: Can game designers reach a generation of students reared on technology and resistant to traditional methods of teaching?” Metropolis, September 2006

• "Neon Typography" in Fail Again; DesignInquiry Journal; 2008; 

"Seeing Green: Designing for Conservation"Think Tank, July 2007

"Holding Patterns" (pdf interview with Paul Mijksenaar) in Janet Abrams and Peter Hall, eds. Else/Where:Mapping - New Cartographies of Networks and Territories (University of Minnesota Design Institute 2006)

"People as Pixels" Trace, the AIGA Journal of Design, Volume 1, Number 2, 2001

“Teaching the Bigger Picture: Design schools need to shift focus from the form of objects to understanding the systems that produce them.” (Metropolis, April 2007)

• “Searching for a Premise: The current [National Design Museum] Triennial has not only abandoned themes, but also any sense of a guiding curatorial voice.” (Metropolis, Februrary 2007)

• “Bursting Out: Using digital technology, architects Jeremy Edmiston and Douglas Gauthier break free from the conventional box that has long defined prefab houses.” (Metropolis, December 2006)

• “Rules of the Road: New materials and innovative design are making folding bicycles an urban reality. But can American car-culture change enough to make them safe to ride?” (Metropolis, Februrary 2005)

• "Laurie Haycock and Scott Makela." AIGA medalist profile. 

• “Jazz at Lincoln Center Trio: Viñoly, Marsalis, and Gibson put some swing into the huge new Columbus Circle project.” (Metropolis, November 2000)

Class project blogs (freshman Signature Course project) (Design sophomores Spring 2010-11) Design, Theory and Method (Junior class Fall 08) (Graduate class Fall 08 & Sophomore class Spring 08)