From Google reviews to YouTube tutorials, and from online service desks to real-life ‘may I speak to the manager’ requests–we are all critics of our designed environments. It seems therefore strange, if not outrageous, that design criticism is a practice considered to be a haute-for-few instead of a low-for-all. Design belongs to all of us and, therefore, its criticism as well. How can we activate more people to become actively aware of and critical towards their designed environments?

In Spring 2020, Onomatopee launched CriticALL: an open call to advocate for (un) professional everyday design criticism. Participants were asked to submit a short text that criticizes, discusses, analyzes or reflects upon an everyday design object, system, environment, or construct. Anyone, from layman to professional, and everyone in between, was invited to submit an essay. Out of 70 submissions a selection of 15 short essays were chosen and are displayed in this book, alongside commissioned contributions by renowned (design) critics. With this book, Onomatopee wishes to break down the often closed circuit of design criticism and establish a grounding for a ‘design criticism for all’.

With contributions by Vanessa Brazeau, Lara Chapman, Pete Fung, Iskander Guetta, Adina Glickstein, Judith Leijdekkers, Ellen Lupton, Rosannagh Maddock, Jo Minhinnett, PLSTCTY Studio, Josh Plough, Alice Rawsthorn, Bessie Rubinstein, Y. Selim, Lauren Thu, Anniek Tijmes, Joannette van der Veer, Vincent van Velsen, Stijn van de Vyver and Zack Wellin.


2020 Onomatopee Projects; Curator & Editor: Joannette van der Veer; Graphic Design: Wibke Bramesfeld