As design receives the stamp of approval from consulting firms—catapulting it and its relatives (Design thinking! Creativity! Iteration!) into the ether of buzzwords, the new status quo raises some interesting provocations: Can design be quantified, appraised and used as a variable against which to run financial regression models? What are the ethical implications of the appraisal of design by consulting behemoths? And finally, how can designers wield this information to regain their agency?
Labels are inescapable. We often depend on them to make sense of a chaotic world. We label cans, drawings, spaces, art, and people. Labels can be blunt or nuanced; they abstract our bodies and categorize us; and they reinforce or negate identity. In this issue, we examine labels, where and why they exist (is there anywhere they do not exist?) and how they influence us. What does it mean to label someone or ourselves? Why do we label our work and the work of others? Do labels liberate us?