Contemporary design practice (and theory) is growing up. There is evidence to support the emergence of a new breed of designer who is able to reflect on her or his role in society, and to be critical of what they make and what the resultant consequences of that may be.
Design is often used as a vehicle to criticise and comment on issues, highlight problems and shortcomings in society, and present views and perspectives. This suggests that design is at a distance and impartial, but the truth is otherwise. Design is ideological and an expression of the values mediated by the designer and commissioned by others. This is the status quo: affirmative design. When design steps away from this position and critiques itself, critical design is the result.