The primary aim of this volume is to endorse research reporting that prioritizes the materiality of design research, placing artefacts of research practice centre stage. Discussions focus on ‘research through design’ and some go further, interconnecting the verbal, textual, physical and visual within the description and discussion of inquiry methods informed by practice. Two important considerations in contemporary Design disciplines are brought to the fore: how best to document the realities of research through design practice and how to recognise and differentiate the wide-ranging roles that the artefact may take within the research. This special issue signals a constructive break from conventional journal formatting, with submissions that reflect new and alternative conceptualisations of design research. They challenge expected mechanisms for communicating and translating research to broader audiences through the communicative power of combining and interweaving visual and textual elements. This has resulted in a departure from the SMT ‘house style’ in favour of more eclectic and individualistic paper design and formatting.