Gunther Kress, in his latest book, argues for a shift from critique to the ethics of design. I won't rehearse all of his arguments here - but merely point to some important themes. Most of these relate to what has been called the condition of late modernity. In short we have witnessed a shift from a society in which workers produced and then consumed in their remaining free time, to a one in which consumers have become producers and sometimes work in their free time - and all of this in a globalised and heavily marketised economy in which the old stabilities of a social order have fragmented. Lifestyle becomes more important than social position and design or re-design becomes the available arena of agency and even resistance. Kress argues that design is prospective; critique retrospective. But there seems to be something awry when the discourse of the market starts to erase or at least re-write critical or emancipatory positions. It seems to me that one thing that the New Literacy Studies has in its favour is a foundational recognition that power structures practices. This strengthens its application to different socio-cultural settings and the particularities of place. It can therefore be applied to textual practices that seem to embody or live in the condition of late modernity - sketched out above - as well as in contexts where older and more familiar forms of social order persist. In literacy and media studies there is this tendency to stop short of spelling out what a new critical practice might look like, but I think it is well overdue.