The use of ‘design’ within qualitative research on crime and victimisation, and within the social disciplines more generally, has seen very little commentary or discussion. ‘Design’ is referred to throughout as the professional and scholarly practice rather than the ‘research design’, that is, the practical plan for the methods used to generate data. Design in this former sense has historically drawn on both arts and engineering to give form to garments, products and visual communication. This article presents a case study, followed by a reflective discussion, of a research project in which research through design methods were used to construct two focus groups involving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people and police liaison officers as part of a hate crime project. Participants were asked to design reporting devices that would respond to hateful behaviour. Through the design process, participants materialised their own experiences of hate and embodied emotional responses to those experiences. The authors argue that there are methodological, ideological and practical benefits for incorporating research through design methods within qualitative research on crime and victimisation. Design offers a way of critically and creatively reimagining how research methods are understood and utilised, challenging how criminological methodologies traditionally operate.