Industrial design

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Industrial design is the use of both applied art and applied science to improve the aesthetics, ergonomics, functionality, and/or usability of a product, and it may also be used to improve the product's marketability and even production. In the 19th century this field was originally called "Industrial art," close related to the umbrella term Industrial arts.

Quotes[edit]

Quotes are arranged in chronological order

19th century[edit]

1800-1850[edit]

  • It appears that all the students who enter the school commence as if they were intended for artists in the higher sense of the word, and are not expected to decide as to whether they will devote themselves to the Fine Arts or to Industrial Design, until after they have completed their exercises in the drawing and painting of the figure from the antique and from the living model. It is for this reason, and from the fact that artists for industrial purposes are both well-paid and highly considered (as being well-instructed men), that so many individuals in France engage themselves in both pursuits.
The King of Bavaria has been the first to see the necessity of an edifice constructed solely for Exhibitions of Industrial Art
- The Art Union, 1844
  • Paris, Vienna, Berlin, and, we may now say, London, together with many other cities in which periodical Exhibitions of Industrial Art take place, have not, as yet, any appropriate edifice - for these Exhibitions, but some temporary erection or already - existing building is fitted up for the purpose. When the multitude of productions as impose the necessity of an especial erection, it has been necessarily attended with great expense, which is the more objectionable since it is destined to be removed after a very brief existence. The King of Bavaria has been the first to see the necessity of an edifice constructed solely for Exhibitions of Industrial Art, and has, accordingly, caused to be erected a suitable building, of which we are enable to present an engraving. It was inaugurated on the 25th of last August, the King's birthday.
  • Fine Art then, records by idealised imitation the glorious works of good men, whilst it holds those of bad men up to our abhorrence — it gives to posterity their images, either on the tinted canvass or the sculptured marble — it imitates the beautiful effects of nature as seen in the glowing landscape or the rising storm, and perpetuates the appearance of those beauteous gems of the seasons — flowers and fruits, which, though fading whilst the painter catches their tints, yet live after decay by and through his genius.
    Industrial Art, on the contrary, aims at the embellishment of the works of man, by and through that power which is given to the artist for the investigation of the beautiful in nature; and in transferring it to the loom, the printing machine, the potter's wheel, or the metal worker's mould, he reproduces nature in a new form, adapting it to his purpose by an intelligence arising out of his knowledge as an artist and as a workman. In short, the adaptation of the natural type to a new material compels him to reproduce, almost create, as well as imitateinvent as well as copy — design as well as draw!

1850-1900[edit]

There is no prima facie reason why cheap things should be ugly, for a die or mould of a good design costs no more than a bad one; but still the fact remains that the objects in use in every-day life are not beautiful, and it is to effect a change in this respect that the Government have established Schools of Design...
- William Burges, 1865
  • INDUSTRIAL DESIGN is destined to become a universal language ; for in our material age of rapid transition, from abstract, to applied, Science — in the midst of our extraordinary tendency towards the perfection of the means of conversion, or manufacturing production — it must soon pass current in every land.
  • The study of Industrial Design is really as indispensably necessary as the ordinary rudiments of learning. It ought to form an essential feature in the education of young persons for whatever profession or employment they may intend to select, as the great business of their lives; for without a knowledge of drawing, no scientific work, whether relating to Mechanics, Agriculture, or Manufactures, can be advantageously studied.
  • The triumph of the industrial arts will advance the cause of civilization more rapidly than its warmest advocates could have hoped, and contribute to the permanent prosperity and strength of the country far more than the most splendid victories of successful war.
  • In treating the subject a purpose has been kept in view, viz., to try to explain the principles involved in certain methods employed for the production of ornament, and this in order to guide the industrial designer to sure and certain results. To be successful the processes involved in the production of articles of manufacture must be understood, and to this the earnest attention of all interested in the improvement of manufacture should be directed. The abstract teaching of design is comparatively valueless, and success will only be achieved when to the taste of the designer the skill of the workman is united.
    • W.C. Aiken "Ancient and modern metal-working and ornamentation" in: Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol. 2, The Society (1854) p. 234.
  • Let us, then, take care of that art which is intended to penetrate into the houses of the lowly. In doing this we may rest assured, that that which is intended to embrace a more exalted position will not be forgotten. Let us not lose tight of the sentiment to nobly expressed by the poet — blind yet bold — when he says:—
"Beauty is Nature's coin — must not be hoarded,
But must be current — and the good thereof
Consists in mutual and partaken bliss,
Unsavoury in the enjoyment of itself."
  • W.C. Aiken "Ancient and modern metal-working and ornamentation" in: Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol. 2, The Society (1854) p. 234.
  • It has been well observed that the world, more especially the English portion of it, during the last half century, has been in its working dress; that is to say, although we have done some very wonderful things in the way of mechanics, and have produced other things which are marvels of cheapness, yet as regards the production of really beautiful objects, particularly those required in every-day life, we have been behind most other epochs of civilization. Of course there is no prima facie reason why cheap things should be ugly, for a die or mould of a good design costs no more than a bad one; but still the fact remains that the objects in use in every-day life are not beautiful, and it is to effect a change in this respect that the Government have established Schools of Design and the excellent Museum of which I shall have to speak hereafter. Great praise must also be given to the Society of Arts for beginning the movement and carrying it on to the present time; and although the sphere of its action must necessarily be infinitely smaller than that of the Government Schools, yet we should always remember that the initiative of our great English exhibitions of industry came from the Society, and that it is to those exhibitions that we owe the stirring among the dry bones of industrial art which is now taking place.
  • At the suggestion of the publishers, this work was undertaken to form one of their series of Dictionaries and Cyclopeadias. In this view, it has been the intention to make it a complete course of instruction and book of reference to the mechanic, architect and engineer. It has not, therefore, been confined to the explanation and illustration of the methods of projection, and the delineation of objects which might serve as copies to the draughtsman, matters of essential importance for the correct and intelligible representation of every form; but it contains the means of determining the amount and direction of strains to which different parts of a machine or structure may be subjected, and the rules for disposing and proportioning of the material employed, to the safe and permanent resistance of those strains, with practical applications of the same.
  • The plan of the books is the first systematic effort made in this country to cover the whole field of Art Education for schools, by embracing every subject included under the head of Elementary Drawing. Pupils going through the course in all the subjects will be thoroughly grounded, and prepared either for practical industrial art or the further professional study of the fine arts.
The industrial designer should possess a knowledge of the processes of the manufacture in which his designs will be utilized, as well as of the properties and capabilities of the material to which they will be applied.
- Sir Philip Magnus, 1888.
  • This question of industrial design is nearly distinct from the general Art education of the public, the former being very much a manufacturers' undertaking, while the other, being of the first importance, appeals to the community at large for sympathy and support.
    • The British Architect: A Journal of Architecture and the Accessory Arts, Vol. 1, 1874, p. 63.
  • Our industrial design is very bad still — a great deal of it — though infinitely better than it was thirty years ago. So a great deal of our teaching of design may be, I fear is, unsound; but all the sound teaching we have is through such schools as this, and even in our errors there is, let us hope, instruction.
    • The British Architect: A Journal of Architecture and the Accessory Arts, Vol. 1, 1874, p. 134.
  • The only way of reaping a harvest of good industrial design is by sowing the seed of good Art.
    • The British Architect: A Journal of Architecture and the Accessory Arts, Vol. 1, 1874, p. 134.
  • The subject of industrial design is one of three important practical co-related subjects which should be taught in public schools, and to which practice and skill in drawing should be applied. Satisfactory results in this subject, however, depend entirely upon the manner in which it is taught. Instruction in industrial design means a clear presentation of the principles which obtain in the construction and harmonious arrangement of geometric form for decorative purposes, the proper use of plant forms in ornamental arrangements, and the principles of good taste to be found in the great history styles of art.
  • There are many branches of manufacturing industry which greatly depend for their success upon the designer's art, and it is necessary that the industrial designer should possess a knowledge of the processes of the manufacture in which his designs will be utilized, as well as of the properties and capabilities of the material to which they will be applied.

20th century[edit]

1900-1950[edit]

1900s
  • The course in industrial design is as follows: First year: Free-hand drawing — Drawing in outline from the flat, from groups of geometrical solids, from objects, memory drawing. Industrial design — Geometrical and free-hand designing in flat outline, historical ornament (ancient) . Mechanical drawing — Elementary perspective, practical geometry. Mathematics — Mensuration, ^first year), Euclid, book 1 (one term only). Second year Free-hand drawing — Drawing in light and shade from the flat and model, from groups of geometrical solids, from ornamental casts, from objects, memory drawing. Industrial design — Designing from plant forms in outline (flat), elementary color (flat), historical ornament (medieval). Third year: Free-hand drawing — Continuation of work of second year, drawing in monochrome, memory drawing. Industrial design — Plastic design, historical ornament (modern), history of design, clay modeling. Work in the special courses is intended largely to supplement the work done in the regular course, but it is of a much more practical nature.
    • United States. Bureau of Labor, ‎Carroll Davidson Wright (1902) Trade and technical education, p. 694.
1910s
1920s
  • The designer of today, in most branches of art and particularly in the field of industrial design, needs more than vision and inspiration. This can be seen easily by anyone who will trouble himself to analyze the motif of some costly production and consider its chance to endure on the basis of artistic worth, rather than mere excellence of technical finish.
    • Industrial Arts and Vocational Education. Vol. 11, 1922, p. 54.
  • In brief the industrial designer is a fashion designer of industrial products and is called upon by industry and manufacturers to "style" their products or to "streamline" them.
    • Industrial Florida (1923) Industrial Florida, Orange Press. p. 185
1930s
  • Modern industrial design has advanced at a rapid pace during the last ten years. Its successes are no longer confined to objects which, like automobiles and airplanes, are themselves the product of new conditions. Modern design has also begun to conquer the traditional arts, and the feeling for abstract form, first expressed in our time in the works of Picasso, Braque, Brancusi, Duchamps-Villon in Europe, or Stieglitz, Benton, and Storrs for example in the United States, has finally entered architecture and the decorative arts.
    • Lewis Mumford (1930) "Culture and Machine Art." in: Modern American design. R.L. Leonard, & ‎C.A. Glassgold (eds.), ‎American Union of Decorative Artists and Craftsmen. p. 9.
  • Modern industrial design is based on the principle of conspicuous economy [but] the bourgeois culture which dominates the Western World is founded... on the principle of conspicuous waste.
  • One of the functions of an industrial designer is to bridge the gap between manufacturer and ultimate buyer.
    • The Michigan Technic, Vol. 46-47, 1932, p. 13
1940s
  • This book is aimed primarily at the young person making his choice of a vocation. It is also designed to give business executives and engineers a clear idea of how the industrial designer operates, what he can do for their business, and how much to expect from him after he has been engaged.
    • Harold L. Van Doren Industrial Design: A Practical Guide, McGraw-Hill book Company, Incorporated, 1940. Introduction.
  • The industrial designer is found in many fields of industry, which represent a wide diversity of manufactured products. Some of these fields are: Automobiles, airplanes, boats, trains, trailers, trucks; vacuum cleaners, washing machines, toasters, electric fans, lamps; furniture, hardware, electrical equipment; china, glassware, pottery; silverware; garden implements; farm machinery; tools of all kinds;
    • Institute for Research (Chicago, Ill.) (1940) Industrial Designing as a Career. p. 3.
  • Industrial design is not necessary in the production of goods; but it makes goods more acceptable.
    • John Gloag, ‎Grace Lovat Fraser (1945) Plastics and industrial design, p. 56.
  • A most important element for the consideration of the industrial designer is sales. There is only one reason for hiring an industrial designer, and that is to increase the sales of a product.
  • In speaking and thinking of industrial design, care must be taken not to limit its application to the few obvious trades. Industrial design is important to every industry and its value in most hast already been demonstrated.
    • F. A. Mercer The Industrial Design Consultant: Who He is and what He Does, The Studio, 1947, p. 18.
  • "Can we afford industrial design?" "Is the industrial design consultant merely a stylist ?" "Does the employment of a designer tend to raise the standard of design?" These questions leap to the mind. My friend, Raymond Loewy, Honorary r.d.i., has gone to a great deal of trouble in his answers to these questions...
    • F. A. Mercer The Industrial Design Consultant: Who He is and what He Does, The Studio, 1947, p. 25.
  • Industrial design keeps the customer happy, his client in the black and the designer busy.
    • Raymond Loewy (ca. 1949); Cited in: Paul Greenhalgh (1993) Quotations and Sources on Design and the Decorative Arts. p. 117.

1950-2000[edit]

  • A lot of people are open to new things, as long as they look like the old ones.
    • Raymond Loewy (1951); As cited in: Angèle H. Reinders et al. The Power of Design. p. 93.
  • If there is a designer whose name is synonymous with industrial design it is Raymond Loewy (1893-1986).
    • Raymond Loewy. Industrial Design, Overlook Press, 1988. General info.
  • What Charles and Ray Eames are to furniture design, Raymond Loewy is to industrial design -- the modern master
    • Raymond Loewy. Industrial Design, Overlook Press, 1988. General info.
  • Manufacturers are realizing that good industrial design is an important ingredient in their products' success and a vital factor in industrial competitiveness in both domestic and international markets.
    • Jay Dratler. "Trademark Protection for Industrial Designs." University of Illinois Law Review 1988 (1988): 887.

21th century[edit]

Saab 92001
  • Industrial design is a big industry, so there are always new businesses opening up that have really exciting opportunities.
    • Michelle Hespe (2007) Industrial Design, p. 64.
  • Industrial design had its origins in the Industrial Revolution, when factory production began to supplant craft production of housewares, textiles, tools, and other consumer goods.
    • Helen Sheumaker, ‎Shirley Teresa Wajda (2008) Material Culture in America: Understanding Everyday Life. p. 255.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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