Design: Intelligence Made Visible

Overview

Essential facts, authoritative opinions and a provocative list of the most influential designers.

Design: The Definitive Directory of Modern Design is a dynamic and comprehensive guide to the subject. Global in scope, this book includes architecture, industrial design, furniture, fashion, cars, clothing, graphics, consumer products, signs and much more — all complemented by 300 color photographs. There are also up-to-date profiles of the innovators and visionaries past and ...

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Overview

Essential facts, authoritative opinions and a provocative list of the most influential designers.

Design: The Definitive Directory of Modern Design is a dynamic and comprehensive guide to the subject. Global in scope, this book includes architecture, industrial design, furniture, fashion, cars, clothing, graphics, consumer products, signs and much more — all complemented by 300 color photographs. There are also up-to-date profiles of the innovators and visionaries past and present whose achievements have forever changed the way we view ourselves and the world.

A series of essays outlines the role of design in modern cultural history and includes Terence Conran's definition of design. The main section of the book is an A-Z directory of the most influential people, products and processes of the past and present centuries and includes biographies of leading designers. The authors also share their personal views on today's newest achievers.

Among the topics examined:

  • Art, industry and the beginnings of design
  • The consumer age and mass consumption
  • The craft ideal of old values
  • The Modern movement and the romance of the machine
  • America of the thirties
  • Italy since the fifties
  • Symbolism, the language of objects and consumer psychology
  • Postmodern design, and looking to the future.

Up to date, provocative and completely original, Design will be a sourcebook for professional designers, an essential guide for students of design, and a revelation for general readers hungry for information about design and designers.

Highlights:

  • 100-page A-Z
    directory for easy look-up
  • 300 full-color illustrations with detailed captions
  • Biographies of designers past and present
  • Corporate histories and product appraisals
  • The influence of management, cultural and social theories
  • Michelin-style ratings of today's up-and-coming designers
  • Brand identity and assessing brand value
  • The newest types and categories of design.

The featured subjects include, among many others:

  • Bauhaus
  • IBM
  • Sony
  • Benetton
  • iPod
  • Tom Wolfe
  • Charles Eames
  • Italy's Autostrade
  • Victorinox
  • Eric Gill
  • Philippe
    Starck
  • Vogue
  • Ferrari
  • Porsche
  • Walt Disney
  • Frank Lloyd Wright.

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Editorial Reviews

Miami Modern Living
Conran and Bayley ... have seamlessly orchestrated a history of design that is as eclectic as it is evocative.
— Jon Alain Guzik
Star Phoenix (Saskatoon)
This is a brilliant book.
— Bill Robertson
Azure Magazine
Additions of such latter-day icons as Phillipe Starck and Apple designer Jonathan Ive are described with fantastic photographs and lively, Conran-esque text.... If you found the 1985 volume useful, you'll want this useful update.
San Francisco Chronicle
An opinionated, comprehensive history of industrial design ... an encyclopedic survey of the best 19th and 20th century industrial designers.
— Zahid Sardar
The Week
This ambitious compendium of international design history is both smartly written and gorgeously illustrated. Organized primarily as an A-to-Z encyclopedia of essential figures, companies, and moments in the last three centuries of design, it's the kind of book you'll dip into repeatedly just for fun.
Metropolis
Hundreds of large gorgeous photos make this a useful resource and a fun browse.
Globe and Mail
This essential read for designers, or anyone who wants to know more, includes more than 300 colour photographs.
House and Home
Richly illustrated and elegantly packaged, the book is beautiful enough for the coffee table and encyclopedic in its scope.
— Kimberley Brown
The Globe and Mail
If you don't know your Ikea from your Eames, this hefty tome is a swell start to building your arsenal of cool facts. Conran and Bayley know their stuff. Gorgeous photos are teamed with refreshingly brief, yet detailed, blurbs.... 'Design' makes a great addition to your coffee table, or a classy gift for a stylish loved one.
Metropolitan Home
By carefully limiting the number of entries ...the authors [have] lots of room left over for pictures.
— Michael Lassell
Elle Design
Provides an encyclopedic portfolio of iconic modern design, from Johan Vaaler's paper clip to Jonathan Ive's iPod.
Chronicle-Journal (Thunder Bay)
A comprehensive directory of just about everything related to design and those who create it.... A lovely and valuable book.
— Linda Turk
Grand Magazine
The book combines fascinating essays with an A-Z directory and 300 photographs. It's the latter, complete with informative captions, that first engage the reader.... Browsers will then move on to the intriguing ABC directory — short items about design movements, innovations and innovators... But quick hits are only part of the appeal of this book... The authors trace the history of various artistic movements, bringing order to what might seem like an avalanche of design concepts. The authors also weigh subjects such as who sets standards for taste, and the difference between European and American sensibilities.
The Winnipeg Free Press
This is an eclectic, stylish guidebook of design through the ages.
— Martin Cash
The New York Times - City Edition
A lively and opinionated history. The bygone age of enlightened corporate sponsorship gets loving treatment.
— Piladas Viladas
Reno & D�cor
[A] delightful survey of designers. Nothing about design escapes the critical gaze of Bayley and Conran.
Charleston Magazine
A thought-provoking read for design aficionados, techies, and pragmatic consumers alike.
Reno and D�cor
Nothing about design escapes the critical gaze of Bayley and Conran.
— Patrick Tivy
House & Home
Best feature: A stage-setting series of essays...by Conran and Bayley probing the evolution of design since the 19th century.
— Jennifer David
Choice
This is a solid purchase, especially for its reasonable price and international scope. Summing Up: Recommended.
— R. T. Clement, Northwestern University
Reno & Decor
[A] delightful survey of designers. Nothing about design escapes the critical gaze of Bayley and Conran.
Miami Modern Living - Jon Alain Guzik
Terence Conran and Stephen Bayley ... have seamlessly orchestrated a history of design that is as eclectic as it is evocative.
Star Phoenix (Saskatoon) - Bill Robertson
This is a brilliant book.
San Francisco Chronicle - Zahid Sardar
This book gives an opinionated, comprehensive history of industrial design from paper clips to cars and is an encyclopedic survey of the best 19th and 20th century industrial designers whose works have had a lasting impact.
House and Home - Kimberley Brown
A rousing A-to-Z guide to the history and personalities of design... Richly illustrated and elegantly packaged, the book is beautiful enough for the coffee table and encyclopedic in its scope.
Metropolitan Home - Michael Lassell
Its 336 pages are more illustrative than encyclopedic, but by carefully limiting the number of entries in their A-to-Z look at domestic objects and their creators, the authors are able to say something meaningful about most with lots of room left over for pictures.
Chronicle-Journal (Thunder Bay) - Linda Turk
Stephen Bayley and Terence Conran have put together a comprehensive directory of just about everything related to design and those who create it. Their brief essays are complemented by 300 full-colour illustrations with detailed captions. Students of design can use these to follow up their own interests through more research, and the general reader can simply enjoy the wealth of scholarship that's gone into producing a lovely and valuable book.
The Winnipeg Free Press - Martin Cash
This is an eclectic, stylish guidebook of design through the ages.
The New York Times - City Edition - Piladas Viladas
A lively and opinionated history. The bygone age of enlightened corporate sponsorship gets loving treatment.
Publishersweekly.com
[Bayley and Conran] offer readers a crash course in design in this impressive, coffee-table-ready resource... The artful confluence of the societal, artistic and architectural is what sets this book apart.... This is no staid or simplistic survey.
Reno and Decor - Patrick Tivy
[A] delightful survey of designers. Nothing about design escapes the critical gaze of Bayley and Conran.
House and Home - Jennifer David
From two of the greatest design minds of our time — Brits Terence Conran and the writer-commentator Stephen Bayley — comes this attractive, encyclopedic reference on modern design from the Industrial Revolution to now. Best feature: A stage-setting series of essays penned by Conran and Baylet probing the evolution of design since the 19th century.
Choice - R. T. Clement
Refreshingly, the authors do not hesitate to reveal likes and dislikes.... This is a solid purchase, especially for its reasonable price and international scope. Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduates, practitioners, and general readers.
Metropolis
Hundreds of large gorgeous photos make this a useful resource and a fun browse.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554073108
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/14/2007
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 10.25 (w) x 11.25 (h) x 1.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Bayley is a regular contributor to art and design magazines. He lectures worldwide, is frequently interviewed and quoted by the media, and judges international design competitions.

Sir Terence Conran is one of the world's leading designers, furniture makers and retailers. His architecture and design practice is responsible for prestigious projects around the world. His books, including the ground-breaking The House Book, have sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

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Read an Excerpt

A note on good design

Terence Conran

What is good design? This is a question asked very often, but rarely answered successfully. The answer is that it is immediately visible: something that has not been intelligently designed will not work properly. It will be uncomfortable to use. It will be badly made, look depressing and be poor value for money. And what's more, if it doesn't give you pleasure, it is bad design. You would be stupid to want bad design. Good design really is intelligence made visible.

Everything that is made betrays the beliefs and convictions of the person who made it. Everything has been designed. Conscious or unconscious decisions have always been made which affect the way a product is manufactured, how it will be used and what it looks like. This applies to a flint arrowhead or a cruise missile. Even arranging food on a plate is a design decision. As is your signature, a very important one in fact as it shows how you want people to perceive you.

My answer about good design, or thoughtful design as I'd prefer to call it, is that it comprises 98 per cent commonsense and 2 per cent of a mysterious component which we might as well call art or aesthetics. A good design has to work well, be made at a price the consumer finds acceptable and it must give the consumer practical and aesthetic pleasure. It also must be of a quality that justifies the price paid. If the design has some innovatory qualities then, at least in my opinion, it becomes an even better design. In addition, well-designed products tend to have a long lifespan and usually acquire an attractive patina of usage. Which is to say, it gets better as it gets older:old Levis, a legible printed page, a leather club chair, good shoes, table and chairs would all be examples.

I believe a designer has to research his subject before he puts pen to paper or mouse to computer. The car designer Peter Horbury pins-up photographs of all his inspirations before he starts work. On a new Ford pick-up truck, for instance, he used archive shots of Airstream trailers and steam locomotives. He says 'you need to tell a story'. You need to know history. Not least because those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it. You learn from history; but you aim for the future. The designer's job is not to repeat history; but to make it. It is also essential in my opinion to know your market: how people live, where they live, their income and their aspirations. You must also have a clear idea of why and how what you are designing will improve their lives.

All this relates to the manufacturing process, the materials you use and the methods of distribution. No designer can work effectively if he does not understand the capability of the machinery he must use. The same can be said of cost structure and the humdrum facts of distribution and sales. How the product will be sold, displayed and packaged are all vital parts of the designer's task and must be fully understood at the beginning of any project.

Innovation is a defining characteristic of good design. The capacity to see a new solution to an existing problem is what a designer does. But that is not the same as saying good design involves a restless search for novelty; Good design tends to be enduring. It's this tension between finding effective innovations and achieving lasting values that, so far as I am concerned, gives the designer so much of his creative energy. The designer always needs a proper working relationship with the engineer, the materials technologist. This sort of collaboration is going to be ever more important in future, as established definitions and distinctions about design, art and architecture become ever more blurred in a world where the most significant activity is the invisible organization of electrons in the information economy.

In a changing world, some things remain the same. I firmly believe it is the designers responsibility to help improve the quality of people's lives through products that work well, are affordable and look beautiful.

That seems to me an intelligent solution.

--

A note on disegno

Stephen Bayley

In the Renaissance, draughtsmen did what was called disegno. For Leonardo da Vinci, the greatest draughtsman of them all, disegno meant not just the art and craft of drawing itself, but the ability to communicate ideas graphically. Leonardo's broad interpretation of disegno was very close to what we call 'design': an ability to conceptualise an idea, express it in materials and prove it by demonstration. When the word disegno migrated into English in the sixteenth century; it came to mean not merely 'drawing', but intention.

Today, design has both these senses: a useful mixture of creative expression and intellectual purpose. Leonardo knew that already. In his letter of application to Lodovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, he listed his talents and achievements, putting the design of useful canals far in front of mere decorative painting or sculpture. Design is an art that works.

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Table of Contents

A note on good design by Terence Conran
A note on disegno by Stephen Bayley

  1. An industrious love of art The beginnings of design
  2. Lawful prey Mass-consumption
  3. A kilogram of stone or a kilogram of gold? Survival and revival of craft values
  4. Hygiene of the optical The romance of the machine
  5. The cash value of art America
  6. La Ricostruzione Italy since the Fifties
  7. Ugly, inefficient, depressing chaos Symbolism and consumer psychology
  8. All that is solid melts into air Design since the Eighties
A-Z entries

National Characteristics
Museums and Institutions
Index
Acknowledgments

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Preface

A note on good design

Terence Conran

What is good design? This is a question asked very often, but rarely answered successfully. The answer is that it is immediately visible: something that has not been intelligently designed will not work properly. It will be uncomfortable to use. It will be badly made, look depressing and be poor value for money. And what's more, if it doesn't give you pleasure, it is bad design. You would be stupid to want bad design. Good design really is intelligence made visible.

Everything that is made betrays the beliefs and convictions of the person who made it. Everything has been designed. Conscious or unconscious decisions have always been made which affect the way a product is manufactured, how it will be used and what it looks like. This applies to a flint arrowhead or a cruise missile. Even arranging food on a plate is a design decision. As is your signature, a very important one in fact as it shows how you want people to perceive you.

My answer about good design, or thoughtful design as I'd prefer to call it, is that it comprises 98 per cent commonsense and 2 per cent of a mysterious component which we might as well call art or aesthetics. A good design has to work well, be made at a price the consumer finds acceptable and it must give the consumer practical and aesthetic pleasure. It also must be of a quality that justifies the price paid. If the design has some innovatory qualities then, at least in my opinion, it becomes an even better design. In addition, well-designed products tend to have a long lifespan and usually acquire an attractive patina of usage. Which is to say, it gets better as it gets older: old Levis, a legible printed page, a leather club chair, good shoes, table and chairs would all be examples.

I believe a designer has to research his subject before he puts pen to paper or mouse to computer. The car designer Peter Horbury pins-up photographs of all his inspirations before he starts work. On a new Ford pick-up truck, for instance, he used archive shots of Airstream trailers and steam locomotives. He says 'you need to tell a story'. You need to know history. Not least because those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it. You learn from history; but you aim for the future. The designer's job is not to repeat history; but to make it. It is also essential in my opinion to know your market: how people live, where they live, their income and their aspirations. You must also have a clear idea of why and how what you are designing will improve their lives.

All this relates to the manufacturing process, the materials you use and the methods of distribution. No designer can work effectively if he does not understand the capability of the machinery he must use. The same can be said of cost structure and the humdrum facts of distribution and sales. How the product will be sold, displayed and packaged are all vital parts of the designer's task and must be fully understood at the beginning of any project.

Innovation is a defining characteristic of good design. The capacity to see a new solution to an existing problem is what a designer does. But that is not the same as saying good design involves a restless search for novelty; Good design tends to be enduring. It's this tension between finding effective innovations and achieving lasting values that, so far as I am concerned, gives the designer so much of his creative energy. The designer always needs a proper working relationship with the engineer, the materials technologist. This sort of collaboration is going to be ever more important in future, as established definitions and distinctions about design, art and architecture become ever more blurred in a world where the most significant activity is the invisible organization of electrons in the information economy.

In a changing world, some things remain the same. I firmly believe it is the designers responsibility to help improve the quality of people's lives through products that work well, are affordable and look beautiful.

That seems to me an intelligent solution.

A note on disegno

Stephen Bayley

In the Renaissance, draughtsmen did what was called disegno. For Leonardo da Vinci, the greatest draughtsman of them all, disegno meant not just the art and craft of drawing itself, but the ability to communicate ideas graphically. Leonardo's broad interpretation of disegno was very close to what we call 'design': an ability to conceptualise an idea, express it in materials and prove it by demonstration. When the word disegno migrated into English in the sixteenth century; it came to mean not merely 'drawing', but intention.

Today, design has both these senses: a useful mixture of creative expression and intellectual purpose. Leonardo knew that already. In his letter of application to Lodovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, he listed his talents and achievements, putting the design of useful canals far in front of mere decorative painting or sculpture. Design is an art that works.

Read More Show Less

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