BN.com Gift Guide

The Interface: IBM and the Transformation of Corporate Design, 1945-1976

( 1 )

Overview

In February 1956 the president of IBM, Thomas Watson Jr., hired the industrial designer and architect Eliot F. Noyes, charging him with reinventing IBM’s corporate image, from stationery and curtains to products such as typewriters and computers and to laboratory and administration buildings. What followed—a story told in full for the first time in John Harwood’s The Interface—remade IBM in a way that would also transform the relationships between design, computer science, and ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (14) from $16.88   
  • New (9) from $21.61   
  • Used (5) from $16.88   
The Interface: IBM and the Transformation of Corporate Design, 1945-1976

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$19.49
BN.com price
(Save 44%)$35.00 List Price

Overview

In February 1956 the president of IBM, Thomas Watson Jr., hired the industrial designer and architect Eliot F. Noyes, charging him with reinventing IBM’s corporate image, from stationery and curtains to products such as typewriters and computers and to laboratory and administration buildings. What followed—a story told in full for the first time in John Harwood’s The Interface—remade IBM in a way that would also transform the relationships between design, computer science, and corporate culture.

IBM’s program assembled a cast of leading figures in American design: Noyes, Charles Eames, Paul Rand, George Nelson, and Edgar Kaufmann Jr. The Interface offers a detailed account of the key role these designers played in shaping both the computer and the multinational corporation. Harwood describes a surprising inverse effect: the influence of computer and corporation on the theory and practice of design. Here we see how, in the period stretching from the “invention” of the computer during World War II to the appearance of the personal computer in the mid-1970s, disciplines once well outside the realm of architectural design—information and management theory, cybernetics, ergonomics, computer science—became integral aspects of design.

As the first critical history of the industrial design of the computer, of Eliot Noyes’s career, and of some of the most important work of the Office of Charles and Ray Eames, The Interface supplies a crucial chapter in the story of architecture and design in postwar America—and an invaluable perspective on the computer and corporate cultures of today.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816670390
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  • Publication date: 10/27/2011
  • Series: A Quadrant Book Series
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 787,837
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

John Harwood is assistant professor of modern and contemporary architectural history at Oberlin College. He is the author, with Janet Parks, of The Troubled Search: The Work of Max Abramovitz and, with Jesse LeCavalier and Guillaume Mojon, of This Will—This.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction: The Interface
1. Eliot Noyes, Paul Rand, and the Beginnings of the IBM Design Program
2. The Architecture of the Computer
3. IBM Architecture: The Multinational Counterenvironment
4. Naturalizing the Computer: IBM Spectacles

Conclusion: Virtual Paradoxes

Acknowledgments Notes Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 3, 2014

    I applaud the author's objective to present the historical conte

    I applaud the author's objective to present the historical context of the IBM Design Program as being the first comprehensive effort of an American corporation to successfully transform corporate identity across a broad range of design on a global basis. This extraordinary effort by Eliot Noyes, Paul Rand and Charles Eames as IBM's original corporate consultants is without peer. 
    However, while the author's intent is commendable, there are many glaring inaccuracies. One of several major errors is the author's assertion that after Noyes and Eames passed away in 1977, "...IBM did not deign to replace either of its leading consultants. A design system was in place, and it only required consultants in minor areas." In this regard, the author claims: "Richard Sapper was given responsibility for overseeing graphic and industrial design in the European laboratories, but the rest of Noyes's and Eames's responsibilities were distributed to a cadre of thirteen design managers."

    I spent twenty-two years in the IBM Design Program (1970-1992) as an industrial designer, design center manager, division design manager and corporate head of the IBM Design Program and, as such, interacted directly with Noyes, Rand and Sapper during my tenure at the company. Therefore, I can attest to the fact that Richard Sapper was never given any responsibility whatsoever for overseeing graphic design in Europe, nor anywhere else in IBM for that matter. Furthermore, Sapper's industrial design responsibilities were on a global basis, not only limited to Europe as the author asserts. The IBM corporate consulting role for Sapper mirrored those of Noyes within the context of designing archetypal IBM products (as exemplified by Sapper's ThinkPad), and regularly providing advice and counsel for the entire IBM product line across 15 global IBM design centers.
    Therefore, the author's concluding supposition of the IBM Design Program's "...eventual failure to outlast the lives of its main protagonists, Noyes, Eames and Rand", is woefully incorrect. While the presence of Noyes's overarching leadership was truly missed, Sapper was appointed to the product design consultancy position in 1980 and brought his extraordinarily successful innovation track record to IBM. Also, Rand continued to serve IBM as a corporate graphic design consultant into the 1990s and also recommended distinguished information designer Edward Tufte to consult with the company, as well as utilized Swiss designers Josef Müller-Brockman and Karl Gerstner to help with graphic design across Europe. Additionally, following Noyes's death, Gerald McCue, Dean of Harvard University Graduate School of Design was appointed to be IBM's corporate consultant on architecture.

    Yet another inaccuracy is the author's assertion that the iconic IBM Rebus design by Paul Rand (1981) "...was a violation of every rule he had established in the preceding years regarding the sanctity of IBM graphics" and implying Rand's innovative rebus concept was due to the IBM Design Program being "greatly weakened in Noyes's absence." The truth is that only IBM's legal department initially thought Rand's innovative rebus would somehow violate IBM's logo trademark protection. Rand and design management fought this perception and eventually prevailed, resulting in the IBM rebus becoming a classic icon in the annals of graphic design. IBM continues to use the rebus today to symbolize IBM as humanistic and innovative.

    While this book provides a generalized insight into the IBM Design Program's scope and impact on modern design culture, its content contains numerous mistakes and the author's concluding supposition is based on inaccurate claims. Consequently, this book is not recommended as an accurate, scholarly account of IBM Design Program history. Instead, read: "Eliot Noyes" by Gordon Bruce, "Paul Rand" by Steven Heller and "Eames Design" by John Neuhart, Marilyn Neuhart and Ray Eames for a credible history of the seminal IBM Design Program.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)