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Lewis Mumford described very well the work of F.W. Taylor (1856-1915) who analysed productive individuals production processes (Taylorism). Henry Ford (1863-1947) used these systematic research results in the creation of his assembly lines.
F.W.Taylor, "The Principles of Scientific Management,"
From Henry Ford to Fordism


Buckminster Fuller's Map:

[...] every design problem begins with an effort to achieve fitness between two entities: the form in question and its context. The form is the solution to the problem; the context defines the problem. In other words, when we speak of design, the real object of discussion is not the form alone, but the ensemble comprising the form and its context.
Alexander, Christopher (1964), "Notes on the synthesis of form," Harvard University Press

I have searched for a comprehensive summary of the "Notes ..." but finally will recommend the wikipedia entry Please don't use this as a reference as Wikipedia is not considered good style or "referenceable." At least not yet.

So when did mass production really take off?
Henry Ford began with the conveyer belt in 1905 - reaching its peak in 1923. After that people demanded more variety which was very hard to achieve with this system due to its inflexibility to change. Since then it has come a long way and is now "mass customisation. I would say that after WWII production, or better consumption really took of.
As we have seen in "Century of the Self" increasing prosperity and better production methods lead to the first boom of consumption. Every family wanted a TV, a colour TV and an automobile. As companies feared that the market could some day be saturated advertising and marketing agencies then started fueling the desire for individual expression and consumption.


Remember that "The Modern" has these different meanings:
Modern – a common sense definition of this is 'up to date' or 'contemporary' and all
uses of the word have to do with time. Common sense suggests that modern things
are not old, but they might be – look at the definitions below.

Modernity – an historian would use this word to describe a definite era, a period of
time starting roughly in 1780, but this is the subject of much debate. This period is
characterised by ideas such as Progress, Improvement and Development, an
orientation to the future. The period saw the start of industrialisation, the movement of
population to the cities and a belief that science would allow 'man' to completely
master nature.

Modernism – designers and design historians use this word to describe design that
responded to the conditions of modernity. We can think of modernism as a 'tendency'
in art and design that started around 1880.
Copied from Dr.Tom Fisher

This lecture was about Modernism.

Functionalism"Principle of the Modern Movement in architecture that everything seen and used in building should have a function, no decoration for its own sake.""The term was derived from the Modernist tenet "Form follows Function," coined by Louis Sullivan in 1896."

"Bauhaus manifesto" by Walter Gropius:

After the Bauhaus was closed in 1933 some of its members moved to the United States. They went to Aspen, Chicago, Cambridge (Harvard) and Asheville (Black Mountain College) partly founding new schools.

Design and Affordances, Perception, Communication and Emotion

James J. Gibson's definition of Affordances is broader then Donald Norman's. Gibson's definition includes all possibleactivities that can e.g. be done with a chair. A wooden chair can be sat on, stood on ... but it also can be burned when it is cold or turned into toothpicks or two smaller chairs.
Norman's definition is more specific and rooted in a product culture. We are accustomed to artefacts and how they communicate to us how they can be used. Some objects do this quite well, others do not.
Norman calls this perceived affordance and it is linked to culture; values, goals. Here is a link to Don Norman's definition:

And here a link to the Wikipedia's entry:

Gender & Feminism

Messy Notes
Amos Klausner "The New Strength of Style" On Dyson and the Design Museum, Constance Spry:

Doxic - things that we grow up with, that we take for granted and probably aren't aware of.

Anomie - the discrepancy between expectation and experience.

Design History: Rayner Benham (1922-1988) (Bucky Fuller)
Art & Design Historian

Objectifying Gender: Lee Wright, high heels
Here is a solid collection of thoughts and quotes by Arielle Abeyta:

Objects seem neutral when we look at them, but they are not. There is a social sphere that surrounds them.
Technology is not only an artefact, but also a process and knowledge.
Men and women have different roles in society.
If you look at a shop:
All the cool electronic stuff like stereos, camcorders etc. are on one side,
Vacuum cleaners and dishwashers are white and on the WHITE side.

People buy more things from someone with a MALE name.
Charles Eames (and Ray?)
Le Corbusier (and Charlotte?)

We are having hierarchical value systems, but there is a paradigm shift.
We have hegemonial gender definitions. Freud, Lancan / socialisation

In the 80ies women got less rights in england: maternity leave etc.

David Ogilvy was the first one to stop the condescencing "two tarts in the kitchen" commericals and instead but an experienced older woman there who was rough and direct and funny. The "battle-ax""


Here a link to a page explaining thoroughly the history, tradition and the process of making of Scottish Quaich's: (pronounced "Quake")

Design process & process models

John Chris Jones, "designing without a product, ... as a process or a way of living itself"

Design theory & cybernetics: "The turning of creative activity upon itself."

John Chris Jones, 1981, 2003, Design Methods for Everyone:

"Trust life itself; it knows more than any teacher or book."
(Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, Selected Poetry, translated with an introduction and notes by David Luke, Libris, London 1999, page 93.)

last update: 10/22/02017 17:56

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