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  • Writer's pictureDale Wagler

170 Years of Industrial Design

This year marks the 170th anniversary of the publication of "The Practical Draughtsman’s Book of Industrial Design" by Jacques-Eugène Armengaud.

The origins of Industrial Design can be traced back to this book from 1853, and it marked the beginning of a new era in design, where the principles of aesthetics and functionality were brought together to create products that were both beautiful and practical.

The author summarized his work:

"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."

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, industrial design became increasingly important as mass production techniques were developed. The Arts and Crafts movement, which emerged in Britain in the late 19th century, placed a strong emphasis on the importance of traditional craftsmanship and the use of natural materials. This movement influenced the development of industrial design, which sought to incorporate these values into mass-produced products.

In the 1930s, the Bauhaus school of design was established in Germany, bringing together artists, architects, and designers to develop a new approach to design. The Bauhaus approach emphasized simplicity, functionality, and the use of modern materials and techniques, and had a profound impact on the

development of industrial design.

In the post-World War II era, industrial design continued to evolve, with a focus on developing new materials and techniques for mass production. This led to the development of new products, such as plastics and fiberglass, which changed the way that products were manufactured and designed.

In the late 20th century, the field of industrial design expanded to include the development of new technologies, such as computers and electronics, and the rise of global competition. Today, industrial design continues to play a crucial role in the development of products, and the principles of aesthetics and functionality continue to be at the forefront of the field.

In recent years, the field of industrial design has undergone significant changes, with the advent of digital technologies and the rise of user-centered design practices. Modern product design often places a greater emphasis on user experience, sustainability, and technology, and seeks to create products that are not only aesthetically pleasing and functional, but also environmentally friendly and accessible to a wider range of users.

The history of industrial design has been shaped by a variety of influences, including the Arts and Crafts movement, the Bauhaus school of design, and the rise of new materials and technologies. Today, industrial design remains a vital and dynamic field, influencing the development of products and shaping the world around us.

A wonderful designer, Daniel Loader of IKEA pointed me to this historic book being available online here:

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