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Design: The Whole Story

Elizabeth Wilhide


A fascinating guide to the sophisticated attempts of manufacturers to woo us with high functionality and that indefinable feeling of the future

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Design: The Whole Story takes a close look at the key developments, movements and practitioners of design around the world, from the beginnings of industrial manufacturing to the present day. Organized chronologically, it locates design within its technological, cultural, economic, aesthetic and theoretical contexts.

From the high-minded moralists of the 19th century to the radical thinkers of modernism – and from the emergence of showmen such as Raymond Loewy in the 1930s to today’s superstars such as Philippe Starck – the book provides in-depth coverage of a subject that touches all our lives. Iconic works that mark significant steps forward or that characterize a particular era or approach – such as Marcel Breuer’s Wassily chair of 1925, Eliot Noyes’ corporate identity work for IBM in the 1950s and Matthew Carter’s Verdana typeface, designed to be read on screen – are analysed in detail, while the text sets out the framework of ideas, intent and technology within which differing approaches to design have evolved.

From the cars we drive and the products we buy to the graphics that surround us, we are all consumers of design. Design: The Whole Story provides all the information needed to decode the material world.

Winner, Best Design Book, Homemaker Art and Craft Book Awards 2016

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Further Details


Format: Flexibound PLC (with jacket)

Size: 24.3 x 17.2 cm

Extent: 576 pp

Publication date: 15 September 2016

ISBN: 9780500292280

Contents List

1. The Emergence of Design, 1760–1910 • 2. The Age of the Machine, 1910–1945 • 3. Identity and Conformity, 1945–1964 • 4. Design and the Quality of Life, 1964–1980 • 5. Contradiction and Complexity, 1980–present day

About the Author

Elizabeth Wilhide is the author of many books on design and interiors, including William Morris: Décor and Design, Sir Edwin Lutyens: Design in the English Tradition, The Mackintosh Style, Surface and Finish and Scandinavian Home. Most recently, she was consultant editor and contributor to Design: The Whole Story, published by Thames & Hudson.

Jonathan Glancey has written for the Guardian, the Independent and the Architectural Review. His books include New British Architecture, 20th Century Architecture, London: Bread and Circuses, Lost Buildings and The Story of Architecture.

List of Contributors

Jonathan Glancey