Design in Context - The Effects of Technological Changes on Society

This covers design related issues throughout history. Designers need to be well informed about both current and past applications of technology.All products have been designed by someone for a specifiic purpose at that time and can often help influence our own.


Mass Production and the Consumer Society

James Watt - Invents the steam engine in 1765... This marked the beggining of the industrial revolution!

Industrialisation and specialisation would fundementally change life worldwide... Change occured in production methods, the workforce and transport.

Professionals came about to tackle the many new feilds of design.

Populations grew rapidly in centres where production increased... Creating the 'urban' way of life. More people meant more demand and products started to be mass produced in reaction to this need.

Time consuming labour with high costs attatched were replaced by machine work, leaving products previously only available to the 'well-off' upper classes to be open to the working classes who would then have access to affordably priced goods.

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Mass Production and the Consumer Society Continued

Todays modern, mass consumer society meets a constant stream of wants and needs by consumers. There is a large 'Throw away Culture' and increased demand for convenience products - ie. fast food.

The 1930's saw the development of mass consumerism out of popular culture. At the time transportation was developing and this brought along oppertunities in product design - ie. ships, aeroplanes, hotels and department stores in an art deco style!

New products and innovative materials introduced especially in electrical goods - ie. radios, refridgerators and washing machines. Living standards improved creating more demand for these products.

Advertising and marketing became an important industry. They brought in market research and packaging and product styling which were aesthetically pleasing - ie. streamlined products, in order to sell.

After WW2 (1939-1945) there was a hardship with few luxury products as the economy tried to recover. The consumer society picked up again though in the 1950's surrounding the 'teenager'.  Teens were encouraged by the advertising and marketing to develop a style of their own, rather than that of their parents and design expanded quickly to meet fashion.

Products - ie radios for the beach and cars, motorbikes and scooters, became increasingly more avaiable to the youth.

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