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Design Review: Volume 2, Issue 1 (June-July, 1949)

Well, what is Design?

page 3

Well, what is Design?

“Design” is what makes a thing

easy to make,


easy to use,


easy to look at.

Why Is Design So Important?

Because it isn't only concerned with making teapots and such things nice to look at; it also makes them easy to hold and easy to pour from. And it is lack of design that makes them awkward and uncomfortable to pick up and pour from, and allows the tea to dribble down the spout and drip on to the tablecloth.

What Does Design Mean to Me?

Well, assuming that you drink tea three times a day, lack of design in your teapot means that you hurt your hand and spoil your tablecloth more than a thousand times a year.

And it's the same with everything you use—lack of design means much more than mere ugliness; it means awkwardness, waste of energy, petty annoyance and wear and tear all round. It makes your kitchen pots and pans hot to hold and hard to clean, it makes your furniture hard to dust and heavy to move: in fact, it adds to your work and your worry all day long and all over the house.

The sad part about it is that good design can be just as cheap as bad design: good design should be easy to make as well as easy to use—and that's why it generally means quantity production and efficiency and cheapness.

What Can I Do About It, Anyway?

Every time you go into a shop to choose something you need, remember to choose the best design, the design that is going to be easiest to use, easiest to clean, and nicest to look at—the one that will be the cheapest in the long run (even if it isn't in every case the cheapest to buy). And remember to tell the shopkeeper why you choose it.

If only enough people will remember to do just that (and, after all, it's only common sense) then the shoddy and the second-rate, the tiresome and the troublesome will quickly fade out from lack of support, and better and better designs will become more and more plentiful and more and more reasonable in price, just because of the demand for them.

(By courtesy of the British Council of Industrial Design.)

Accident or Design?

Accident or Design?