Design History

The Man Who Designed the Future: Norman Bel Geddes and the Invention of Twentieth-Century America

Before there was Steve Jobs, there was Norman Bel Geddes. 

A ninth-grade dropout who found himself at the center of the worlds of industry, advertising, theater, and even gaming, Bel Geddes designed everything from the first all-weather stadium, to Manhattan's most exclusive nightclub, to Futurama, the prescient 1939 exhibit that envisioned how America would look in the not-too-distant 60s. 

Twenty Over Eigthty

Aileen Kwun and Bryn Smith have interviewed 20 of the greats in 20th-century design for their new book that covers the waterfront - from graphic design to architecture to advertising to furniture. They spoke with Seymour Chwast, Milton Glaser, Denise Scott Brown, and the late Michael Graves, among others.

The Inventor's Dilemma: The Remarkable Life of H. Joseph Gerber

The extraordinary life and career of the iconic twentieth-century inventor, technologist, and business magnate H. Joseph Gerber is described in a fascinating biography written by his son, David, based on unique access to unpublished sources. A Holocaust survivor whose early experiences shaped his ethos of invention, Gerber pioneered important developments in engineering, electronics, printing, apparel, aerospace, and numerous other areas, playing an essential role in the transformation of American industry.

John Vassos: Industrial Design for Modern Life

What should a television look like? How should a dial on a radio feel to the touch? These were questions John Vassos asked when the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) asked him to design the first mass-produced television receiver, the TRK-12, which had its spectacular premier at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Vassos emigrated from Greece and arrived in the United States in 1918.

Doug Sapper

An in-depth study of the work of German-born industrial designer Richard Sapper, most famous for designs such as the Tizio lamp and the Brionvega radio.

Streamlined: Classic Cars of the 20th Century

In 2009, the Prototyp car museum in Hamburg, Germany, organized a special two-month exhibit where 25 classic, streamlined automobiles had an unprecedented "aerodynamic rendezvous." The exhibition included such automotive gems as the 1940 BMW Mille Miglia Touring Coupe, the 1977 Mercedes-Benz C111/III, Porsche's 356 Pre-A coupe of 1950, Petermax Müller's 1938 World Record Volkswagen, Das Auto magazine founder Paul Pietsch's 1952 Avus Coupe, and the Kamm K3 from 1938.

Watches Tell More Than Time

"I hope people are starting to see design is making a difference." —Steve Jobs on the iMac "Fifteen years ago, companies competed on price. Today it's quality. Tomorrow it's design." —Robert Hayes, Harvard Business School From the Back Cover The design of every product conveys certain information, and modern consumers are experts in reading the language of product design. Most of us can discern the different messages conveyed by say, a Rolex versus a Swatch, a Porsche versus a Hummer, a Kenneth Cole versus a Bally, or an iMac versus a Compaq.

Design by Nature

In Design by Nature: Using Universal Forms and Principles in Design, author Maggie Macnab takes you on an intimate and eclectic journey examining the unending versatility of nature, showing how to uncover nature’s ingenuity and use it to create beautiful and compelling designed communications.

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