encyclopedia of modern design and designers
This is a comprehensive guide to all aspects of modern design. It covers graphics, consumer products, interior decor, furniture, print, advertising, plus industrial and architectural design. Entries run from the Finnish designer Alvar Aalto (who for obvious reasons always comes first in such listings) through Rene Lalique (glassware) and the multi-talented Hungarian Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, to typographist Hermann Zapf and Piet Zwart (who for the same reason always comes last).
Most entries are illustrated by thumbnail graphics. It’s a shame they are not in colour, but you can’t expect everything in such a good-value production. The entries are either brief biographical sketches of individual designers (Saul Bass, Charles Eames, Raymond Loewy, Alexandr Rodchenko) with notes on why they have been so influential. There are also short histories of companies famous for their emphasis on design (Bauhaus, General Motors, Olivetti, Wiener Werkstatte).
Others include influential artistic movements (art deco, constructivism, neo-plasticism, and post-modernism) and individual products which have become icons of modern design (the Citroen DS19, Dyson vacuum cleaners, Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International).
There are notes on materials of manufacture (aluminium, formica, MDF, polyurethane) movements and schools (Deutsche Werkbund, Omega, and Black Mountain College) and explanations of technical terms such as anthropometrics, bit mapping, deconstruction, and third age design (which isn’t quite what you might think).
He even includes individual shops such as Biba, Habitat, and the Body Shop; typographists such as Neville Brody, Eric Gill, and Jan Tschichold. The only thing missing is Information Technology. There are a couple of mentions of computer games, but curiously enough not a single reference to Web design.
The text incorporates extensive cross-referencing, suggestions for further reading, and a chronological chart of design highlights since 1900.
© Roy Johnson 2004
Guy Julier, Design Since 1900, London: Thames and Hudson, 2004, pp.224, ISBN: 0500203792