design HISTORY FINAL HELP!! : Solution Essays


The History of Design, 1850-2000

Final Review Sheet

Sarah A. Lichtman



· Who were the principal designers responsible for driving the new streamlining style forward?

· What are the characteristics of streamlining?

· What was streamlining for? What did it do?

Postwar American Design

· How did new technologies affect design after WWII?

· What was some of the imagery commonly found in postwar design?

· What was the Machine look? Examples?

· What was the Biomorphic look? Examples?

· What role did MoMA play in promoting taste at mid-century?

· How did the idea of the atom affect design at mid-century?

Pop Design in the 1960s and Postmodernism

· Ideas and new attitudes in life and design

· How would you define Pop design?

· During the 1960s what were some of the changing attitudes toward Modernism?

· How did new materials affect design?

· How did changing ideas about taste affect design?

· Design in revolt—how did the designs of this period use irony and humor?

· How did designers express new ways of living?

· How would you define postmodernism? What are some of its characteristics?

New Directions /Contemporary Design

· What is the purpose of “speculative” design? What it is?

· What were some of the key themes for the exhibition “Design for Different Futures: Contemporary Design Now”?

· What were some of the “hidden design histories” raised in “Design for Different Futures” and “Designing Motherhood”?

Events and Ideas

· The 1939 New York World’s Fair

· The Museum of Modern Art

· Organic Design

· Good Design

· Machine Art

· The Great Depression

· Color and Goods in the 1950s

· The Atomic bomb

· The “Space Race”

· New Habitats

·  “Pop”

· Postmodernism 

· Alternative narrative through contemporary design

· Speculative design

Essay Questions (choose one):

a. Using at least four examples, discuss how ideas of “organic” and “machine” design influenced the look and promotion of furniture during the postwar period. 

b. Explain how Streamlining was applied to objects during the 1920s and 1930s. Explain why designers used Streamlining. What it was. What was it meant to accomplish? Provide at least four specific object examples.

c. Using at least 4 examples, please explain how new materials and technologies changed furniture design in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

d. Using at least four examples, please respond to the following statement posed by the exhibition Design for Different Futures: “Our understanding and knowledge of possible futures is constantly transforming. Design is the process through which we plan and imagine our individual and shared futures.”

e. Using at least four examples, discuss how Space Age objects and interiors define the ideals of the era.

f. Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown famously embraced the Las Vegas strip, billboards, and roadside architecture. Using four examples, how and why do Postmodern designers incorporate signs and symbols into their work?

g. Please discuss how design has been approached differently through some of the various exhibitions we have studied this term—ranging from MoMA exhibitions to Design for Different Futures and/or Designing Motherhood.  Please use at least four examples.


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