I just picked up this book written before 1971 (it took 5 years to find a publisher) and judging from the preface its going to be a challenging and bumpy read.
“There are professions more harmful than industrial design, but only a very few of them. And possibly only one profession is phonier. Advertising design, in persuading people to buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, in order to impress others who don’t care, is probably the phoniest field in existence today. Industrial design, by concocting the tawdry idiocies hawked by advertisers, comes a close second. Never before in history have grown men sat down and seriously designed electric hairbrushes, rhinestone-covered file boxes, and mink carpeting for bathrooms, and then drawn up elaborate plans to make and sell these gadgets to millions of people” – Victor Papanek
“It is about time that industrial design, as we have come to know it, should cease to exist. As long as design concerns itself with confecting trivial ‘toys for adults’, killing machines with gleaming tailfins, and ‘sexed-up’ shrouds for typewriters, toasters, telephones, and computers, it has lost all reason to exist” – Victor Papanek
Prof. Papanek taught here in Kansas City at the Kansas City Art Institute and I had the pleasure of hearing him speak. He was also a regular on KCUR, our local NPR affiliate.
Thanks for your comment Rick. I wonder which important designer has been strongly influenced by Victor’s perspective and writings? It would be interesting to hear contemporary designers voice similar thoughts to his and to see how they apply them to their designs.